Winning line up

How After the Races is Different Part 2

While some people believe in getting video of a horse free lunging and jumping on day one or even jumping right onto its back, at ATR they believe in giving every horse at least 30 days to decompress. During that 30 days’ time, horses are vetted, have their feet done, are introduced to herd life, are transitioned to a new diet and start reprogramming some of their manners (if need be).

That 30+ days give them time for medications to work out of their systems, and most injections (that may be masking lameness) start to wear off. This way can let you find out if a horse is sore or lame prior to riding it. Not to mention, horses who have more time off after racing always seem to come back to work more generally relaxed, less tight in their backs and hind ends, and in a better mental place to go to work.

It is a very important step to take to help them be ready for most people, generally amateurs, looking to adopt.

That isn’t to say a horse isn’t available to an experienced, approved home prior to finishing their “let down” at our farm. And it’s not to say ATR isn’t thrilled if someone adopts and chooses to give a horse more time off before going back to work. It does mean occasionally adopters pass on a horse when we haven’t been on their backs yet, but ATR does not believe in compromising this important stage in an OTTB’s transition period.

Going the extra mile to evaluate and rehab a horse.

Many rescues out there will take the information given to them by the track program or trainer the horse came from at face value. The trainer says the horse is sound, so they advertise and show the horse as sound, and often this leads to eventual heartbreak with some adopters, and also in returns. ATR’s goal is to find an appropriate, long-term home on the first go, and so they do everything they can to build an accurate picture of each horse that enters the program.

Many rescues out there will take the information given to them by the track program or trainer the horse came from at face value. The trainer says the horse is sound, so they advertise and show the horse as sound, and often this leads to eventual heartbreak with some adopters, and also in returns. ATR’s goal is to find an appropriate, long-term home on the first go, and so they do everything they can to build an accurate picture of each horse that enters the program.

This means taking the information given by the horse’s connections, its racing history, and building the best picture possible to present to the farm vet, who goes over every horse usually within a week or two of its arrival. Every horse gets a pretty thorough basic lameness evaluation, and many get radiographs and other diagnostics to clear up concerns we might have. Horses in rehab each get a customized plan, and even horses getting let down.

There was a war-horse just adopted (raced 60 times) that ended up getting over three months to let down. His back was incredibly sore, his hind end was so tight… he required 30 days of Robaxin (a muscle relaxer), three chiropractic adjustments, several massages, and just TIME to heal. After 90 days, a precious amount of time for any non-profit, he came back to work a much happier and healthier animal and went on to then quickly find a great home.

Not compromising on care.

Another thing that always stands out to visitors and adopters is the quality of care each horse receives at ATR. Horses are maintained on a high-quality grain, high-quality hay (usually alfalfa or a high content alfalfa mix), receive routine vet care including dental work, and routine hoof care with a farrier who does a great job helping their hooves return to better angles. They are also allowed to remain out to pasture as many hours a day as they can (usually 16+ hours a day), in peaceful herd settings.

One feed representative from Nutrena came by years ago with assistance to weight tape horses and give feed recommendations and couldn’t believe how great everyone looked.

She said, “Usually we want to rescue the horses from the rescue, but all your horses look amazing!”

After the Races hopes adopters will agree that they’re getting a lot of value with the adoption fees we ask for the horses. Not only are they usually well below market value, but you get a horse who has been vetted, all known issues and existing records are shared, and a lot of the basics (including retraining) have been instilled so that they can easily transition into a new farm. After the Races invites you to put our reputation to the test. Take a look at their available horses today!

To read part 1 of After the Races guest blog post, click here.

2 comments

  1. As an adopter, I am so pleased and fortunate to have adopted a gentle and intelligent horse from ATR. ATR is honest and caring about the horses they rehabilitate. Anyone looking to adopt who can appreciate and handle an OTTB, this is the place to go.

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