Track to Trail Thoroughbreds

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Love racing, hate racing, or are you stuck in the middle?

Racehorses in the news.

We have all seen the tragedies and triumphs of all that is racing. The fact is whether you love racing, hate racing, or fall somewhere in between we have real ex racehorses here, that you can help, now. Its easy to have a disconnect to racing. Most of what the average person sees is on TV or social media. If you are part of the betting public and your horse wins, or wins big, that is such a great feeling. Just watching them run, is pretty spectacular. The parties, the social aspect, it is a huge spectator sport.

On the other hand, it is a spectator sport that involves more than a person. In all sports, athletes get injured, and is part of the risk, but how much risk is acceptable? If you learn about the injures and deaths, see the horses in auctions or shipped, or starving in fields when they have been abandoned, it’s just absolutely heartbreaking. There are things you see that you can’t unsee. But either way there is very little real interaction between the public at large and the actual horses. There are a lot of passionate opinions out there either way but the disconnect between the sport and the actual horses – doesn’t need to be the case! If you love the horse, there are so many tangible ways to help and be involved. Here or anywhere!

If you love these horses as we do, and want to be more involved, here are a few things you can do here at Track to Trail Inc

Volunteering, learning, and adopting

Volunteering at an organization that helps injured or neglected ex racehorses there are places all over the country that can use help. We are one! Located in Naples FL we take horses directly from Gulfstream and also from local owners or neglect cases.

We’ve been doing this a long time and would love to add a few more advocates to the team! Looking for dedicated people over the age of 18 that can maintain a schedule over a period of time. Volunteers w service in their heart to make an impact on a horses life

From intake to adoption there’s s lot of moving pieces. Core volunteers and more hands make everything go smoother. It’s hot hard work here in Florida. It can also be emotionally taxing. So it’s not for everyone but it’s sure perfect for some. The longer you stay the more obvious it is the impact that you have. Getting involved w a horses story, helping w what they need, making sure they have a clean place to live, plenty to eat, their medical cares taken care of, that potential homes are checked out and adoptions go smoothly

It’s a long hard process. But so extremely rewarding. When they finally leave for a home, you cry because you are so happy for them and you cry for yourself because you will miss them terribly.

Many of our volunteers have become adopters. They fall in love and want to go even further and make the promise to take care of them for life

We will have an orientation coming up next month – you can check out our volunteer page to see if we have any opportunities that might be s match

If you love horses but can’t commit to a schedule we have so many opportunities to interact, have fun and learn from our horses. The fees go to help w hay and vet and care so this is also an amazing way to help them and enjoy yourself! Check out the education tab on our website

Adopting is another great way to help – we have most of our horses listed on our website along w an application! Check out Available horses tab

Spend some time there, read some of the articles we have written, share with your friends! If you can’t help the horses here, maybe there are some in your neck of the woods that you can help.

But either way see if you can get out there and volunteer at real rescues! Boots on the ground sort of thing. There’s nothing like it!

A homeschool student learning to detect and listen to a Thoroughbred heart beat
Irene’s Song came to us as a broken down lesson horse. After racing he worked hard for a trainer but was kicked to the curb when he could no longer do his job. Sometimes the older ex racehorses need just as much of a safety net as the younger generation. We have seen plenty of this. Volunteer Melissa working w Jackson and his Physical Therapy
Number Two Son was found starving in Homestead FL. almost to death. Along w numerous injuries and medical issues. He has been here for many years and will live his life as a sanctuary horse. That takes money and volunteers to provide for him

Get the horse that makes you happy

So often I hear a laundry list of things someone wants in a horse they are looking to buy/adopt.

It puts me in mind of the TV shows that feature a couple w a specific budget and amenities they want in their new house, and when they go out looking, most of it is out of budget. So the question is, do they do with less, go over budget, or just keep looking?


When adults are about to embark on buying their first horse, or their first horse in many years, the goals are often lofty.

Maybe they want to jump, or start taking dressage lessons or maybe they even want to do a local show or compete on a higher level.

I have seen many people get horses or start leasing horses and 6 months or even a few years in, really not go their original direction. Its not uncommon to see people pick a discipline and a trainer, maybe switch trainers a few times, maybe switch disciplines, maybe fall or get hurt, perhaps lose confidence, or their horse gets injured, and that thing they wanted the horse for, is not longer a thing they want or can do.

They send the horse to a trainer
They may sell the horse and get a new one or not get one at all
They keep the horse as a companion and no longer ride
They search for a rescue to take the horse

Those are some common options, I am sure there are more!

