When the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation launched its annual hay drive to feed its herd of 900 retired racehorses, the country’s largest Thoroughbred charity was able to launch with a tremendous boost from a New York stud farm.
Gallagher’s Stud, a New York horse farm, and home to three-time stakes winner Inimitable Romanee, has donated a total of three tractor-trailers piled high with good-quality hay.
The donated hay was shipped to the The Second Chances program at the Wallkill Correctional Facility, where retired racehorses in the TRF herd are cared for by inmates in a partnership that provides valuable horsemanship training to inmates, who will one day return to society with the new skills the horses have taught them.
The program has long been admired by Gallagher’s Stud farm manager Mallory Mort. So, when the TRF’s hay drive coincided with an abundant crop, he and Gallagher’s Stud cofounder Marlene Brody quickly decided to donate the excess hay.
“I’d been reading about what they’ve been doing at Wallkill with the inmates, and it sounded like a really great program,” Mort says. “We had extra hay, so I went to Mrs. Brody, who has always been very supportive of the TRF, and suggested we donate.”
The 550-acre farm, which was founded in 1979 and which makes its own hay, has enjoyed bumper crops in recent years. And twice, the farm has shared its bounty with the TRF.
The donation from Gallagher’s Stud, combined with a $50,000 pledge from the Geoffrey Hughes Estate, has been tremendously helpful in the launch of the TRF’s seventh annual hay drive, which was kicked off earlier this month, says Diana Pikulski, the TRF’s vice president of external affairs.
“We’re starting off with a nice boost,” she says, noting that the goal of the drive is to raise enough funds to meet the 2015 hay cost, which is expected to exceed $220,000.
Herd Manager Sara Davenport notes that a Thoroughbred consumes approximately 22 pounds of hay everyday. “It’s one of our greatest annual expenses,” Davenport says. “And we’re so grateful for donations of any size during the hay drive.”
To learn more about the TRF’s annual Hay Drive or to contribute a “virtual” bale of hay, please call: (518) 226-0028, or visit: http://www.trfinc.org/trf-launches-seventh-annual-hay-drive-with-50000-pledge/.