Each year thousands of Thoroughbred racehorses are in training to be champions. But sadly, not every single one is a Fusaichi Pegasus or a War Emblem. While these winners are pretty much guaranteed homes for life at fancy stud farms, other horses have uncertain futures.
|Shamtrak & Claire|
What happens to horses that are too slow, or ones that have sustained injuries during their careers? Lucky horses end up in private homes, but many end up at the slaughterhouse. What a waste. Many of these Thoroughbreds are suitable for pleasure or competition mounts.
Thank goodness for Jo Anne Normile. Jo Anne, who lives in Michigan, had a racehorse, and after he retired he became an eventer. Trainers saw how good he was at his new job, and they asked Jo Anne to find buyers for their retiring racehorses. So Jo Anne founded CANTER, a non-profit group that offers a free service, connecting racehorse owners and trainers with people who want to buy Thoroughbreds at reasonable prices.
|I'm Classic & Christine|
Today, CANTER volunteers help find homes for racehorses from Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois. Check out the horses for sale on CANTER’s website. The site posts descriptions (and sometimes photos) of the horses for sale by trainers, and new horses pop up every day. The site gives you loads of information about buying a Thoroughbred off the track, and gives you advice about viewing a horse, vetting a horse and then transporting your purchase home.
It also gives you training tips, because an extra-fit racehorse sometimes needs special handling before he starts his new job as a pleasure horse.
Let’s meet a few young riders who bought horses with help from CANTER.
|John's Breeze & Annaliese|
I’m Classic & Christine
YR reader Christine Machin, Ann Arbor, MI, found out about CANTER from her instructor Jennifer and her mom. She got to ride Classic before buying him. She thought he had a very bouncy trot, but his canter was like a rocking horse.
She’s owned Classic for about a year. When she first got him he wanted to run fast and had tons of energy. Her mom lunged him a lot and Christine rode him every day.
Now she’s starting to event Classic, and she says that he loves to jump. Their favorite part of eventing is going cross country! Christine tells us that Classic is sweet and loves to snuggle!
Shamtrak & Claire
Shamtrak (now named Triple Rhythm or Jiggy) had only been off the track one day when Claire Tyner saw him at his foster home. Even though she looked at several other horses that day, she was drawn to Jiggy so she handed over $800 and took him home. Claire says 5-year-old Jiggy needed lots of retraining, because all he knew how to do was gallop. But the 15.3hh gelding is eager to please and the pair are now doing eventing competitions.
John’s Breeze & Annaliese
John’s Breeze had only been off the track for four weeks when Annaliese Foote, Haslett, MI, went to try him out. She liked him right away so she bought him with money she had saved. Today she’s training him to do dressage, and she plans to take him eventing this year. Annaliese says Johnny loves people and is a quick learner.