The TRF Blackburn 2020 Horse Show (10.20.2020)
Quick – look at your calendar! What do you have scheduled for 8pm (Eastern Time) on Tuesday, October 20th?
On Tuesday the 20th, I encourage you to settle in to you favorite seat, grab a drink, gather those around you (two or four legged) and settle in to watch a show that is guaranteed to give you a big dose of Hope, a healthy measure of Horses and an affirmation in your belief in the power of Second Chances. I’ve seen the ending, and (spoiler alert) you’re going to love it.
The backstory (1984 -2019)
In August 1984, a retired Thoroughbred racehorse named Promised Road stepped off a horse trailer at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, NY. His first hoof print was followed by thousands of retired racehorses who have found sanctuary in the care of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF).
From the very start, the TRF has taken horses into its herd and placed them in the unusual setting of Correctional Facilities where the horses find their new careers as teachers, teaching the incarcerated men (and women) in the TRF Second Chances Program the vocational skills that give them more viable career options after prison. At the same time, by simply “being horses”, these aging equine athletes teach lessons that serve their caretakers in countless ways as returning citizens in society: patience, empathy, trust, confidence, calm, responsibility and caring for a creature beyond themselves.
In 1999, the TRF Second Chances Program began at the Blackburn Correctional Complex (BCC) in Lexington, KY. Over the past twenty years, the horses in the herd at Blackburn have been changing the lives of the men who care for them. Every day, 365, the horses work their magic and the men of Blackburn learn and grow.
Last year, the TRF and the team at Blackburn pulled out all the stops to “open the gates” of the Blackburn Correctional Complex to the Lexington Community. The TRF Blackburn “20th Anniversary” Horse Show took place on a beautiful, sunny and crisp Fall day and an audience of more than 140 individuals came through the gates at Blackburn to witness a demonstration of how the TRF Second Chances Program accomplishes its motto “Saving Horses. Saving Lives.” Click here to enjoy a short video recap of last year’s celebration (credit: KY Corrections)
Welcoming the World to Blackburn (2020)
2020 has proven to be a challenging year. (Ha!) All of us have been flexing our resiliency, creativity and technology skills and together we’ve had to “recalibrate” on a continuous basis. Say what you will about the situation our world is facing, this year has taught us all to focus on our priorities and to find new ways to get things done.
The TRF has one simple priority: “To save Thoroughbred racehorses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter.” This is our mission. This is our purpose. And this is why we weren’t about to let the chaos of COVID-19 deter us from sharing the story of our horses and the life-changing work they do. Instead of accepting that few (if any) guests would be able to come to Blackburn for the Horse Show this year, we decided to take the Horse Show to the World. Literally.
We have a simple goal: that every human on earth with a connected device take a seat, take a deep breath, go online and just watch, listen and feel the Horse Show “unlike any other” via livestream on October 20th (8pm ET). There is no ticket to purchase, no RSVP to send. There’s simply an invitation to take a few minutes to tune in and open your heart and your mind to a story of Hope, Horses and Second Chances. Over the course of the Horse Show, yTRFou’ll meet the men of Blackburn, the horses they love and a number of amazing individuals who enable this program to happen and flourish. Your task is simple: Mark your Calendar. Prepare to be Amazed.
For more info about TRF and TRF Second Chances (visit www.trfinc.org)
About the TRF Second Chances Program: The TRF Second Chances Program is the nationally-acclaimed, flagship undertaking of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF). This program, first launched in 1984 at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, NY, places retired Thoroughbred racehorses from the TRF herd in the care of the inmates within seven correctional facilities across the US. Participating in a skills-oriented vocational training program, the offenders learn how to care for the aging equine athletes while gaining valuable life-skills that will equip them for success when they return to society. Since its launch in 1999, the TRF Second Chances Program at the Blackburn Correctional Complex has provided lifelong sanctuary to hundreds of retired Thoroughbred racehorses after their racing careers have ended, while instilling vocational and life-skills in hundreds of men seeking a Second Chance in society after completing their terms at Blackburn.
About TRF: Founded in 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is a national organization devoted to saving Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete at the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse, and slaughter. As the oldest Thoroughbred rescue in the country, the TRF provides sanctuary to retired Thoroughbreds throughout their lifetime.
Best known for its pioneering TRF Second Chances program, the organization provides incarcerated individuals with vocational training through its accredited equine care and stable management program. At seven correctional facilities across the country this program offers second careers to its horses and a second chance at life for inmates upon release from prison. The TRF Second Chances Program at Blackburn Correctional Complex provides a home for as many as 60 retired Thoroughbred racehorses. The Program Manager is Mr. Tim Moore, the Acting Warden is Abby Mcintire, and there are 11 men currently participating in the TRF Second Chances curriculum.
TRF cares for 500+ rescued and retired Thoroughbreds at Second Chances prison farms and Sanctuary Farms across the country. The organization is funded entirely by private donations. The TRF is accredited by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and has a Platinum rating with Guide Star.
For more information visit: http://www.trfinc.org/