Prisoners and retired racehorses give each other hope for a better future
Prisoners and ageing horses have more in common than one might initially think, it seems. Once a racehorse is too old to compete, they are often sent to slaughter or left without a caring home. Men who turned to crime, now labelled as criminals, can also be cast aside and left without a future. Now, these two groups of outcasts have turned out to be an unexpectedly perfect match.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation saw this opportunity for mutual support and created Second Chances Farm, a rehabilitation program that pairs incarcerated men with horses who would otherwise have no one to care for them. These men learn to take care of the retired horses, which helps them learn skills that will be applicable upon their release.
One program member Albert Healey remembers the path that lead him down the road of crime, "I got laid off and my wife and I split up.”
This unfortunate circumstance ultimately lead him to the rewarding experience of Second Chances Farm, “They listen to me when other people don’t.”
The positive effect of the program is rapidly spreading throughout the US, as 13 states now have opportunities in place for prisoners to interact with horses, cats, and dogs who need loving homes. Research expects that this compassionate interaction can aid in the future prevention of reoccurring crimes.
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