Kentucky Equine Adoption Center

Bell’s Honor, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare, was recently adopted from the Kentucky farm. Credit: Meghan Adelman

Services: Rehabilitation, Retraining/Adoption, Equine-Assisted

Location: Lexington, KY

Founded: 2007


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Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 40



Some of the biggest names in racing threw their support behind the Kentucky Equine Adoption Center (KyEAC) when it was founded in 2007. Among them were Racing Hall of Fame horsemen Chris McCarron and Nick Zito and noted owners and breeders Arthur Hancock and the late Marylou Whitney.  The organization has since provided a much-needed service in finding homes for unwanted horses of all breeds, although half the herd is generally Thoroughbreds.

Situated on 70 acres near Nicholasville, KY, the program offers a peaceful haven where equines can relax, recover, and heal until their forever home is found. Incoming horses receive veterinary care and individualized attention before moving on to retraining, wherein qualified trainers work with them to establish a safe, solid foundation for the future. By contractual agreement, no adopted animal can ever again be used for racing or breeding. Adoption fees range from $500 to $1500.

One of many success stories from KyEAC is Winter Leaf, a 1998 granddaughter of Mr. Prospector. A three-time stakes winner, Winter Leaf won or placed in 18 of 24 starts, earned $247,989, and finished third to eventual Hall of Famer Xtra Heat. Only able to produce two foals, Winter Leaf eventually arrived at KyEAC, and within four months a much different, happier horse had found a new home.

KyEAC has four programs in addition to the general horse care it provides: Take the Reins Education Program, sponsored by Alltech and geared toward K-12 students, teaching responsible horse ownership, how to give back to the community, and become good citizens; Heads Up Hearts Open Equine Growth and Communication, which offers its horses to professionals conducting equine-assisted learning and therapy and training in leadership and supervision; and the SASH (Support a Special Horse) education program geared toward first-time horse owners. The SASH program is hands-on with the horse, teaching participants how to work with horses on the ground and providing general horse husbandry skills.

OurFast Track program focuses on Thoroughbreds who are directly off the track, or within 3 years of their last race.  This program’s aim is to place these young horses within 120 days of surrender.

A grant recipient from TAA, KyEAC also has been supported by organizations such as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Rood & Riddle, Hagyard, Park Equine, Kentucky Horse Council, Brennan Equine Welfare Fund, Equus Foundation, Indiana HBPA, Thoroughbred Charities of America, and ASPCA.



Kentucky Equine Adoption Center Success Stories

Mister Foster

Mister Foster – Orphaned at three days old, the Kentucky-bred son of Rocking Trick never made it to the track, but has since found his place with adopter Sara Gatchell. Read more >>


Annora at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Nicholasville, Ky.

Annora – A once abandoned mare was rehabbed and is now making strides toward a new life. Read more >>