Target: Monique S. Koehler, founder and John C. Moore, Chairman, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation
Goal: Applaud organization providing rehabilitation to inmates while providing a safe home to retired racehorses
When racehorses that no longer win or are too old to race, they are retired sometimes to abusive situations or slaughterhouses. One organization is saving these horses, providing safe haven for their retirement while working to rehabilitate inmates at correctional facilities.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was founded by people that love horses. For racehorses that never made it to the winner’s circle or suffered an injury that left them unable to race, retirement often results in brutality or death. Over 10,000 racehorses are shipped each year from America to slaughterhouses. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation realizes these horses still have value and takes them in, with hopes they will one day be adopted. At the same time, this organization has made vast strides within a prison system that is far more often about keeping inmates locked up rather than rehabilitating them.
Over 900 Thoroughbreds are housed at correctional facilities throughout the country, where inmates are carefully screened and chosen to participate in the Second Chances program. The work with the horses guides and encourages these men towards a real path of restoring themselves to a crime-free life. They lead the horses in and out of stables, muck out stalls, groom the horses and do related tack and pen work. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation trains these men through the Groom Elite curriculum and graduates become certified. Upon their release, the Foundation assists these men in finding jobs in the horse industry. The program works. At the James River Correctional Center in Virginia, the program has had over 50 inmates graduate since its inception. In Maryland where 40 percent of inmates typically return to prison after release, none of the graduates of this program have returned to prison.
This program provides life changing benefits for both the inmates and the retired horses. Perhaps the inmates identify with these beautiful creatures that were never considered winners. These horses keep their strong spirit and working with them gives the men strength to turn their lives around. This is truly an impactful organization making a real difference in the lives of these men and animals.
Dear Ms. Koehler and Mr. Moore,
Thank you for your love of horses and realizing that these beautiful creatures deserve far more consideration after retirement than a slaughterhouse. So often these beautiful creatures face abuse or death after their retirement and it is refreshing to see an organization care enough to take them in.
Even more so, the initiative you have taken to improve the lives of men and offer them a chance of real rehabilitation is noteworthy. The success stories of graduates of this program actually getting their lives back and not returning to imprisonment is a result that is deserving of many commendations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Public Doman by Avocado kebab via Wikimedia Commons