Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflections on Six Months of Following a Dream

Worchester entered retirement to CERF in November

As 2009 comes to a close, and a decade filled with impossible tragedy, economic collapse and catastrophic events draws to an end I am reminded that there is still hope and possibility.

How can I make a statement like that? Because after losing two jobs in as many years, I decided to follow my bliss, and start The Second Race which endeavors to use the administrative, marketing and managerial skills that I have developed over the past 20 years, and use them to run the rescue/retirement of race horses like a business. I do my best each day to make business decisions, not emotional ones with respect to the horses. I work to be their advocate and have developed a 10 year business plan on their behalf. In a short 6 months; our Facebook page alone has over 4,000 members. Many of those facebook "friends" have contributed to the placement or have adopted a horse offered through The Second Race. We have also helped groups outside of my own via Facebook, and raised $ 1500 as my birthday wish, for the Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue (SCTR). In turn this past week, SCTR purchased two ex-race horses from a local auction lot, sparing the lives of two more horses that others deemed "throw away".

Ocean Chief, being loaded up to his new home in October.

Horses have become the silent victims of this economy. Racing has let down the very athletes that millions of dollars are wagered on each day. Breeders have suffered, and in turn broodmares; no longer of use, due to declining inventories are cast aside like three day old bread. Many race horse owners have fallen out of love with owning expensive horses, and the cost of their hobby has meant that a non performing horse, finds itself quickly in peril.

Runamuq at his new home in September, receiving the first of several equine massages, donated through the networking of Facebook.

Through the networking efforts of many, The Second Race has been able to facilitate the adoption/transfer of 30 race horses into new homes or careers since it's inception in June.
We are currently networking on behalf of 13 more, and have helped to raise the bail monies for 2 ex-race horses in WA state, that were saved from a feedlot and 1 ex-race horse in NJ.

I am proud of this accomplishment and that I took a leap of faith, when many would think it ill advised. It requires a lot of hard work behind the scenes to find a home for a horse. Posting pictures on the Internet, marketing the horse, calling upon mentors for advice, screening applicants, verifying references, arranging transportation, asking for discounted services, relying on fosters, and at times asking the very owners who no longer want their horse to castrate their charge, or pay for the transportation itself. Because we do not have our non profit status, money spent is in most cases out of pocket. Several opportunities await us in the new year when our 501 (c) 3 status is granted--(donations, services at a discount, matching funds programs through employers, lease opportunities to name a few).

I have learned that people are generally good and want to help, I see this every day. For every bad situation (and there are many) that I read about or experience each day, there is a story of inspiration and hope. So many, do so much, with so little, that they inspire me to be a better person. To be able to contribute more and to push myself to dream bigger dreams, when it would be easy to abandon them altogether.

But when you follow your bliss, and you see the fruit of your passion you just can't stop. When you look into the brown, soulful eyes of a horse that relies on you for it's literal next meal, and when you see the happiness of another upon receipt of their new friend. Well words escape you, sleepless nights don't matter, and hours spent evaporate when you hear "the horse far exceeded my expectations".

2010 will bring more stories, more worry and more importantly more horses needing homes. I am happy that I have carved out a "niche" working directly with horsemen, racetracks, lay up farms and owners. I hope that in the short time of our existence as a business; we have saved some horses from going to groups like SCTR and others.

I hope that The Second Race in the new year, will provide a voice for the voiceless, and bring a synergy that does not exist to a bigger stage for those that toil each day on behalf of the race horses in the US and internationally. I truly believe that as we harness technology, using social networking and our modern vocabulary of Twitter and blogging, and as we rethink how to support each other instead of dividing, we will start a real change in this sport, and industry.

The Second Race is poised to take on the challenge, I personally can't wait!


  1. Thank you Nan, for the compliment. A dream in action is a marvelous thing. I appreciate the support and your interest!

  2. Wonderful to read this Sharla. It is so heartening to read how the Horses are getting the benefits of your life changes :)) Wonderful that you were able to see a way to make this a business too. Wish I had great business skills, am more of a clinical practitioner and am having to educate my newly acquired business brain cells LOL
    Am on a similar path of making a new way forward helping Animals and the people who rescue them.
    Pleased to have met you through facebook, keep up the fantastic work, love what you do so much, admire your spirit and love for the Horses xx

  3. Thank you Kryssie! We all have our gifts and talents, as long as we are good stewards of them, we can't miss! I wish you well in your endeavors. Thank you for the lovely compliments.

  4. As I was looking over the list of who all had been adopted out via The Second Race this year, I stopped and realized just how many of these wonderful horses had new homes and careers due to your efforts. While the road has been long, the payoff thus far has been worth it.

    Thank you for all that you do for these retired racehorses!

  5. Please email me to let me know where I can send some money to you in the new year to give you a hand.

    Thank you for all you do!

    Michelle Stein
    Wichita Kansas


TBA Blog Roll


Search This Blog