When we as humans, imagine the future, we generally see it a bit lopsided. Mostly pros, with maybe a con or two thrown in there for good measure. But quickly we forget about the cons, push them aside, and forge ahead. The issue is that many of the cons materialize, and rear their ugly right from the get go. If we are busy, have jobs, have families, soon the time required to care, ride, train, take lessons, gets tough to fit in, for what we actually need to do. It can become a bit of a weight and stress with all of the responsibility and a little less of a joy if you don’t have a great set up or support system. And don’t get me started on the costs that can be underestimated. That first time that horse sticks his leg thru a fence, colics, or just decides to get a mysterious illness, well all I can say is you will learn soon enough. So horse ownership can become tough early on.

Example – someone is hoping to get back into jumping after a long time off, and now has taken the leap into horse ownership, they are now also responsible for the horses care and training – thats a big commitment. It’s no longer the instructors horse, or the friends horse, or the lease. horse. Pretty much 100 percent of how that horse goes now falls under your responsibility. Even if you board the horse, you are still responsible for picking the right boarding facility, ensuring the correct stabling and diet, correct well fitting tack, veterinary care and farrier work. It’s no longer just showing up to ride. If they are at your house, times a million

Riding Cypress, so happy to be at the park, riding around and just enjoying the wonderful bond.
Not all riding has to be so serious or goal driven. Relax and have fun.

Now they realize that it really has been a long time and lessons are in order. For them and for the horse. But to be serious as a jumper, that might be 3-5 lessons a week. Your instructor now requires of a certain number of lessons per week, and for a certain number of months etc. So you are now locked in. Some instructors may require you to show. Thats a big chunk of change. Now you need even fancier tack and fancier clothing, and by fancy I mean expensive. Do you need a trailer to haul your horse? Do you need a hotel room and food to be gone for multiple days? Show fees? Trainer Fees, I mean you just wanted to get a horse and learn to jump, so how did you get to where you are spending more than a mortgage on a waterfront mansion?

And that is assuming the horse is actually fit and sound and able to jump. We get so many calls from people who have gotten horses that are not what they were told. Previous injuries, older than expected, a lot less training than advertised, so now they have a horse that can’t physically do what they want- maybe ever. Most horse are sold “as is” So I would say – Now what? Refer to that list above!

Maybe if you could do it all over again, you would just want a horse you could ride. And have fun. And still be able to eat more than Ramen. Less structured goals and more actually enjoying your horse. However that looks to you. Its certainly different for everyone.

Cash- the funniest horse you will ever meet!

The horses we have are just those horses, the ones that are suited for the casual rider. They won’t go on to compete, they can’t jump, they can’t barrel race, and no high level dressage, but rather a horse that you are happy to have, and maybe with some lessons, you might find that you get a long just fine. A horse you are comfortable with. That horse that you go for a sunset ride on, the horse you meet friends on trail with, that horse you go swimming with, that horse you learn to do some obstacles with, or liberty, or scent training or any million of things where you just have fun.

That doesn’t mean you don’ have to know what you are doing, or that the horses we have require no training, but rather with some common sense, time spent learning what the horse knows, what they might need to learn, and what you might need to learn right along with them, its totally possible to just have an amazing horse that loves to go for a ride and enjoy your time together

It’s much more rewarding to get the horse that you love. The horse that stirs your soul, that makes you laugh every day, and fills your life with joy. Life’s too short for anything else. Go ride, or don’t ride, but have fun, and love the horse that ends up being yours. It might not be the journey you expected, but it still can be really one of the most wonderful things you have ever done.

Medical Help Needed – J/C Pawan

Medical alert for new intake PAWAN – He needs an appt w Brandon Equine to look at what is suspected to be a torn meniscus. He may also need surgery.

If you don’t see the horse, it is easier to say no. But once you see them, and meet them, how can you possibly leave them behind? We could not leave him behind.

Who can offer him help?

He needs a visit to Dr Ruth-Anne Richter at Brandon Equine a few hours north of us for an exam and possible surgery. Hes also going to need some pain management.

This incredibly sweet horse was injured in training at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, FL. We picked him up this week.

Exam would roughly be $500 for a suspected torn meniscus. She would determine if surgery would be helpful, so he might need more than just the initial exam.

If you have it in your heart to help, please let us know. If we can get a few people wiling to chip in, I can make an appt this week and get him some care.

Update – we have an appt for PAWAN Monday Dec 19th at Brandon Equine. If it is determined that surgery is required, we may proceed with that if at all possible.

Don’t forget to share w your friends!

