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Retraining the older OTTB: Q & A with Julie Baker, founder of Healing Arenas

By Diana Pikulski, Editor,

julie baker healing arenas

Often, when we talk about thoroughbred aftercare, we focus on retraining relatively young thoroughbred racehorses, recently off the track. But some rescued/retired OTTBs needed more time off after racing or were turned out because there was no one available to retrain them. We know that many of these horses can get in shape and learn new jobs. They can often become pleasure or trail horses, therapy horses, or patrol horses and fill an important position in the community or place in your heart.

Older off-track thoroughbreds are often more of a challenge to adopt out. But as we’ve discovered, these ex-racehorses can be perfect for many disciplines, with just a little extra time and patience.

Julie Baker, founder of Healing Arenas in Escalon, CA is one of the most inspired and innovative pioneers in retraining and re-homing off-track thoroughbreds. Part of her success in placing off-track thoroughbreds comes from ability to find good fits for older thoroughbreds who were turned out for years after injuries ended their racing careers. She focuses on equine therapy jobs and law enforcement work. In both areas, she has found a real demand for good horses and the thoroughbreds fit the bill. At the time of their retirement to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, some of the horses were only pasture sound. But years later Julie found that many of these horses had healed and were candidates for retraining. We caught up with Julie at an EAGALA certification course in Placerville, CA. [Read More…]

The Chronicle of the Horse Launches Inaugural Thoroughbred Issue

by Diana Pikulski,

On May 7, The Chronicle of the Horse launched its first “Thoroughbred Issue”. The Chronicle, established in 1937 is a weekly magazine read by virtually everyone in the horse show and eventing world. It is the ‘bible’ of American equine lifestyle.

For those of us who always rode off-track thoroughbreds in every discipline, we are thrilled to see thoroughbreds getting the recognition they deserve in real time- not only in historical and reminiscent pieces. As we at the Thoroughbred Adoption Network and many people in the Thoroughbred racing industry work to market off-track Thoroughbreds in second careers, coverage like this is invaluable.

“We enjoyed the opportunity to highlight a breed that has long been intertwined with The Chronicle of the Horse and its roots in field sports such as fox hunting and racing/steeplechasing,” noted Beth Rasin, president and editor of The Chronicle. “Thoroughbreds are now seeing a renewed enthusiasm from all kinds of sport horse enthusiasts, and we wanted to highlight some of the people responsible for that resurgence of interest as well as some of the ways in which Thoroughbreds are excelling in FEI and other popular competitive sports.”

We also looked back at horsemen like Dennis Murphy, who rose to great achievements on the backs of Thoroughbreds,” added Rasin. “Whenever we cover a competition, we look for interesting angles, underdogs and human interest, and stories about Thoroughbreds often touch all of those highlights. We never miss the chance to report on a TB who wins a grand prix show jumping class or FEI dressage competition. In our rosters, such as the popular Kentucky Preview issue, we highlight those horses who are OTTBs and Thoroughbreds, and in all of our coverage we strive to communication information about breeds and pedigrees.”

To subscribe and read the issue go to:

Thoroughbred Incentive Program – Non-Competition Award Applications Available

thoroughbred incentive program

Applications for The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program’s (T.I.P.’s) two annual awards, the Thoroughbred of the Year Award and the Young Rider of the Year Award, are now available online at Applications are due June 30, 2018.

The T.I.P. Thoroughbred of the Year Award recognizes a Thoroughbred that has excelled in a non-competitive career, such as equine-assisted therapy or police work. The award includes a $5,000 grant to the non-profit organization associated with the horse or, if no organization is associated with the horse, to a horse-related charity chosen by The Jockey Club. To apply for the T.I.P. Thoroughbred of the Year Award, owners can download an application at [Read More…]

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