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Sep 01, 2011 - NTRA
According to Stacie Clark, who runs the program, almost 200 Adena Springs horses have gone through the program in the last seven years. “The Adena Springs Retirement program was the first in-house retirement program within the industry. The Adena commitment to our horses lasts beyond their racing years, and we are dedicated to providing them with a lifetime of care and happiness.”
“Adena Springs has shown exemplary leadership in the industry when it comes to caring for horses once their racing careers are over,” said Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA’s Safety and Integrity Alliance. “Recognizing the importance of their commitment and encouraging others to emulate their efforts will be fruitful in realizing the goal of caring for horses from cradle to grave.”
When an Adena Springs horse is retired from the racetrack, those that do not enter the breeding program are placed in the retirement aftercare program. Some are retired due to age; others for minor soundness issues that make them unsuitable for continued racing.
“Almost all of our aftercare horses are sent initially to our Ocala farm for rest and rehabilitation. There are over 50 acres allocated for aftercare, as well as a small barn. The newly race retired thoroughbreds are usually kept there for six months to a year and if time permits they begin retraining in April. In May, we begin shipping 8-10 thoroughbreds at a time to our Canadian farm where each horse is assessed and begins retraining and schooling for their new jobs. A small group of individuals supported by all of the Adena Springs staff team retrain the horses with basic flatwork and ground work training. Approximately 30-40 horses go through the program annually.”
As for finding suitable homes for the horses, Stacie says, “We still do some advertising, however word of mouth has been our best selling strategy as of late. Each horse is unique and we strive to find suitable homes for each and every one of them.”
The cost for an Adena Springs Retirement Program graduate varies, depending on the amount of groundwork training the horse has received. A minimal fee is charged for every one of the horses to ensure they are going to a responsible caring home. Adena Springs staff meets with prospective owners to discuss their intentions, meet available horses in person and ride their new horse before completing the sale.
Every prospective owner signs a contract that states the horse will not be raced, as well as the Jockey Club “sold without pedigree” form. Adena Springs always asks for first right of refusal to buy the horse back and find it a new home if the new owner needs to make a change.
Of the Aftercare Program graduates, Stacie says, “We are very proud of all of them. We have had horses that have developed into some of the most amazing and incredible athletes and companions. The thoroughbred is a versatile athletic breed that can be successful in almost any discipline be it racing, hunter, jumper, dressage, eventing, western or pleasure. All of our horses with time, patience and re-training become loving and gentle companions eager to please. From teaching young children to visiting the elderly, we are no longer surprised at the true brilliance of the racehorse in a second career. We are blessed to have been their student.”
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Click here to view organizations listed with the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance Aftercare program.