The study of equine retirement has been an important issue to me ever since 1998, when I adopted my own ex-racehorse from ReRun, Inc., Blazing Basque. The unjust treatment of Thoroughbreds who are no longer capable of racing seemed to fit with neither the public image of the “sport of kings”, nor the amazing versatility and athletic potential of my own Thoroughbred. As the Tables in Chapter Three show, Thoroughbred racing is “big money” for the United States. This gives the public incentive to protect the racing industry and find ways to change the “one-way” flow of Thoroughbreds to a more sustainable system. Ex-racehorses have the potential to continue supporting the racing industry after retirement and should be given the chance to do so. Celebrity racers, such as Man o’ War and Secretariat have become money-making legends in the film and tourist industries. Not-so-famous ex-racehorses also have much to contribute in their second careers; their versatility and adaptability do much to promote the Thoroughbred breed. Millions of dollars are spent breeding, raising and training Thoroughbred horses. Even after racing, these horses are worth more alive than dead.
Two questions have emerged: why retired Thoroughbreds go to slaughter and what can be done about it. Chapter One will explore the third sector of the United States economy, nonprofit industries. It will explain the way nonprofits operate and work with for-profit businesses and the government to better the lives of those they serve. Chapter Two tackles the major obstacle nonprofits face: obtaining adequate funding. Chapter Three discusses the racing industry in the United States, its history, size and contribution to the economy. Chapter Three will also detail the niche that nonprofit organizations can fill to improve the lives of ex-racehorses and the racing industry. Chapter Four is an in-depth look at the evolution of horses, basic equine anatomy and psychology and proper care and management of horses. Chapter Five is a case study of ReRun, Inc., an organization that strives to find new homes for ex-racehorses. By the conclusion of this paper, it will be clear that nonprofit organizations, such as ReRun, Inc., have proven themselves to be instrumental for social change within the racing industry.