Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center
Services: Rehabilitation, Adoption
Location: Lexington, KY
Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 45
The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC), which has been hailed as “the gold standard in Thoroughbred reschooling,” opened in October 2004.
It uses its location at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington to do three things:
1) Promote the athleticism and versatility of the Thoroughbred in second careers in order to encourage adoptions nationwide; 2) educate the public about Thoroughbreds; and 3) highlight the many good things that the racing industry is doing to support aftercare.
MMSC horses are selected to be ambassadors for the breed and the sport of racing. It is not a rescue facility. Horses are selected based on soundness of body and mind, temperament, and serviceability.
Horses in the program learn new skill sets using the Horse Centered Reschooling Program, a three-tiered system addressing body, spirit, and mind, developed by MMSC executive director Susanna Thomas, that gives them a basic foundation on which to build a new career. Because the campus is small — 16 acres of paddocks and eight stalls — MMSC can only house 12 to 15 horses at a time and cannot do long-term lay-ups. Once adopted, MMSC horses are tracked for life to ensure their well-being.
Potential adopters are required to fill out applications and supply references and, once approved, must come ride to make sure the fit is a good one. Adoption fees vary based on the length of stay, the extent of a horse’s limitations, if any, and the scope of the horse.
MMSC has an off-campus Clean Start Program for horses that need rehabilitation, and a Noble Horse Program that lists horses available for adoption directly from the farms on which they reside.
Keen to be a beacon of information about off-the-track Thoroughbreds and racing, MMSC offers college and high school internships, welcomes volunteers, and regularly hosts tours and demonstrations.
“The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center does everything right,” said former jockey Rosie Napravnik, “from horse care, to the horses’ new starts, to the staff’s amazing ability to find homes for them. The MMSC is all about excellence, honesty and the horse!”