Laura Holmes, the mastermind behind the dynamic Facebook page OTTB Connect, officially launched the 12th chapter of CANTER (Communications Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses) this week in Texas.
Citing the lack of a Thoroughbred sales listing service in that state, in which retiring ex-racehorses can be listed for sale, Holmes founded the new CANTER-Texas to serve racetracks in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, and will serve as executive director.
“We have volunteers who will take regular listings from those tracks, so we can help people find their horse, or sell their horse,” says Holmes, who notes that the new service will work collaboratively with Thoroughbred charities LOPE (LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racehorses), which recently discontinued taking Trainer Listings, and with and Remember Me Rescue.
“LOPE is focusing more on clinics, training and re-homing,” Holmes says, noting that CANTER-Texas’ main function will be to populate a database of available horses, which will also include Quarter Horse and Arabian breeds.
“Our goal is to work together with others in the horse world to help the horses,” she says, noting that LOPE and Remember Me Rescue have been supporting her effort.
Just out of the box, CANTER-Texas has already re-homed seven horses!
Beginning with the off-track Thoroughbred Into the Rush— who was the very first horse re-homed by CANTER-Texas, six others were rehomed immediately.
“We started listing last Saturday (March 15) at Sam Houston. We listed 11 horses, and we were able to home six of them right away. It was a huge rush. It was the last meet. We busted our butts to help these horses get homes through the listings,” she says, noting that a seventh horse found a “very, very nice place” in Kentucky.
Holmes decided to found a CANTER-Texas chapter after several years of overseeing her Facebook page OTTB Connect. Increasingly, Texas came onto her radar, with either needy horses in that state, or residents looking to buy or sell.
“There has been very positive feedback from trainers and buyers who are looking forward to owning an ex-racehorse,” Holmes adds. “We are very excited to be able to provide this program to the Texas racing industry and help find new careers for these talented and versatile horses.”
CANTER Texas is registered with the state, and is in the process of applying for its 501 c 3 status.
For more information on ex-racehorses, volunteer opportunities, or to make a donation, please visit CANTER Texas at: www.canterusa.org/texas.