New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program
Services: Rehabilitation, Adoption
Location: Lexington, KY
Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 320
A pioneer in racehorse aftercare, New Vocations leads the nation in retired racehorse adoptions, having provided new careers and homes for more than 7,000 Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds since its inception in 1992.
New Vocations was the first charity to focus solely on adoption rather than retirement as the optimal solution for the large number of racehorses leaving the track each year. New Vocations works directly with owners and trainers within the racing industry who need a reliable aftercare option. More than half of the horses entering the program have an injury, ranging from minor soreness to fractures in need of repair.
Rehabilitation has become a cornerstone of the program, which focuses on retraining and re-homing ex-racehorses. It has an average of 150 horses in its program at any given time. These horses are in various stages of rehabilitation and retraining and are spread among seven locations in Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The program takes in more than 500 horses each year.
Potential adopters undergo a thorough application process, with nearly 1,000 individuals screened annually. All horses are adopted with a signed contract stating the horse cannot return to a racing career or be sold at a public auction. New Vocations monitors each horse closely during the first year in its new home; the program offers a lifetime return policy to ensure the horse always has a safe place if needed.
The New Vocations Kentucky location includes a state-of-the-art training and adoption facility situated on historic Mereworth Farm in Lexington. New Vocations at Mereworth Farm is part of the Susan S. Donaldson Foundation’s 1,200-acre farm, making it the nation’s largest racehorse retirement, rehabilitation, retraining, and re-homing facility. Tours are available by appointment.
Over the past 28 years, New Vocations has seen a steady increase in demand tor retired racehorses within the equestrian world.
“The homes are out there,” program director Anna Ford said. “The more funding we raise, the more horses we can rehabilitate, retrain,and re-home. New Vocations is totally dependent on donations to fulfill its mission. We are deeply grateful to all who have joined our effort to provide these horses with a quality life and career after racing.”