New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program announced impressive figures from 2014 that included serving over 450 retired racehorses and screening 1,111 potential adopters through their application process. Of the 450 horses, 80% were successfully retrained and adopted while the remaining 20% are still being rehabilitated or trained.
New Vocations focuses on rehabilitating, retraining and rehoming both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds at the end of their racing careers. On average, the program has 95 horses in its care at any given time, divided among eight facilities in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Over the past several years, New Vocations has increased its rehabilitation capacity to better serve the horses coming with injures. In 2014, half of the horses required 1-10 months of rehab, while the other half were able to go directly into vocational training.
“Most horses retire from racing due to an injury,” shared New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford. “However, we have seen that the majority of the injuries can be rehabilitated and the horse become sound for a second career. Our emphasis on rehabilitation has been a costly endeavor, but nowhere near the expense to retire a horse for life. Rehab can run as much as $5,000 a horse, but if we find that horse a home, it is worth it. There are plenty of individuals willing to take a retired racehorse, but it must be healthy and sound, which is why we are directing more resources to rehabilitation.”
During its 23 years of operation, New Vocations has developed a sound adoption system that has proven to move a large number of horses into qualified homes each year. With a constant stream retiring from the track, New Vocations continues to emphasize the importance of rehabilitating injuries and ultimately getting the retirees into homes rather than housing them permanently.
“The service New Vocations provides to our industry is impressive and crucial. They spend months and many resources getting a horse healthy and then provide professional training by their skilled team who ultimately finds the horse a home and second career,” explained New Vocations Board Member Mandy Minger and Daily Racing Form's VP of Marketing. “Their work and commitment to the horses doesn't stop when they leave the program. New Vocations remains committed to each horse and has a lifetime open door policy for returns.”
Over 5,000 horses have been adopted through New Vocations, and it's no surprise that graduates occasionally find themselves in need of a new home. When this happens the program steps in and either assists the horse at its current location or the horse is returned and the rehoming process begins anew.
The program has seen a steady increase in awareness and demand for retired racehorses within the equestrian world. In 2014, New Vocations received 1,111 applications from individuals interested in adopting. This number increased from 831 in 2013 and 714 in 2012. “The homes are out there for retired racehorses,” explained Ford. “The more funding we are able to raise the more horses we can rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome. We are totally dependent on donations and deeply grateful to all that have joined our efforts to provide these horses with a quality life and career after racing.”
New Vocations continues to lead the nation in racehorse adoptions and looks forward to expanding its efforts in the New Year. In 2015, the program will announce several new partnerships to enhance and increase its outreach. New Vocations is accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. To learn more, visit www.NewVocations.org.
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