CANTER California

CANTER Program Graduate Charlie Monkey competing at the Thoroughbred Makeover. Credit: GRC Photo
  • Services

    Rehabilitation, Retraining/Adoption

  • Location

    Dixon, California

  • Founded


  • Average Number of Thoroughbreds


California’s division of the Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER) provides retiring Thoroughbreds with opportunities for new careers. The organization accepts horses directly from the track into its adoption program, providing rehabilitation and training for new disciplines, with the goal of finding each horse a loving, permanent home.

CANTER also offers free public classified ads to trainers for retiring horses off the track. Volunteer photographers visit tracks in Northern and Southern California weekly, and the organization promotes available horses through social media and its website. Since its inception, CANTER’s trainer listings have helped to place more than 1,000 horses.

Thoroughbreds come to CANTER through owners, trainers, or partner placement programs. Many have racetrack injuries, ranging from minor to significant.

Upon arrival at a CANTER facility – well-equipped private farms in both Northern and Southern California – horses are given a minimum of six weeks to let down from the track. A veterinary team evaluates each horse and oversees rehabilitation when needed. CANTER also will cover surgery costs when necessary.

Volunteer trainers prepare all horses – depending on their suitability, temperament, and lameness history – for second careers as competitive sport horses, pleasure mounts, trail horses, therapeutic riding horses, or companion horses.

CANTER covers all costs during this retraining process, and there is no limit to how long a horse can be in the program.

Adoption fees, typically ranging from $2,500 to $6,000, are set according to soundness, temperament, training level, and long-term potential. These fees help subsidize veterinary care, farrier work, feed, and board.

Horses adopted or sold through CANTER are monitored for two years and are always placed with a lifetime guarantee to be accepted back into the program if the owner can no longer care for the horse.

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