Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement
Location: Salem, CT
Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 5
Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement is a sanctuary or aged equines.
Founded in 2004 by current executive director Dee Doolittle, the organization provides a permanent home for more than 20 older and often infirm horses of all breeds.
The purpose of Mitchell Farm is not to retrain or re-home, as the majority of program members are unrideable due to injury or advanced age. Each Mitchell Farm horse has its own stall and a pasture to graze in Connecticut’s gorgeous Salem
“Our equine retirees have earned their retirement and will never be ridden again,” Doolittle said. “Without the pressures of competition or bearing human weight, they are free to remember, or learn, what it means to be a horse.”
Horses in the program must be a mare or gelding at least 20 years old, pasture-sound, in veterinarian-verified good health, and current on shots. One of Mitchell Farm’s best resident stories is of the off-the-track Thoroughbred named Nijinsky Sun (aka “Walter”), a grandson of the great Nijinsky II who was unplaced in several starts during the mid-1980s. Upon leaving the track, Walter served more than 20 years as a beloved lesson and show horse for children until earning his much deserved retirement at Mitchell Farm, where he lived out the rest of life to the ripe age of 35.
The organization is fully accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries in addition to the TAA and has been recognized by such groups as Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Doris Day Animal Foundation, and the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign.
Mitchell Farm is run largely by volunteers, who feed, groom, and care for the equine senior citizens on a daily basis. The program also strives to educate the public on animal-welfare issues whenever possible.
Mitchell Farm’s annual music festival has been a successful early-autumn fund-raiser.