Editorial Thoughts


Michele Pesula Kuegler is the founder of PeKu Publications and chief foodie at Think Tasty. She runs this one-woman show focusing on creating new recipes to delight her family, friends, and herself.

Making Aftercare a Club Effort

by Michele Pesula Kuegler on September 9th, 2019

The most exciting two minutes in sports.

If I were to ask most people what they know about horse racing, that would be what they would reference. Horse racing is the Kentucky Derby. That would have been the answer I gave about fifteen years ago. Since then I’ve learned about racing, specifically Thoroughbred, at almost all of its levels. From the $5k claimers to the G1 races, there’s a lot to love about horse racing.

Yet, there’s even more to this sport. Like a human athlete, there is a timespan in which most horses run. Sure, there are a few Tom Bradys who run successfully until they’re nine or ten, but for others retirement comes at a younger age. Even for those “old” horses, there still is retirement in the future. This doesn’t get talked about all that often. What do horses do after their racing days end?

Many horses, like ours at Wasabi Ventures Stables, enter an off track thoroughbred (OTTB) program. Here, each horse is evaluated for soundness, mindset, and more to determine what he or she needs. There are a number of options for these horses. Some may learn a new sport, such as barrel racing, jumping, or becoming a polo pony. Others may transition to more of a pet status and be used for trail rides. Some also just need quiet and live on a sanctuary.

When our horses are done with their racing careers, WVS works with the local retirement program to assess and rehome the horse. As part of the process, WVS makes a donation to help with the costs of the horse’s transition.

In my role as Community Evangelist at WVS, I have learned what a caring, committed club we have. This level of engagement plus my love of animals are what inspired me to create and build my role as Director of Aftercare. In this role not only will I ensure that our horses are placed in safe, new homes, I also want to involve our club in supporting this mission.

Last week I launched this new initiative to raise additional funds for accredited thoroughbred retirement programs with which we work. There will be several options, including donations and product sales. You can learn more by reading this article.

What I’m hoping is that our community rallies around these efforts. I’ve found our club to be generous and supportive of both horse racing and retirement. Although I already know how amazing our club is, I think this aftercare effort could make our club one of a kind. In all the research I’ve done (and I may have missed something), I haven’t found another that supports aftercare in the way I envision that we will.

Here’s to providing safe retirements for all horses!


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