Pennsylvania horse racing aftercare
Like most sports, horse racing is a young man’s — or, in this case, horse’s — game. So, once a horse’s days at the track are over, what happens? In Pennsylvania, owners, trainers and lawmakers care very deeply about retired racehorses and have made it a priority to give them the best life possible through a number of exceptional programs.
Every retiring horse’s situation is different. Like athletes, some may suffer an injury, others age out of the sport, and a few become so successful that they become more valuable as studs or broodmares. No matter the situation, there’s always one common thread to aftercare: humane, loving attention — meaning that slaughterhouses are absolutely not an option. Pennsylvania Thoroughbred tracks have a no-tolerance policy in this regard. Any individual who is caught sending a horse to slaughter is immediately banned from all horse racing activities for life.
There are quite a few Pennsylvania aftercare programs for Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses that pride themselves on being at the top in the nation in providing a home and purpose for these magnificent animals. Pennsylvania is dedicated to giving every retired racehorse a fulfilling second career in barrel racing, hunting, dressage, leisure and so on.
Turning for Home
Based out of Parx Racing®, Turning for Home is a nonprofit adoption program that The Jockey Club has touted as a national example for on-track retirement facilities at year-round racecourses. Over the years, Turning for Home has provided nearly 2,800 horses with a safe retirement. Turning for Home is operated by the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
Created in 2013 by the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, New Start’s mission is to work with participating foster farms to find qualified homes for horses that have been retired from racing at Penn National Race Course.
New Vocations’ Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, facility acts as a rescue and rehabilitation program for retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses. The end goal is to find every horse a loving home, where he or she can peacefully live out a post-racing life.