Or use the code below=

Send money for Pawan – Click on the link above or scan – he now has his own QR code which makes it really easy for us to track who is giving specifically to him!

So how different are Thoroughbreds anyway?

I had someone write us, looking for a working student position and one thing she said was that she knew about horses, but wanted to learn about handling Thoroughbreds, she had not had experience with that yet.   

And that is an interesting talking point – are they different?   What I personally find, assuming they are working w horses off the track, they are generally young.  But they are big.  Most people that see them, assume they are older, and not really babies.  And I have found most people are not used to handling young horses. Much less big ones. 

They can be not only energetic, but also very playful.  Curious, wanting to explore.  Knowing there are “rules” but quickly start to test boundaries if they are not kept relatively firm.   And by firm, I don’t mean that you are rough w the horse, just really consistent.  

I find on average, the horses that come from the track, the young have really good manners.  They have been handled by professionals all of their lives.  But when they go to an amateur owner (which most of us are).  They can go downhill really quick, like any other horse, but w their age, that can happen even faster.  They are still in learning mode.  

So it just makes one puzzle, are they really “different” to handle than any other horse, or do you just end up w less experienced people handling a big young horse and expecting it to act like the older horse they have owned or leased or ridden.  

We all recognize a puppy or a young dog vs a middle age dog, but how many people really recognize instantly the traits of a young horse. Starting to attribute their behavior to breed instead of age?

A young girl riding young Stevie (Wonder What’s Next) bareback and in a halter

While there are plenty of older OTTB’s out there, most commonly I hear stories and when I ask what age the horse is, they were fairly young, so I think maybe people are meeting young horses most often as their first “Thoroughbred” experience   

We have had so many fantastic young horses here, but really they have seen so much at the track, and had professionals their entire lives, we find them to be so good natured and easy to handle, but consistency, consistency, consistency… 

What are your thoughts? 

Young “HE’S THE ONE” giving a riding lesson to a student.  He was just 4! She was brand new to riding and he was such a good boy. Thoroughbreds have huge hearts and are full of try. Mismanagement can and does happen. Check out Put in the Effort to learn how often, with no intention at all, things can start to go sideways.

Send some hay to the horses!
Open your camera and aim it
to the code!

Horse Speak class Sept 11th 2022

Great hands on clinic on how to better communicate with your horse or a horse you work with or just learn more about horses!

Great hands on clinic on how to better communicate with your horse or a horse you work with or just learn more about horses!

Learn and practice techniques to
-form strategies

This is super useful if you have issues w your horse that you find undesirable or confusing. Often there are simple fixes to some basic problems once you understand them! The first step is getting to the root of whats going on. Many times the “issue” is a symptom of the underlying problem. This course helps you get started!

You can register by
-emailing and we can send you a virtual registration,

-you can paypal $75 to

-calling/texting 239-963-7296

Put in the effort to have a safe, healthy, well trained horse

Effort is often overlooked. You get out what you put in!
We expect things to go well, as horse owners, and when they don’t, we are often flummoxed!

-Why did that happen?
-He has never done the before!
-When I got him he was well behaved! Now not so much!
-The horse I used to have didn’t act that way!

I remember early on hearing a Pat Parelli Quote that went something like this
I can take your Level 1 horse and make it a Level 4 horse in 30 days.
You can take my Level 4 horse ad make it a Level 1 horse in 30 minutes.
(yes, he said minutes)

What is experience anyway? If you rode as a kid 20 years ago, or took a few lessons (or a lot of riding lessons) you are generally not equipped w enough knowledge to own and care for a horse. You have a good start, but perhaps not the complete picture. This might make some people angry to hear, but as soon as the horse develops thrush, is not doing well weight wise, starts developing some behavioral issues, won’t load on the trailer, doesn’t have a great whoa, starts to nip or kick at you, runs off, has issues w feet an the trim and you are not able to evaluate your farrier and the work done, it gets complicated quickly! But don’t despair, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it takes some effort. Knowledge is power!

-Find a good mentor locally that can help
-Find a trainer that is not a riding instructor(get a riding instructor for riding lessons) but a horse trainer, that can help you work on issues w you and your horse so you can grow as a team, suggest a feed plan, a stabling management plan, and some horsemanship training for both of you!
-Read books
-Watch videos
-Sign up for an online course in horsemanship
-Attend a clinic
-Attend a show – see how others are doing with their horses
Any one of these or a combination is sure to get you started!

Getting horses off property is a great way to keep it interesting for them and work on confidence issues! Find a quiet place to start and have a friend w a quiet horse go with you!

