Retired racehorses find new careers

Thousands of thoroughbreds will be racing at Del Mar over the next few weeks. Some may run just one race, others may race for a few seasons, but after they’re done racing, many will have to find new careers or risk winding up at slaughter. AJ was one of those horses.

Now the chestnut thoroughbred who was called “As You Like It” when he raced at Del Mar is training for a new job at the Encinitas based non-profit Saving Horses Inc.

The organization helps rescue, rehabilitate, retrain and re-home ex-racehorses along with other horses. Over the past 9 years, it’s helped more than 100.

“They have a good mind, willing, athletic and they are just fun,” says it’s founder Audrey Reynolds.

She says their temperament and talents make them suited for many careers post racing including jumping, dressage and trail riding. She says those that can’t be ridden make excellent companion or therapy horses.

“The horses have given a lot on the track and they really deserve a long rest of their life.” Caring for the horses is expensive. Reynolds says it takes about $400 a month for basic feed and care but she says ex-racehorses often need a lot more than that.

“They need to heal from their injuries, they need to be seen by the vet, to have farrier work, they may even need surgery,” sad Dawn Mellen, President of After the Finish Line, a funding nonprofit that raises money to help other non-profits, like Saving Horses Inc., do their work. Last year, Mellen says the organization gave $100,000 dollars to rescues caring for thoroughbreds.

She says people make so much money off racehorses, the animals deserve to be cared for after their racing days are done.

“It’s important to help these horses when they’re finished racing, because they’re too slow to win or injured, that we give them a second chance.”

AJ is currently being retrained and given the care he needs to get another chance. Reynolds says she hopes he will get a loving home soon. “Just someone who can give him the TLC he really deserves, he’s a great boy, a lovely horse.”

If you would like to help give a racehorse a second chance, maybe adopt one, or donate, you can contact After the Finish Line at www.afterthefinishline.org or Saving Horses Inc. at www.savinghorsesinc.com

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