Second Careers Include Serving as Trail Riders, Therapy Horses, and Members of the Mounted Police
HARRISBURG, Pa., April 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The average horse's racing career is typically only four to six years long. Preparing them for their second career — one that could last 20 or more years — is the passion of a network of dedicated horse trainers and foster farms known as aftercare. Aftercare programs give retired thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses the care and humane treatment they deserve and prepares them for a prosperous life after they have taken their final laps on track.
The aftercare network includes organizations such as Turning for Home, which services horses retiring from Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa., and New Start for Horses, which retrains retired horses from central Pennsylvania's Penn National Race Course. In 2021, Turning for Home and New Start for Horses retrained a total of 390 retired Pennsylvania racehorses.
"Everyone who works in the horse racing industry — from breeders and trainers to owners and jockeys — has one thing in common: they have a deep and unwavering love of horses," said Pete Peterson, president of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association. "Aftercare organizations are an extension of that love. They were created to make sure that every retired racehorse has a fulfilling second career and a home where they receive the care and attention they deserve."
Life after the track can take many forms, and selecting that post-racing career happens over the course of several weeks while the horse is evaluated at a foster farm. Through daily interaction and riding, trainers evaluate each horse's physical capability, temperament and willingness to learn new skills, to determine the roles that best suit each horse.
Some retired racehorses go on to second careers as therapy horses while a few have gone on to become members of the Philadelphia Police Department mounted patrol unit. Other horses stay in the limelight as competitors in barrel racing, jumping or dressage, while other former champions are content to enjoy a quieter retirement as a trail-riding companion horse.
To learn more about Turning for Home visit www.turningforhome.org, and for information about New Start for Horses visit www.newstartforhorses.com. For more information about the Pennsylvania horse racing industry, visit www.pennhorseracing.com.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association