To keep up with demand for well-trained Thoroughbreds migrating from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF, Inc.) fields into the hands of veterans, mounted police units, and riders, a California-based trainer has expanded her facility and capacity to train OTTBs.
The need for more space has grown out of the demand on Baker for the services of a herd of wonderfully talented TRF horses, says Julie Baker of Healing Arenas, Inc.
Chuckling over the famous line from the movie Jaws, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Baker admits that like the courageous fishermen in the film, her farm needed to cast its net to obtain a bigger, better retraining facility.
Earlier this week, she announced a plan to expand into the Hannink Equine Center of Modesto, Calif., a move providing a Grand Prix arena for working on jumping, and flying lead changes, and a secondary arena for horse therapy services serving veterans and special needs clients.
“That quote from the Jaws movie is very appropriate,” says Baker says. “We’ve been limited in our other facility with what we can do. I was complaining that we needed a bigger facility one day at a local tack shop, and was immediately put in touch with Jen Hannink. She’s an A Circuit hunter/jumper with a major show barn in southern California. I met with her and she offered us an unbelievable deal, and she’s also very excited to have us there in the northern Modesto facility.”
Under the umbrella of her nonprofit charity Healing Arenas, Baker has trained OTTBs to be therapy horses for veterans and special needs clients, and has also retrained OTTBs for work on police mounted units. Two recent ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds from the TRF, Jimmy Diesel and Get Out Happy, have become integral to the
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department in California, and more police sergeants are lining up looking for Thoroughbreds just like them, she says. (Please see earlier story here: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2016/08/03/calif-cops-lining-up-to-buy-ottbs-calm-partners/).
The bigger facility, which boasts extra acreage, paddocks and two great training arenas, will offer the ideal setting to train retired racehorses for their next career, she says.
“I’ve got a TRF horse now named Roux Be Wild, by Wild Rush. He’s a 15-year-old gelding who we’re training to jump. We’ve had him in parades, used him for therapy, and have qualified him for the mounted unit,” she says. “He’s an amazing horse, and he does just about everything. Our goal is to help with the retired racehorses so we can train more like him.”