Beyond The Roses Equine Rescue & Retirement

Beyond the Roses

Athletica with her trainer Tricia Sawdon preparing for the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thor- oughbred Makeover. Athletica was adopted from Beyond the Roses during the Makeover. Credit: Martha Denver


Services: Sanctuary, Rehabilitation, Retraining/Adoption

Location: Emmett, MI

Founded: 2012


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Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 15-25

The 10-year-old, full-service rescue organization Beyond the Roses was established in Michigan by current executive director Gail Hirt to provide sanctuary, rehab, retraining, and adoption placement for horses in need.

Early focus was on locating aging racehorses whose useful track careers were over or nearing an end – competitors who ran long and hard and had more than paid their dues – then acquiring them to repurpose and adopt to loving forever homes.

The organization now works with Thoroughbreds of any racing background. “Helping OTTBs one at a time,” is a motto adhered to by Beyond the Roses’s volunteer staff, to the lasting benefit of ex-racehorses fortunate enough to pass through this organization.

The ultimate mission of Beyond the Roses is to rescue and provide positive alternatives to slaughter or abandonment. There is no age restriction for horses admitted to the program.

Beyond the Roses typically houses about a dozen permanent sanctuary horses, with approximately another 14 available to adopt. Full-time residents include Canadian stakes winners Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk and Twisted Wit, both 21-year-old geldings who during their racing careers earned $813,953 and $944,699, respectively.

Tax-deductible donations for this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization are needed to maintain upkeep of Beyond the Roses residents, whose care averages around $8.50 per day, per horse.

Full or partial sponsorships are available for full-time sanctuary residents such as Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk and Twisted Wit, when injury, age, or temperament has rendered them unsuitable for future sporting careers.

Beyond the Roses’s wish list from donors includes bandages, wormers, fly spray, halters, blankets, and bedding, as well as gift cards to local feed and lumber stores.