Global Animal, Niles Jeran
A bell sounds, the gates flare open, and thoroughbred horses leap into action. Crowds scream and cheer, shaking small white stubs in their tightened fists as they yell “RUN!”
But do the crowds really see the horse, their champion, as a being that can feel and suffer? Sadly, for most, the answer is no. Nor are they probably aware that two of every three horses that retire each year are euthanized, abandoned, or slaughtered.
But that’s beginning to change thanks to Training Racehorses Off-The-Track (TROTT), a program started last year that takes in retired horses and trains them to live outside the racing industry.
“The mission of TROTT is to be a resource for the racing industry and be there for horses that are at risk,” said volunteer Susan Armenti. “We offer these thoroughbred racehorses a chance to be evaluated, receive vet care and time-off at our wonderful facilities. And most importantly, training so they can transition into another career. We can help more horses if more people get involved.”
After going through extensive rehabilitation, the horses are often adopted by young, ambitious riders, who are commonly young girls, providing the racehorse with a loving environment. Horses who are injured, but pasture sound, can be placed in a retirement home with grassy pastures and a herd to live with. Ones who aren’t pasture sound are placed as companions with other horses.
TROTT has started in California, but efforts are being made to expand nationwide. To donate or volunteer, visit their website.