Giving Back

Old Friends Retired Thoroughbred Horses Sanctuary horse

 

Ron Lyons will donate a portion of the proceeds from every print sold to the "Old Friends Thoroughbred Sanctuary." Old Friends is where former celebrated racehorses whose racing and breeding careers are behind them can live out their lives in a dignified way. Equine luminaries like Game On Dude, Silver Charm, Rapid Redux, War Emblem, and so many more have a forever home at one of the two Old Friends locations. Old Friends is an incredible enterprise that’s done a world of good for the horses it cares for.  (https://www.oldfriendsequine.org)

In a little more than a decade Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, has put a new face on the concept of equine aftercare.  Founded in 2003 by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen, the organization has grown from a leased paddock and one horse to a 236-acre farm, a herd of over 200 rescued and retired horses, and a satellite facility: Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center, NY (Click here to learn more about Cabin Creek).

Blowen had long believed that horses past their prime could still be valuable – money-earning, even—if the venue was right. And so Old Friends tested the concept by opening its doors to the public, inviting fans to revisit their turf heroes.  Now a “living-history museum of horse racing”, the farm attracts nearly 20,000 visitors annually who come to swoon over such American Grade 1 winners as Breeders’ Cup Champions Amazombie, Little Mike and Alphabet Soup, Belmont Stakes winners Sarava and Touch Gold,  and three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude. The farm is also home to Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion Silver Charm repatriated from stud duties overseas.

And while such rock stars draw crowds, the revenue they raise supports hard-knockers like Swan’s Way, whose resume boast 81 starts and only eight wins, Easy Grades, a one-time Kentucky Derby contender who ended up struggling in 5K claimers at the age of nine and Mikethespike who toiled for 10 years and made 125 starts before injuries ended his career.  But every horse at Old Friends has a story to tell, and visitors to the farms can hear them all. The farm is open to the public daily for guided walking tours.

In 2014 Old Friends was rewarded with a Special Eclipse Award honoring extraordinary service in the sport of Thoroughbred racing. But perhaps the greatest reward of all has been respect and support of the owners, trainers, and fans who not only donate to the cause of protecting these amazing athletes but come out to the farm often and visit with all of their old friends.

Our guests come to visit a few ex-racehorses, but they often leave having been touched by the heart of a Thoroughbred hero.