New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program
Services: Rehabilitation, Retraining/Adoption
Location: Lexington, KY
Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 320
An aftercare pioneer, New Vocations is the nation’s oldest and largest racehorse adoption program, having provided new careers and homes for more than 8,500 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 that leave the racetrack each year.
New Vocations works directly with racing industry horse owners and trainers who are seeking a reliable aftercare option. Three-quarters of the horses entering the program have an injury, ranging from minor soreness to fractures in need of repair, and rehabilitation has become one of the cornerstone services of New Vocations. An average of 150 horses are under New Vocations’ care at any given time. These horses are in various stages of rehabilitation and retraining at the nonprofit’s nine facilities in Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York. In 2022, New Vocations served more than 550 horses.
Potential adopters undergo a thorough application and screening process to help ensure horses end up in appropriate homes; more than 1,300 applications were processed in 2022. Adopters must sign a contract stating the horse cannot return to racing or be sold at a public auction. New Vocations monitors each horse closely during the first year in a new home and offers a lifetime return policy to ensure the horse always has a safe place if needed.
The New Vocations Lexington, KY facility includes a state-of-the-art training and adoption facility situated on historic Mereworth Farm. 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 rehabilitation, retraining, and re-homing facility. Group and private tours, available via Horse Country, can be booked at visithorsecountry.com/new-vocations.
Over the past 30 years, New Vocations has seen a steady increase in demand for retired racehorses within the equestrian world.
“The homes are out there,” program director Anna Ford said. “New Vocations is totally dependent on donations to fulfill its mission. The more funding we raise, the more horses we can rehabilitate, retrain, and re-home. We are deeply grateful to all who have joined our effort to provide these horses with a quality life and career after racing.”
New Vocations Success Stories