Interview with Beyond The Wire

Wasabi Ventures Stables recently had an interview with Beyond The Wire, an industry-wide initiative between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland jockeys, that is designed to facilitate safe and enriching placements for retired Maryland based racehorses.

  1. What are some factors that can contribute to a horse retiring?

Horses retire for a number of reasons. Some are just too slow to be competitive, some sustain injuries and still others have raced for years and the owner and trainer make a decision to let the horse go on to new, enriching activities.

2. What happens when a horse is accepted into your program?

When an owner or trainer calls me to retire a horse, there is an intake form they fill out. I then meet the vet at the horse’s stall and we do an evaluation. I also take a picture to show our Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accredited facilities and to put on our website. Once I have gathered all of the necessary information, I contact the TAA facilities to secure a spot. Last, I set up shipping and send the horse off to start their new life!

3. Do horses still maintain an active lifestyle after retiring?

Absolutely. Our horses all receive some retraining at the TAA facilities and are adopted out to owners that will compete in shows, trail ride, play polo and more. On a rare occasion, we may receive a horse that can no longer be ridden, and we work with a program that uses horses on the ground for therapy. There is no riding involved but they still have a job.

4. How does the process of retiring a horse work?

The process is pretty simple. There is an intake form to fill out, and then I do all of the legwork and keep the trainer and owner posted on the process. It usually only takes me a matter of days to move a horse, but there are occasions where it can take longer.

5. How many different farms do you work with to retrain retired horses?

We currently work with 7 different TAA accredited facilities.

6. Can you share a story or two about specific horses?

I had a gentleman call me about a filly that entered our program not long ago. He had apparently been following her since he saw her at a yearling sale, even contacting her racing trainer once. For some reason, he really liked her. She was sweet and sound but not exactly fancy. I told him she was at a facility in SC, and he made arrangements to fly down and meet and ride her and then he returned to PA in the same day. He went ahead and adopted her, and she was shipped back up to him about a week later. He will let her grow up a bit, and then she will become his foxhunter. That’s dedication! I also had a Multiple Stakes Winning horse retire through the program. He was fantastic but limited by an injury. I wasn’t sure how long it would take for him to be adopted because of the limitations but was surprised to see he was adopted very shortly after the TAA facility posted him. When I saw the picture of him and his new person, I realized it was his former exercise rider that adopted him.

7. What makes your program unique?

We based our program on Take the Lead in New York, but I think there are a few things that make us unique. First, we are funded by the entire racing industry. We receive money from the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and a per start charge to jockeys and owners. Donations are still very useful and appreciated, but what the industry itself contributes in Maryland is very respectable. Additionally, we also pay for surgeries when necessary for any of our horses that need it and have a good prognosis.

8. Are there other programs you work closely with?

We work closely with all of our TAA facilities and TAA themselves.

9. If people want to help your program, what can they do?

There are two main things people can do to help our program. First, if you are an owner or a trainer, retire your horse while they are still sound and healthy. Sound horses are much easier and much less expensive to place, not to mention that it is the right thing to do. Second, people can donate money to the program at www.BeyondtheWire.org.