Friends of Ferdinand

Friends of Ferdinand

Credit: JPH Photography


Services: Sanctuary, Rehabilitation, Adoption

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Founded: 2005


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Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 30

Friends of Ferdinand Inc. (FFI) is an Indiana-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting responsible retirement for racehorses in Indiana and the Midwest with options for second careers.

Established in 2005, Friends of Ferdinand took its name from the famed racehorse Ferdinand, a Kentucky Derby winner who earned millions on the track but was ultimately sent to slaughter. To honor his memory, FFI has established a very successful retraining and adoption program.

Additionally, FFI offers an internship program that affords young people who are interested in a horse-industry career the opportunity to work with horses in aftercare or preparing for adoption.

Each horse receives a thorough vet check to identify any physical limitations and generally stays a minimum of 90 days for evaluation and retraining. Once ready to begin work, Friends of Ferdinand’s retraining philosophy is: “Let the horse set the pace.” Whether it takes three months or six, Friends of Ferdinand horses are ready for new careers with amateur riders.

The goal of Friends of Ferdinand is to work closely with adopters to find the right home for each horse for the first time. The adoption process begins with an application that includes a veterinarian, a farrier, and personal references. Potential adopters are required to visit and ride their potential horses with FFI’s head trainer. In addition, adopters are offered a 30-day trial so that they may take their new horse home for a pre-purchase exam and evaluations by their own veterinarian, farrier, and trainer.

These adoption and match-making processes have proved effective, with an almost 100 percent year-over-year successful adoption rate. FFI grads have become trail and dressage horses, such as Logan Township, a gelding who raced 78 times, and Right to War, who raced three times. Others have transitioned into hunter/jumpers, eventers, and pleasure horses.

Friends of Ferdinand Success Stories

Indygo Joe & Ciara

Indygo Joe – He only made one start before retiring and although the son of Indygo Shiner wasn’t meant for the fast lane, he has since found his place. Read more >>


Filly Named Billy

Filly Named Billy – Initially looking for an experienced Quarter Horse gelding, adopter Kelly Meng fell in love with a chestnut Thoroughbred mare. Read more >>