Thoroughbred welfare has been a hot-button topic within the Thoroughbred industry for years, and with good reason: What happens to Thoroughbreds when their racing days are behind them or who, for whatever reason, never make it to the racetrack?
At Three Chimneys, our view on the topic is simple: we take care of our own.
We have had a protocol in place for years regarding our policy on this subject and we decided to make it public in 2011.
For years many people who have visited Three Chimneys, either in person or virtually through our website and social media pages, have learned that stallions that stand at Three Chimneys also retire here. Recent retirees have included inaugural Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Wild Again and world-renowned international sire, Rahy, both of whom lived here until the day they died. Even a horse like Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, who started his stallion career at Three Chimneys before being relocated to stand at stud in Japan, will be brought back to Three Chimneys to retire once his breeding days are behind him. The same holds true for our broodmares. When their mothering days are over, they retire here and are cared for the rest of their days.
As one of the most successful farms in the Thoroughbred industry, we've seen numerous horses pass through our gates over the years. Some horses we've bred and/or owned at some point during their career, some that we boarded and cared for on behalf of their owners, some that we consigned at public auction and some that were simply conceived at Three Chimneys as the product of a mating between one of our stallions and a client's mare. While our primary goal is for these horses to go on to be successful racehorses and possibly even breeding stock, we also have a long term goal of producing horses whose usefulness, health and vigor will extend far beyond the racetrack and into their post-racing lives as riding horses, show horses, therapy horses, law enforcement horses, or other equine vocations.
We work diligently to ensure that any horse that retires from racing as the property of Three Chimneys is placed in a suitable home with the best possible chance for a successful second career. Anyone we place one of our retired horses with must provide three references and must sign a contract agreeing to take responsibility for the long term welfare of the horse.
If a horse no longer owned by Three Chimneys, but that the farm did breed or own during any portion of its life is found to be in an at-risk situation, we will take care of or assist a Thoroughbred aftercare organization in getting it into a safe situation, no questions asked. We also keep an eye out for horses by our stallions - that we are not listed as the breeder for and have never owned - who end up in jeopardy and try to assist in any way possible to get them into safer circumstances.
We are profoundly thankful for equine advocates and the Thoroughbred aftercare organizations around the country, who assist us in learning about Three Chimneys-connected horses who, for whatever reason, end up in a less-than-ideal situation. It is because of these open lines of communication and the immediate sharing of information that email and social media provide that we are able to assist with more horses each year. We are also immensely appreciative to have the clients and customers that think like we do. People who step up and do the right thing when they are contacted about a horse they once owned needing assistance in some way.
If you come across a Three Chimneys-connected horse in an at-risk situation, or if you are the owner of a Three Chimneys-connected horse in their post-racing career and would be willing to share his or her story with us, please contact Jen Roytz at Jen@threechimneys.com.