Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue
Services: Sanctuary, Rehabilitation, Adoption
Location: Pawling, NY
Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 150
“I never met a horse I didn’t like.”
Those words were spoken by our founder, the late businessman and philanthropist John Hettinger, a noted racehorse owner and breeder, winner of the Eclipse Award of Merit, and an activist against equine slaughter, fighting successfully for legislation that banned U.S. slaughterhouses.
“He is the modern father of Thoroughbred aftercare,” said D.G. Van Clief, president of Akindale Thoroughbred Aftercare. “We owe its existence to John for making this a top-of-consciousness issue. He said he was going to do something and he put his money where his mouth was. He was a champion for retired racehorses.”
In 2019, Hettinger was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame for his contributions to the industry and to horses. Hettinger founded Akindale Thoroughbred Aftercare in 2006, two years before his death. He left 300 acres of the family farm in Pawling, N.Y., to carry on his mission and care for the animals he called his “best friends.” The property is deeded and dedicated in perpetuity to the care of retired racehorses and continues to successfully transition Thoroughbreds to second careers.
Akindale operates a “Reinventing Racehorses” program that has rehabilitated, retrained, and re-homed hundreds of Thoroughbreds. The program’s emphasis is on working directly with the racing industry to be sure Thoroughbreds get the best opportunity for a second career. Once a horse enters the Akindale program, they are guaranteed a safe haven for life. Horses are prepared for a second career and the right home is found for them. If anything goes wrong in the horse’s lifetime, they can come back and retire in
our sanctuary and live out their years peacefully.
Akindale is a non-profit organization that accepts tax-deductible donations to help cover the costs of care for the 160-plus Thoroughbreds in its care. Every dollar makes a difference in the lives of our horses, whether it is a one-time cash donation, material donation, or a long-term sponsorship of one of the 130 retirees living in our sanctuary.