Rob Hinkle, president and CEO of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Oct. 27, issued an urgent plea to horse lovers and farm owners throughout the United States to participate in the Foster Care program.
Under that program, a pasture-sound horse presently residing at one of TRF's 30 satellite farms will be moved to a nearby foster farm for board and daily care. TRF will reimburse the farm monthly for vet and farrier services, if requested. TRF is seeking 100 farms to take between two and five horses for a minimum commitment of one year.
"The Foster Care plea is an emergency measure to help TRF meet the mounting costs of caring for our herd," said Hinkle in a release. "Like thousands of other non-profit organizations throughout the country, TRF has been adversely affected by the downturn in the economy. Drought and flood conditions have contributed to the rising costs and shortages of hay and feed, and we are coming into winter."
For these and other reasons, Hinkle said TRF needs both to increase donations and to reduce herd costs by immediately placing as many as 200 to 300 horses in foster care.
"TRF has saved thousands of Thoroughbreds from neglect and slaughter over the last 30 years, and currently supports and cares for more than 1,100 retired racehorses at 30 satellite farms, including nine of its showcase correctional facility farm programs,” said Hinkle. “Simultaneous with TRF’s implementing its Foster Care program, TRF is accelerating its adoption efforts to reduce its herd size.”
Hinkle further stated that “TRF's charter and mission statement do not permit the TRF to euthanize horses for purely financial reasons, and farm visits, vet reports, and TRF data indicated the condition of the herd is very good, even among the older horses.”
Hinkle and his small staff of five employees will be calling farm owners throughout the country, asking for their help in this period of crisis.
In addition, they will be contacting operators of other well-known rescue operations from which they have received horses. Currently the TRF has 80 horses from other rescue organizations.
In closing, Hinkle said: "If anyone can help, please contact me at (859) 246-3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.” For more information, please click here for the Foster A Horse section of the TRF website.