ReRun--a Thoroughbred adoption organization whose mission is to rehabilitate, retrain, and find adoptive homes for Thoroughbred racehorses when their careers on the track are over--has launched its "Transitioning off-the-track Thoroughbreds" project, made possible by a Rescuing Racers Initiative grant from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

According to Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund, the Rescuing Racers Initiative grant was awarded to those groups that have demonstrated a dedication to promoting equine rescue and welfare, and the ASPCA is proud to help them responsibly build their capacity and save more racehorses.

ReRun has spent 25 years helping retired racehorses avoid the possibility of slaughter and instead pursue second careers in new adoptive homes. But according to Christine Orman, PhD, ReRun's resource development director, finding well-matched homes for these horses has become harder than ever.

"The equine adoption market has changed dramatically in the past few years, primarily due to the economy, and this has put Thoroughbred ex-racehorses at a distinct disadvantage because they, unlike non-racing horses, need to go through a period of transitional training to unlearn being a racehorse and learn how to be a riding horse," she explained. "This takes time, energy, and often money, which today's potential adopters have much less of than in previous years. As a result, the onus falls on us to provide our horses with basic re-training, and that requires a level of commitment, consistency, and skill that hasn't been possible to achieve with our limited financial and human resources."

ReRun is using the funds from the ASPCA's Rescuing Racers grant to hire skilled equestrians with off-the-track Thoroughbred experience who can work intensively with the horses being cared for at ReRun's New Jersey and New York foster farms. Already, two retrainers have been hired: Crystal Young, who works with ReRun's horses in central New Jersey, and Brianna Ilardi, who is working with the New York Chapter's horses, in Fulton.

"The Transitioning program will make our horses more attractive to people who are in the market for buying a horse, which greatly improves their chances of adoption," said Jane Gilbert, President of ReRun. That not only helps the horses in ReRun's adoption program, but, as Gilbert points out, will help save the lives of other ex-racehorses. "If we can move our horses faster through the program--from intake to adoption into suitable homes--then more space and money is freed-up to serve more Thoroughbreds in need."

To learn more about ReRun, visit

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