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Rescue horse now heals female inmates

When Cannwyll was rescued by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), he was so thin his ribs showed like an equine xylophone. The gentle horse responded to his rescuers with love. Now he is giving female inmates at the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida, a chance to be rescued from whatever life setbacks led them to prison.

An anonymous tip sent a cruelty investigator to Cannwyll’s last race in March 2014. By the time the horse could be rescued, his weight had dipped to well below 900 pounds. In April 2015 he began recuperating, physically and emotionally, at Second Chance Farm.

Housed at the Lowell Correctional Institution, the farm schools female inmates in every aspect of horse care. They use that training to give retired racehorses a second career.

The fate of retired racehorses is not pretty. Two out of three of them are euthanized, abandoned or slaughtered. The ones that end up at Second Chance Farm are the lucky ones. A handful will live the remainder of their lives at the farm. Others are headed for adoption.

What happens between the women who care for them and the horses they train is healing on both sides. They are all throwaways, the horses because they no longer (or never did) earn money for their owners, the women because their mistakes have landed them in a place where their lives and identities are replaced by the label, “inmate”.

The women at Second Chance Farm give the horses in their care a chance to live out a normal life span. The horses give the women self-confidence, a sense of purpose and valuable job and life skills. That sounds like a good investment.


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