After the race is over...
What happens when graceful, powerful racehorses get injured or too old to compete? Some are neglected or abused; sadly, some are even put down. But the Second Chances program, administered by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, gives rescued horses a new lease on life sending them to low-security prisons, where they serve as instructional models for inmates learning equine care and grooming skills.
“Our program is all about second chances for both the men and the horses,” says Anne Tucker, president of the James River chapter of the TRF, which oversees the program at the James River Work Center in Goochland. Inmates who complete the program receive a Groom Elite certification, and many go on to work in the horse industry after their release. Since its start in 2007, the James River Second Chances program has graduated more than 60 inmates and adopted out 90 horses; 21 retired racers are currently in the program (nationally, the TRF harbors about 1,000 horses).
This year, the James River TRF will host its first Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Show July 25-27 at Meadow Event Park in Doswell. The benefit show will feature hunter, jumper, dressage and trail events. Admission is free. JamesRiverHorses.com