As we posted earlier this year, LOPE is focusing more on horsemanship and education this year.
LOPE has been helping Texas ex-racehorses transition into new homes since 2003. As we look back on our history, we have come to realize that the biggest challenge in helping at-risk racehorses isn’t what we originally thought. Our working premise in the past has been that if we could just take in more horses and adopt them to loving homes, then the problem would be solved.
We used to assume that everything would fall into place if we had a bigger ranch (to hold more horses), a large endowment (so we could afford to feed more horses) or a greater number of volunteers (to care for more horses). But sadly, over the years there have been several examples of horse charities with many more horses and much larger fundraising revenue that have failed.
One day we sat down and really thought about the realities of the horse market — and saw that there was a huge education gap about ex-racehorses in the equestrian community. Many myths and negative stereotypes still dominate the horse world about the nature of ex-racehorses and their training potential.
Until ex-racehorses are truly seen as desirable after their track careers are over, they will always be at-risk. At LOPE, we love the ex-racehorses — and think they are tremendously rewarding to work with as athletes, riding partners and teachers. We’d like more people to share our passion for these horses — and also encourage them to share our journey in learning from the ex-racehorses.
We are pleased to announce an exciting new education initiative at LOPE. We will be selecting one or two special LOPE horses to receive assessment, training and schooling show experience with a professional trainer in a suitable discipline (hunter/jumper, dressage, eventing or ranch versatility, depending on the horse’s talent and aptitude). LOPE will be chronicling their training experiences and ongoing progress on our blog and social media sites.
Adoption will take place after the preliminary training is complete — so that the horse will be properly prepared and more fully educated to begin a new career. A full vet exam will be made available to prospective adopters (who can of course also do their own pre-purchase exams). And a rebate for a percentage of the adoption fee will be available if the adopter rides in certain clinics or schooling shows within one year of adoption.
LOPE has begun to line up sponsors for each horse, quality trainers who would be willing to provide partial discounts of their fees, photographers/video folks to help record the training process and tack/equipment donors. If you would like to be part of LOPE’s new training program in one of these roles, please contact Lynn.
We have already selected the first horse for the training program and will make an announcement shortly about this outstanding Texas-bred prospect from a quality breeder and racing operation. Stay tuned for more details (but here are a few hints: tall, sound, young, bay and flashy with a big blaze)...