CANTER Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)3 charity that works to help place racehorses in new, long-term homes when they are done racing. CANTER operates in two ways – the first is with the “track listing” program. The track listings are free classifieds that we provide to owners and trainers of racehorses who want to find them new homes and careers. Every weekend our volunteers go to area racetracks, armed with cameras and notebooks, to gather information and take photos of these horses, who are then posted on the internet for sale. This program is responsible for finding thousands (if not over ten thousand) of racehorses new homes in the Mid-Atlantic area. Horses from our trainer listings have found homes all over the country – as far away as California and Colorada, and have succeeded at all levels of sport (one CANTER Mid-Atlantic trainer listing competed at the Rolex Three Day event in 2010).
The second way in which our program operates is to actually run a horse retraining and rehoming program. As space and funds allow, we accept horses donated by their race owners, provide them with the time off that they need, and move them into retraining. Training is the best protection a horse can have – it makes them valuable and wanted, and helps them find good, long-term homes. When we can, we partner with area professionals to help give our horses a solid foundation for their new, non-racing careers.
This blog started as a chronicle of the adventures of “Calabria Rose,” an adorable little filly that came to us from Charles Town Racetrack
in West Virginia. As part of our organization’s mission of rehoming ex-racehorses, our director started these blogs to show people what is involved in getting horses into new homes, and also to highlight common training/riding issues that people might have with “OTTBs” as they develop them into riding partners. While we have several blogs, this one also focuses on issues that might commonly be seen by the amateur rider, as I myself am an amateur. I have a full time desk job, and little extra time and money for lots of lessons and competition. What I’ve learned throughout this experience is that it’s not necessarily skill that will make you successful with an ex racehorse (though a certain amount of skill is definitely necessary!) ; rather, it’s a sense of humor and humility. Knowing when to ask for help, knowing when to just get off and call it a day, and knowing when to laugh and just keep on trucking are the major necessary skills.
Since Rosey has long since found a home (in September of ’09), this blog has morphed to include training updates on other horses in the program, updates on new horses coming in, and entries about my general experiences as a volunteer (which includes everything from applying fly spray in 110 degree heat, checking out potential donation horses, visiting the track to take listings, riding horses, fundraising, and various other organizational things that – I admit – are not my strong point. Sometimes it also includes talking to press types, which I hate, and also travelling to things like the Jockey Club Safety and Welfare summit in Kentucky, or accompanying our fearless leader when she testifies in front of Congress).
So, with that – Welcome! Take a poke around!