ASPCA Grants $185,000 to Equine Rescue Groups to Help Retired Racehorses

ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative has granted over $2 million to protect former racehorses from being sent to slaughter
November 29, 2017

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced it has granted $185,000 to ten equine rescue groups to assist their efforts to rescue and rehabilitate retired racehorses. The grants were awarded as part of the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative, a major grants program launched in 2010 that provides funding for equine rescues and sanctuaries that protect retired racers by offering alternatives to horse slaughter. Now in its eighth year, the program has awarded over $2 million to prepare retired racers for life after their racing careers come to an end.

“The ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative provides much-needed grant funding to the many equine rescue groups around the country that provide critical resources to former racehorses, offering them medical rehabilitation and re-training to prevent them from being sent to slaughter,” said Matt Stern, senior director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Operations. “While their racing careers may have ended, these retirees still have much to offer as they transition into new homes, a process that requires significant time and resources.”

Selected recipients include a wide range of equine rescues, each being awarded a grant ranging from $10,000–$36,000 to help increase their capacity for rescuing more horses. Recipients of the 2017 ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative include:

  • CANTER/National
  • CANTER, Mich.
  • Friends of Ferdinand, Ind.
  • Kentucky Equine Humane Center Inc., Ky.
  • MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, Inc., Md.
  • New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, Ky. and OH
  • Old Friends Inc., Ky.
  • ReRun Inc., N.Y.
  • The Exceller Fund Inc., Ky.
  • Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Ky.

In addition to providing assistance to help retired racehorses, the ASPCA is also working to improve conditions for horses currently racing by supporting the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651). This bill would create an independent, non-governmental body to establish, test for, and enforce racehorse doping standards. It would protect equine athletes by encouraging consistent enforcement of doping regulations across state lines, and prohibiting the use of pain-relieving and performance-enhancing medications 24 hours before a race. These drugs are often used to mask underlying health issues in horses, allowing them to over-exert and injure themselves.

Horses have been central to the ASPCA mission since the organization’s founding over 150 years ago. The ASPCA’s Equine Welfare department focuses on ensuring equines nationwide have good welfare by working collaboratively with stakeholders in both the rescue community and equine industries to help at-risk horses safely transition to new careers and homes, increasing safety net support for horse owners so they have adequate access to resources in times of need, and enhancing anti-cruelty efforts.

The ASPCA’s work to further equine protection also includes supporting humane legislation, public advocacy, rescue and targeted grants. In 2016, the ASPCA Equine Fund awarded over $1 million in grants to support 171 equine groups across the country. The grant money supported several areas of equine welfare including large-scale rehabilitation, emergency relief grants, safety net programs, and the annual ASPCA Help a Horse Day grants competition.

To learn more about the ASPCA, please visit