James River Horse Foundation

Inmate program participants with a few of the James River horses.
  • Services

    Sanctuary, Rehabilitation, Adoption, Equine-Assisted

  • Location

    Oilville, Virginia

  • Founded


  • Average Number of Thoroughbreds


Twenty-four rescued Thoroughbreds graze on the banks of the James River in Goochland, VA, secure in their retirement. These horses are cared for by select inmates at the State Farm Work Center under a partnership between the James River Horse Foundation and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Not only do the horses receive excellent care, but they give so much back to their caretakers in terms of jobs and life skills. It is truly a win-win situation where people help horses and horses help people.

It is one thing that these horses have a beautiful sanctuary in which to live out their lives, but the larger side of this program is the equine care, stable management, and life skills the women take with them when they return to their families and communities.

One of the inmates had this to say about the program: “I have a new respect for horses, hard work, and life in general. I am so grateful to be blessed with this opportunity.”

Said another inmate, “It’s quite a unique relationship we have with these horses. These horses need us, and we need them. They give us a sense of peace in the environment we are in.”

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