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Inspector Spotlight: Elaina Maze

Inspector Spotlight: Elaina Maze

By: Alexis Arbaugh

To qualify for accreditation and receive a grant from Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, every facility within an organization must undergo a comprehensive inspection. These inspections are carried out by either Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance staff or one of many approved inspectors located across the country. Sight inspectors are Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance’s eyes at every facility. They include veterinarians and other equine professionals. Inspectors have prior experience in animal care and Thoroughbred aftercare, which makes them well-equipped to assess facilities seeking accreditation. During an accreditation inspection, the facility and everything that goes into running it is under review. This includes the staff, equine management and care practices, fields, barn/buildings, cleanliness standards, maintenance protocols, and financial management, among numerous other factors, taking pictures as they go. When an inspector visits a facility, all these elements are thoroughly examined.

Elaina Maze is a seasoned volunteer inspector for Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.  Based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Elaina specializes in inspecting facilities in Northern Virginia, Eastern West Virginia, and Western Maryland. She has been an inspector for Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance for three years. Presently, Elaina works as an Administrative Assistant for a National Commercial HVAC contractor, but her previous roles have included significant experience as an Animal Control / Humane Officer and an ASPCA National Field Responder.

Elaina became interested in doing inspections for Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance when she recognized it as a meaningful opportunity to utilize her previous law enforcement training while also making a positive contribution to the racing and aftercare community.

With a background as a former Animal Control Officer and ASPCA National Field Responder, Elaina brings extensive animal experience to her role as a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance inspector. Additionally, she has over 40 years of experience owning, showing, and training horses, including Thoroughbreds. Before purchasing her first off-the-track Thoroughbred, Soaring Ella, Elaina dedicated several years to volunteering at retired racehorse organizations.

In 2023, Elaina had great success with her OTTB Ella, securing 7 High Point Championships, 2 Division High Point Championships, 3 Reserve High Point Championships, and a Division Reserve Championship. Given Elaina’s accomplishments with Ella, it is evident that she has a knack for taking care of and retraining retired racehorses.

During her free time, Elaina enjoys participating in Western, Classical Dressage, and Cowboy Dressage competitions. Living in Northern Virginia provides Elaina and her OTTB Ella with convenient access to the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, allowing them to trail ride up and down the East Coast. Additionally, they have been to the Outer Banks and Hocking Hills together. In June 2024 they are planning to ride through the Adirondack Mountains in New York.  Elaina’s other hobbies include sewing show apparel and volunteering her time as a dressage scribe for local USDF shows.

Elaina became interested in doing inspections for Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance when she recognized it as a meaningful opportunity to utilize her previous law enforcement training while also making a positive contribution to the racing and aftercare community. She believes that accreditation inspections are important for Thoroughbred aftercare facilities because they are a crucial step for ensuring that the horses receive top-notch care from knowledgeable individuals who understand the complexities of their needs.

“Living near a Thoroughbred racetrack, I’ve seen firsthand the struggle to find quality homes for retiring Thoroughbreds and how unchecked individuals can quickly become overwhelmed and overextended with too many horses,” wrote Elaina.

Her favorite things to see at any inspection are happy horses who are enjoying their life. Elaina feels that there is nothing more rewarding than seeing an ex-racehorse galloping through a field for fun. Though there are many qualities of equine care Elaina finds important, the factor she looks for most during her inspections is the knowledge of the individuals who run and work at the facility. She wants to make sure the people operating each facility have the skill set and knowledge it takes to manage an off-the- track Thoroughbred. Elaina feels that caring for a Thoroughbred is unlike caring for other breeds because these horses are packed with muscle and energy once they’re off the track. It requires skilled handlers who can manage them at their peak strength. Elaina also likes seeing innovative ways in which organizations care for their Thoroughbreds and facilities. She loves to see how the work these organizations do brings out the best in both the horses and their caretakers.

Accredited Thoroughbred aftercare is important in the aftercare process to Elaina because of all the good things that come from it. The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accreditation and inspection process provides racehorse owners with the peace of mind that their equines are going to a safe place once their racing careers come to an end. Elaina also explained that the process also assures adopters that they are receiving a horse that has received top-tier care according to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Code of Standards. Additionally, inspections provide donors with the confidence that their contributions are being utilized effectively, funding vetted and quality aftercare organizations across North America.

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