Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Seems like yesterday....304 days and 15 horses later JHF Re3 Adoption & Therapy is a reality

It has been three hundred and four days since the trip to Pennsylvania to pick up the first two thoroughbreds off the track.  Three hundred and four days since retired race horses had a place in Surry County, NC where they could rehabilitate be retrained and rehomed. Ten months since the  logo and the name JHF Re3 made its debut.
Where has the time gone? I know it is cliché but it really does seem like yesterday. If I really look back, it was over a year ago when the planning started, but in my mind I wasn't getting my hopes up until the first two horses stepped onto JHF Re3 soil. When those horses stepped off the trailer, that is when this dream became a reality. There was no turning back, as if I ever would, after all this was what I have always wanted. I love this life and what I do. Make no mistake this passion is not for the faint of heart. Each and every horse I bring to the farm I treat as if they are my very own horse. Every horse that comes to this farm from the track deserves to have a Re3 in their life. From those who are not fast enough and never won a dime for their owners, to the War Horses with hundreds of thousands in winnings in their stat sheet, and every horse in between.
Needtogetpaid aka Money with War Horse status
They deserve to have that chance, to be a horse, to have another career, to have their very own human or family of humans to spoil them rotten. There is no greater joy than to see a horse that has come from the track, their home a stall except when being worked or handled, transform from a honed racing machine doing their job, racing and winning or losing as the case may be, to a beloved member of someone's family.

Please understand this is not an overnight transformation nor do I typically "Rescue horses from the track." I work with other non profit organizations or private individuals who are established, whose goal is to keep racing thoroughbreds from being disposable once their racing career is through. There is good and bad in every facet of the equine industry. Racing is no different. I am not here to debate the good the bad or ugly, my job is to "do something" to give back, to give hope. I do this by promoting a breed of horse that generally gets a bad rap in the equine world among some equine fanatics. To keep people from pigeon holing what these horses are capable of.  My job, no really it is my duty, to dispel the myth that thoroughbreds are crazy.  I tell people all the time, they are not crazy, they are just smarter than most humans. Like any other athlete these horses need time to decompress from race life. They are professional athletes on strict regimented schedules that serves to do one thing, make them the best in their field on race day. It takes time for these horses to adjust from the racing world. They have to relearn to be a just a horse. A life that gets paddock and pasture turn out, that involves socializing with other horses, even a life that doesn't involve a riding ring. These are major life changes to some of these horses. Some just need that time to realize they no longer have to go fast. Once they learn that then most are content to walk, trot and canter around and have the easy life.
Some thoroughbreds love the thrill of competition, others want to cruise around the woods. Those horses, the ones that live for the competition, are the ones that go on to make wonderful jumping, eventing, foxhunting, barrel racing, or whatever competition mounts. They are not insane or crazy, but they have their niche and as humans we need to identify with them.

I have been very blessed in this life I have chosen. Like all things this path is not without it's ups and downs. Even its heartache. The heartache is tough, I won't lie. You have to be able to make the tough choices, the best choices for the horse and not for you.   Not every horse is cookie cutter. People have to remember not every horse is going to rehabilitate the same. A big part of the rehabilitation lays within the heart and soul of the horse. If you give them time and you really pay attention, they will tell you what they are best suited for. Time and patience are key in this field. These animals are not commodities to me, nor will they ever be such. I believe in my heart this is why I gravitated more towards the non-profit side of this business. To help and make a difference. To give these horses a voice, to educate people. Not only to help the horses in need but to help the people as well.

For some people the greatest therapy is a horse. It doesn't have to involve even riding, but the brushing the caring for another living creature besides yourself. Horses have great power to touch the heart of humans. Horses have been used in quotes for centuries.... one of my favorites
A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.

There is no greater joy then matching a horse with it's new owner. Knowing that you have rehabilitated that horse to the best of your ability and placed it with a person that you have personally worked with so their new partnership can be at its best. I want to set these horses up for success, I want to set the people up for a successful partnership with these horses. There must be a connection, if there isn't, more often than not, it won't work. So far this year I have had the pleasure of rehoming 8 horses. Each horse wonderful in its own way. Every one loved by their new owners.  I still have other thoroughbreds in various stages of rehabilitation and retraining who will eventually go on to new careers.

Needtogetpaid aka Money with his
new owner Jake H.
If you ever wonder why it is that I chose this path, look at the picture to the right sent to me by Jake H. It is of him and Money, look at those faces. The duck face is pretty funny. Look how happy Money is. After 48 starts on the track, over 353,000 dollars in earnings, this war horse is getting to be this teenagers forever horse. The memories these two will make will last Jake a lifetime, and Money, well he gets a new lease on life. For Jake and Money and every other horse I have rehabbed, for every person and family I have helped find a new equine partner. That is why I do it. It is my path and it is my calling.

2014 has been a incredible year of Blessings for JHF Re3 Adoption & Therapy, for the horses, their new owners, and for me. 

For more information on our horses and our mission visit our website at

JHF Re3 Adoption & Therapy has applied for its 501(c) non-profit status. We hope in the future to not only rehabilitate horses for new careers and homes, but to also help people by using equine based psychotherapy.