Old Friends partners with New Vocations

Gameday News, retired at Old Friends for two years, is moving to New Vocations to be trained for a second career.

Gameday News, retired at Old Friends for two years, is moving to New Vocations to be trained for a second career.Old Friends and New Vocations announced last month a plan to partner together to find the best possible retirement options in both of their herds.

Old Friends, a retirement sanctuary for horses who will never be ridden again, and New Vocations, a re-training and re-homing organization geared to find racehorses second jobs, will work together to ensure that horses in their care get on the right path, according to directors of both horse charities.

By sharing responsibilities, the two organizations have enhanced their capacity to offer a retiring horse more options. If a horse admitted to New Vocations for re-training as a sport horse proves to be better suited for sanctuary retirement, that same horse, under the auspices of the new partnership, would now have the option to move to Old Friends to enjoy full retirement.

And, by contrast, if Old Friends gets a young retiree with the potential to become a sport horse, that animal now has the opportunity of folding in to the New Vocations training program.

Michael Blowen. Photo by Cathy Riccio /Lubrisyn

Michael Blowen. Photo by Cathy Riccio /Lubrisyn

As was the case for injured ex-racehorse Gameday News. Owned and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Gameday injured his ankle in an allowance race and was retired to Old Friends. After two years of care and paddock rest, a veterinary check revealed that Gameday was good to go for a new career.

So, Gameday was sent to New Vocations to begin working under saddle.

“It’s a clear case of doing what’s best for the athlete,” said Old Friends president Michael Blowen. “He’s a beautiful, energetic, kind horse who is adored by the staff and visitors. But he’s too young and healthy to be retired.”
He added that he is grateful to both New Vocations for accepting him into their program, and to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, which is helping to fund both charities, and to both for inspiring a new spirit of collaboration among charities.
Anna Ford, New Vocations program director, states the new partnership will foster more opportunity for retired racehorses.

8 responses to “Old Friends partners with New Vocations”

  1. cheri vaughan


  2. Susan J Syrowskiy

    I rescued a OTTB 3 years ago She has come a long way and Really trusts me. I Love Her Very Much but she is always be herself. She Loves to run. I don’t know if I am being selfish to keep her or give her to someplace where she will be more Happier with other horses. I had another OTTB that I gave to a rescue. He belonged
    to someone else and I was taking care of him till I couldn’t take care of him anymore. Now I see videos of him and he is Soo Happy in his New Home Just Need some advice Thank You

    1. Marcie Becker Freeman

      Susan – you request for advice was at the end of your email and may not be seen by those who might respond and help. If you go to the Readers’ Clubhouse section of this site and ask your question I’m sure you will get information and encouragement from other OTTB owners. Good luck.
      PS: I think that if you are giving love and good care, and your horse trusts you – she’s lucky.

  3. Michelle

    This is great news to hear that two wonderful organizations who are both so knowledgeable about these horses will now work together to benefit the horses even more so.

  4. Pk Training

    Retirement or Sport Horse? I wish more people would realize OTTBs have more options than choices A and B. Many of them that have injuries that prevent them from jumping can still make fine pleasure horses, therapeutic riding mounts, or drill team – just to name a few. The abilities of thoroughbreds are limitless. Ours are even ridden by kids and do trail course competitions.

  5. Susan Crane-Sundell

    A great partnership. This collaboration will help assure that a horse lands where he needs to be.Both of these organizations have the skills and support to assess each horse and determine the best environment possible. I hope that more organizations will develop collaborative programs to better serve our OTTBs.

  6. Sarah mills

    Love this!

  7. Maureta Ott

    This is the perfect marriage of resources for horses. By acknowledging yet one more aspect of how to best serve a newly off the track horse, I can see where even more horses can benefit by being donated to New Vocations.

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