One day last month, I had the privilege of visiting New Vocations’ Lexington facility at West Wind Farm.
Located in the heart of the rolling, Bluegrass hills, it’s a beautiful operation and is currently home to 15 horses. Some of its residents have already been adopted and are waiting to transition out of the farm, while others receive daily, progressive conditioning under the guidance of facility manager and trainer Lisa Malloy. ***update*** Lisa Malloy has moved and is no longer serving as New Vocation's trainer. The organization is searching for her replacement.
Lisa Malloy with My Friend Ken, a winning son of Bowman's Band
New Vocations’ mission centers on rehabilitating and priming ex-racehorses for second careers. The organization has Thoroughbred facilities in Lexingotn, Marysville, Ohio and Hummelstown, Pa., as well as Standardbred farms in Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee.
I have written a few blogs in the past about New Vocations horses (click here, here, and here) but I had never actually been able to see the farm in person, so this was a special treat. Executive director Anna Ford gave me a tour and I snapped some photos along the way with my iPhone, which I’d like to share.
Anna Ford with R Ranger, Discreet Cat's full brother and New Vocations' only pensioned horse
I think it’s important to showcase retirement/rehabilitation farms such as New Vocations in order to garner more interest and support for these facilities. As many of you already realize, farms like New Vocations play a very important part in our industry, and I believe it’s our job to help them out!
New Vocations believes strongly in taking its time with each of its horses, which are all in different stages of rehabilitation. “As long as the horses are transitioning at a good rate and getting adopted, we let them develop at their own rate,” said Ford.
Upon This Rock, a very curious 3-year-old son of Rock Hard Ten
Oh, and in case you wanted an update on Advice, he is still doing just fine at New Vocations. The horse has not yet been adopted due to taking some extra time to settle into the facility. Ford said Advice had struggled with some weight issues, but had made considerable improvements in the last few weeks. He should be able to be transitioned into a new home very soon!
Have you taken a tour of New Vocations or another Thoroughbred retirement or rehabilitation facility? What did you think?
Also, take a look at New Vocations’ brochure “What Your Newly Adopted Thoroughbred Wants You to Know.” It’s a cute pamphlet written by Malloy from the perspective of an OTTB. If you would like your very own copy, email me your address! firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about New Vocations, visit www.horseadoption.com.
One more thing, if you haven't seen the article I co-wrote with Ron Mitchell about the horses from Keith Asmussen's farm that were found at an auction known for its "kill buyers," check it out. Luckily, the mares are now in great hands at Donna Keen's Remember Me Rescue. One of the mares, Luxury of Time, will be shipped back to the farm of her breeders, the Mabee family's Golden Eagle Farm near Ramona, Calif. in about a month. I plan to write a blog about her once she arrives!