Friday Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Equine Encore Foundation

Each week we recognize an organization that is doing good work in the horse world. Today we salute the Equine Encore Foundation.

Presented by:


Based in Tucson, Arizona, the Equine Encore Foundation is dedicated to the welfare of off-track racehorses. Its mission:

To provide a retirement home for racehorses (both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses) who are unable to pursue their racing careers because of age or injury. They serve the Racing Industry well but the time has come for them to hang up their racing plates and enjoy their golden years in the Arizona sunshine.”

The Equine Encore Foundation was founded in 2005 by Patti Shirley, a former Thoroughbred breeder and training who several years ago decided she wanted to give back to the horses that had given her so much. She turned her 120-acre facility into a retirement home for racehorses from Arizona and New Mexico tracks.


Melanie laCour, a HN reader who nominated the Foundation for a Standing Ovation, explains, “I have never met someone more┬ádedicated to the well-being of retired racehorses… I met Patti when I was a grad student at the UofA. She has roughly 70 head on her ranch outside Tucson, all retired Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racehorses. She provides these animals forever homes and works tirelessly to make sure they live out their lives in happiness and leisure. Always positive and full of more energy than a 16-year-old cheerleader, Patti can tell you the names and extensive race history of every single horse, past and present, at her place. Although most of her horses are permanent residents, she will adopt out the sound retirees to good homes. I was lucky enough to take one of hers, a 7-year-old chestnut Thoroughbred gelding named Call me Honcho. He now lives with me in North Dakota.”

An interview with Patti by Bridget Grobosky, shared with credit to the Arizona Sonora News Service:

Naturally, giving several dozen ex-racers a “forever home” is both a physical and financial challenge. Want to help?

As with all rescue operations, the major challenge is funding. We receive support from the industry with our major supporters being CARMA, Thoroughbred Charities of America, Second Call of Turf Paradise in Phoenix, AZ, The Arizona Racing Commission, the Arizona Quarter Racing Association and the Pima County Horsemen’s Association. Support also comes from grateful racehorse owners and fans of the sport. We are working to establish a ‘social security’ system for all racehorses through the racetracks but this is a difficult task. We are hopeful that horse lovers in general and racehorse lovers specifically will help us with their tax-deductible donations.”

We applaud the Equine Encore Foundation for the great work they do and encourage Horse Nation readers to visit their website and Facebook page to learn more.

Go Riding!

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.


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