April 29, 2019 – Lexington, KY – New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program’s fourth annual Open Barn and BBQ event on Friday, April 26 was a resounding success. Held at New Vocations’ Lexington facility at Mereworth Farm, guests were welcomed to tour the facility and meet adoptable horses, listen to live music and enjoy dinner, with drinks graciously provided by Jackson Family Wines, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and West Sixth Brewery. After dinner, guests moved to the indoor arena, where they watched adoptable New Vocations horses in hand and under-saddle.
A panel that included Dr. Elizabeth Barrett of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Jen Roytz, Executive Director of the Retired Racehorse Project, and Nick Larkin, winner of the inaugural four-star Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and the inaugural Adelaide International Horse Trials Three Star spoke to nearly 500 attendees, covering everything from past injuries to bloodlines. Nick Larkin spoke on his experiences retraining Thoroughbreds and gave a mini clinic with four of the New Vocations horses, showing the crowd how he brings along his OTTBs and starts them over fences.
“We feel so lucky to have had such a great turnout; we had happy horses and the weather cleared up just in time for our event,” said Kentucky facility director and trainer Leandra Cooper. “Nick Larkin was fantastic, creating a fun and insightful atmosphere during the demos, and we couldn’t have hoped for a better performance than that which we got from the horses in the under-saddle portion.”
“This event continues to be a testimony of the growing popularity of the Thoroughbred within various equestrian disciplines,” said New Vocations’ Program Director Anna Ford. “We are very thankful for our sponsors who make it possible each year for us to open our doors to hundreds Thoroughbred lovers from all over the country who want to celebrate and learn more about this amazing breed.”
New for the event was a silent auction, with unique items and experiences ranging from autographed whips and a protective Tipperary vest to a safari and exclusive dining and bourbon-tasting options. In total, over $24,000 was raised for equine aftercare, allowing New Vocations to rehab, retrain and rehome retiring Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses.
Founded in 1992, New Vocations has grown into the largest racehorse adoption program in the country. Its mission to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome retired racehorses has led to the placement of over 7,000 individuals, with nearly 500 retirees entering the program each year. With facilities in Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and New York, New Vocations serves over 40 racetracks, working directly with owners and trainers in need of equine aftercare options. Newvocations.org