Clubhouse Q&A

A forum for discussing all the important things about Thoroughbreds, from fashion to equipment, recipes for you or your horse, and any innovation to help promote the breed.

Officer Shane Clarke of the Virginia Department of Corrections plays an integral role in the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's racehorse/prisoner program Second Chances. Pictured with one of his favorite ex-racehorses, Toasty.

Va. officer helps inmates heal with horses

Officer Shane Clarke of Virginia’s James River Work Center never gets tired of hearing the voices of paroled inmates who call him on the barn phone; the very barn that was at once a humble home for horses and a kind of schoolroom, where those dispossessed learned to pick hooves, feed and interact with 1,200 pound animals who in turn helped them find their way. “I’d say that when I hear from guys who’ve gotten out of prison and are doing well, that’s about the greatest part of my job,” says Clarke, an officer with James River Work Center for […]

Diana Pikulski has been a champion for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and its horses for decades.

Pikulski: All horses matter, deserve happiness

Diana Pikulski’s unwavering commitment to 825 ex-racehorses in the care of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is, in part, an extension of her core belief in the sanctity of animal life, a powerful feeling dating back to childhood and a memory of lamb slaughter. She was 12 years old when she and her family visited a farm to buy ducks, and she unexpectedly saw lambs being slaughtered. Decades later, she vividly recalls the scene that changed her life. “I became a vegetarian after that, because once I made the connection between what I saw that day and the food on my plate, I said, this is not food for me,” […]

Anne Tucker, 73, grooms a horse with boarder Norman King, a former inmate and graduate of the TRF’s prisoner/racehorse program Second Chances. Photo by Linda Passaretti

Woman, 73, opens farm to ex-cons; 2nd chance

A 73-year-old Virginia woman who boasts a connection to Kentucky Derby winner Day Star, is doing something absolutely stellar with her modest horse farm. For the last bunch of years, Anne Tucker has taken “a big leap of faith” and welcomed former inmates to her farm, providing a roof over their heads, rent free, and a path to transition from prison to society. “At first, my family was not as enthusiastic about the idea as I was,” Tucker says. “My husband had some reservations and my daughter did too. But in 2009, I welcomed Tamio Holmes to come live on the […]