On July 21 this writer headed out to one of Second Stride’s foster farms that retrains and adopts out Thoroughbred racehorses to new homes and new careers after their racing careers have ended. Second Stride is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization. We were driving to Moserwood Farms in Prospect, Kentucky, to pick up my daughter’s recently adopted Second Stride Thoroughbred Lucky Albert.
Second Stride Thoroughbred Lucky Albert and his new Mommy, adopter Anna Blanton, prepare to leave Moserwood Farms in Prospect, Kentucky, for his new home in Indiana.
Lucky Albert is a four year old gelding by Albert The Great, a Go For Gin pedigree. Lucky Albert has had one win in his racing career. He was only retired from racing recently, running his last race in June. He was described as a horse with great stamina but no will to close at the end of the race and win. My daughter was looking for an eventing prospect and with Albert’s stamina, nice movement, and long legs he was considered to be a great prospect for eventing, especially for the cross country phase. On his test ride Lucky Albert proved to be calm and not spooky at all. He can gallop for miles without tiring, great for cross country. He is a sweet horse and has great ground manners.
Often I have heard the myth that off the track Thoroughbreds are high spirited, a hand full, no ground manners, crazy, not good for anything. I will gladly be the myth buster for these amazing horses after having numerous off the track Thoroughbreds here. The truth is they have been exposed to so many things on the racetrack that it is very difficult to find anything that may spook them. All of the retired Thoroughbred racehorses I have dealt with were very kind, willing, very versatile and athletic, and remarkably calm horses considering they were trained to run as fast they can around an oval track. They usually need some down time from racing before retraining simply because of the high fitness level of the horses and the race diet that they need to be weaned off of, as most of the horses’ new careers will not require the same diet. However, with their high metabolism Thoroughbreds do need more calories than say your easy keeper foundation Quarter Horse.
At the Second Stride facility, Moserwood Farms, Trainer Erin Buttigieg takes the first “check” evaluation ride on the new incoming Thoroughbreds to find out about their disposition, gaits, etc. to see what new career they would be best suited for and what kind of potential adopter they would be in need of, whether the horse would require a professional trainer or suitable for an amateur. After the first initial test ride she assigns volunteer riders to work with them. Lucky Albert’s volunteer rider was Katie Dorminey, who was present when we picked up Lucky Albert. There were other Second Stride Thoroughbreds turned out in paddocks at the farm.
If you are interested in adopting one of the Second Stride Thoroughbreds you will need to fill out an adoption application and get approved first. To access the adoption application, or see all the Second Stride Thoroughbred horses up for adoption, and to get more information about this organization you can go their website here. Volunteers are always welcome and more information on this can be attained by emailing Second Stride at: [email protected].
Photos: Courtesy of Sandy Dolan