This week’s honoree: Thoroughbred Placement Resources.
Each Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization that is doing good work in the horse world. This week, we salute Thoroughbred Placement Resources.
This week’s honoree:
Dedicated to serving the off-track Thoroughbred, the Thoroughbred Placement Resources’ founder and executive director Kimberly Godwin Clark kindly answered our questions.
What is TPR’s mission statement?
Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc. exists to improve the lives of Thoroughbred racehorses. We successfully transition and retrain racehorses for other disciplines and use these techniques and philosophies to help others learn these skills. We strive to improve the reputation of the Thoroughbred by providing the correct information about this wonderful breed. Through placement, support, education and rescue, we strive to make a difference. We facilitate the retraining, placement and rescue of Thoroughbred racehorses, and depend on donations from both Thoroughbred horsemen and the public.
What inspired the creation of TPR?
I was an exercise rider, owner and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses for 30 years. I chose this work not because I loved racing, but because I loved being around horses. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be around horses and I do not come from horsemen. When I grew up, I found myself living on a farm in Monkton, Maryland and was lucky enough to find Ann Merryman while I was on the farm learning to gallop with John Bosley. Ann took me to the track and that is where I stayed.
I basically fell into the rehab/rehoming. I always helped horses, but at some point in 2006 I found myself with 5 horses to rehome and that was a lot. I put them on my web page which was designed to promote my race training. My phone rang for a week straight and I rehomed all the horses I had and started asking people at Bowie if they had any horses they wanted to rehome or sell. It just snowballed from there, eventually taking up all my time. My mare Cloud’s Honor (Graycie) was running great so I had income and time to do it. When it was time for Graycie to retire from racing, I had to decide if I wanted to give up the rehoming or make it real. I decided to go for the 501(c)(3) and hope for the best. That’s what spawned TPR and my work.
How does TPR facilitate rehoming?
Horses come primarily from Maryland tracks, but I do help horses in the Mid-Atlantic region. We take horses in, let them down and put some training on them, but we also do assisted placements where we take pictures, video, put them on the site and advertise them and then direct any inquiries to the owner or trainer.
What is your adoption/rehoming process?
You do need to be qualified to adopt through TPR to get one of our horses. We do a reference check, but we do believe most people are good; finding the unscrupulous is made difficult because they hide amongst the good people who just want a partner or friend. We have lots of contacts these days and when I get a good prospect I contact one of them and many times move it straight away.
I don’t have the resources to help every horse so I have my own triage. Basically, the budget speaks first. If there is money there to take a horse on, I will do it. If I have to choose, which is usually the case, I will choose a horse that I think will move quickly so the spot will open up for another. I like to take “training problems” because most of the time I find they are not caused by the horse but the human, and if I take the horse in, evaluate him/her and retrain it, I can get the horse on the right track, so to speak. I love to rehabilitate horses, like horses that need surgery or lay up time, but obviously that takes more funds than a sound perfect horse.
The horses we keep in our training program are horses I think might have upper-level potential. The hope is that they will represent their breed and cause people to seek out a retired racehorse for their next mount. Several worth mentioning are Rocky Times who competes at the 4* level with Katie Ruppel under the name of Houdini; Constant Star or “Star” who won the Breeders Bridge Contest for Grand Prix Jumping Potential that was held by John and Beezie Madden a couple years ago; and Mystical Harbor, “Fellow,” who in only his 4th recognized show finished 9th in the regional championships for dressage.
Any individual success stories you’d like to share?
So many, Houdini, Star and Fellow whom I’ve already mentioned, but to be honest the stories I love the most aren’t always the most exciting. What we did with That’s What I Mint still makes me teary-eyed.
A frantic call had been made to TPR making a plea for the life of two year old Thoroughbred filly, That’s What I Mint. In this case, we were able to say YES! We can help her. We received extraordinary support from donors and grants. Mint received a much-needed surgery from Spurlock Equine who donated their skills to repair a displaced slab fracture. Her rest and recovery time on one of our foster farms was made possible by funding received from The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
These days Mint is sound and sassy. She was moved to Leighton Farm to begin retraining and then, as in all great stories, there is a happy ending: she found her new forever home with the Cook family. We had Mint for a year, but it was wonderful and worth it.
Where does your funding come from? Where do your volunteers come from and what do they do?
Funding comes from adoption fees (especially the horses I’ve put training on,) grants from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Thoroughbred Charities of America, ASPCA, Equus Foundation, fundraisers we have and most importantly the donations we receive from individuals. Without them, we could not do this work. Our volunteers come from everywhere, but share the love for these horses. Since we launched our Hero Horses Program for wounded warriors, veterans, active service men and women and their families, we have found a new and extremely helpful kind of volunteer. Our American veterans are amazingly committed and we have a core element that makes things happen for these horses and TPR. They have incredible potential and are only too happy to apply it to our mission!
Any upcoming fundraisers or events you’d like to share?
This year is the year of our Hero Horses Program, and we are really focusing on getting it off the ground and moving! If you go to the Leighton Farm Calendar there are many events for this program. We are also offering clinics open to the public on how we handle, retrain and manage the horses that go through our program. The next one is on July 26.
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.