Taking a giant leap forward in their effort to help racehorses retiring from the track, CANTER Kentucky announced this week that it has obtained a barn in Georgetown to house some of the Thoroughbreds in its program.
After three years of careful planning, the all-volunteer horse-welfare organization secured an Amish-built six-stall barn, which features extra large stall space, an office, and a wash stall, says Amanda Graham, executive director.
The acquisition of the barn will enable CANTER Kentucky, which previously relied entirely on foster barns, to take in more horses this year, she adds.
“We are so excited,” says CANTER Kentucky director Amanda Graham. “This barn will have a huge impact on what we’re able to do.”
A lease was signed on February 1, and two horses were moved in immediately. Multiple Stakes Placed Diamond in the Funk, a 5-year-old filly joins 8-year-old Ockman, who had been wait listed, as the first two residents. And Graham and other volunteers are working with diligently to fill the barn with deserving horses.
Daily care will be provided by trainer Stephanie Calendrillo, who will retrain the horses, and do morning turnout, and by a dedicated volunteer, who is also a vet tech, Graham says.
“We saw a big need for our own barn. In 2013 we listed over 100 horses, and found homes for 80 percent of them. And the remaining 20 percent are either still listed or returned to their owners,” she says. “More and more owners have been asking if we can take their horses along with a donation.”
In addition to the acquisition of the barn has come an outpouring of generosity. Tractor Supply Co., of Georgetown, donated buckets, muck buckets and other necessities, and the public, in response to a request on Facebook, has stepped up to offer used tack, including bridles, halters, saddles and blankets.
Noting that her organization depends on charitable donations, Graham cited Turfway Park and its Turfway Park Aftercare Program as being among CANTER Kentucky’s most generous donors.
“For being the little guy in Kentucky, they’re support of us is huge,” she says.
Noting that the barn lease was sought after years of careful planning, Graham says the barn’s size is perfect: it ensures a limited number of horses will be taken in, and thus guards against rapid expansion.