We get many calls from people who have bought or adopted horses and they are in bad shape. Physically, emotionally and usually both. Generally not new to horses and so really wanting to help, but didn’t have the experience perhaps to understand the issues the horse has come with, so all the other things fell apart.

Stable management – your horse needs time in turn out, time w other horse friends and access to hay or forage of some kind basically all the time. Restricting forage, keeping them in a stall, or keeping them alone starts many, many other behaviors which are considered undesirable. A happy horse is a breeze to work with. One that has anxiety, and emotional distress – not only does it lead often to serious medical issues, but safety issues as well. Then the horse is blamed. This is a “bad” horse.

You have always loved horses, now have the time and property to have one for your own, but seeing what pitfalls that are out there, and how to avoid them is so much better than having things crop up and not knowing how to manage them.

Its like getting a puppy and winging it, or maybe taking them to a puppy class. Getting out, socializing them, making and effort, seeing what you can do to avoid those big problems down the road,
Now of course this doesn’t mean every horse while have issues if you don’t do everything perfect, none of us is perfect, we do the best we can. But the average horse with the average owner will see such improvements, or no decline in already good behavior if they make and effort and work with their horse. We do see it all the time!

Another idea – you are always training the horse, either training them the right way or the wrong way, but they are always learning from you. Again, an effort has to be made if you want your well trained horse to stay well trained. If they are green broke, being straightforward and consistent is even more crucial. You are giving them life lessons. One of the most common things we see when picking up a horse is that they are hard to catch. It’s often a joke in the equestrian community, but imagine you came home and your dog RAN from you. That horse is saying something, why on earth would a horse run from you – it’s avoiding what they believe will be a negative experience. Real or perceived, that is what is happening. It’s often hard to look inwards, but when we do, we have the opportunity to learn and change the scenario. Then you and the horse are happy instead of at odds. One horse we picked up, the horse and owner were both very unhappy for almost two years. Two years! When a few simple changes early on would have solved the problem. All the time, money, and angst that they both suffered, over something easily fixed.

The more you surround yourself with other competent horse owners, the more good horsemanship you see and experience, the better you can be for your horse. Make the effort, pick up a book, check out a video, find something fun for both you and your horse and enjoy your time together. Training can be hard work, but it can be fun . We have a great short Introduction to Horse Ownership coming up Jan 15th at 11 am – just $10- what a great place to start learning more about creating a happy and healthy environment for both of you!

Introduction to Horse Ownership Jan 15th at 11am

Enough hay, appropriate amount of the right feed, plenty of turn out, those are kind of a given, but what else do you need to know about owning a horse. The real costs – lets break it down What kind of fencing is best for horses? What about stalls vs run in? Vet care – what’s is needed and when Farrier work Training What basic equipment should you have Riding – not just riding, but riding well A lot of this is pretty basic but we guarantee there is so much to learn, you will leave pretty amazed!


All things are difficult before they are easy – Thomas Fuller

If you have problems with your horse – reach out to us and we can schedule an evaluation

Working in the horse industry – 2 day clinic Jan 2022

Unveiled in August 0f 2021, we are offering once again the best two days you will ever spend learning about working in the horse industry.

We are a rehab center and see our share of neglect and injuries. This is a great class to take if you want a job as a barn manager, vet tech, or want to start a horse rescue.

Learn about the care, handling and the daily issues that come with handling a large number of horses, managing their feed and care, neglect and injury issues, and learning to recognize potentially life saving conditions. There is just so much to learn!

Jan 15-16th
Cost $248


Handling OTTB’s, is it different?

He’s The One giving a lesson at age 4 to a young student

I had someone write us, looking for a working student position and one thing she said that struck me, is that a she knew about horses, but wanted to learn specifically how to handle Thoroughbreds. She had not had experience with them yet.

And that is an interesting talking point – are they different?

What I personally find, assuming they are working w horses off the track, that generally they are working with a young horse. Most people see a big Thoroughbred and assume they have matured, they don’t see them as babies. And I have found most people have not had experience handling young horses (in general), much less big ones.

Young horses can be not only energetic, but very playful. Curious. Wanting to explore. Knowing there are “rules” but quickly start to test boundaries if they are not kept relatively firm. And by firm, I don’t mean that you are rough with the horse, just really consistent.

I find on average, the horses that one to us right from the track, are young and have great manners. They have been handled by professionals all of their lives. But when they go to an amateur owner (which most of us are) they can go downhill really quick. Just like any other horses but w young horses especially, it can happen faster than you might expect! They are still learning how the world works.

So it just makes one puzzle, are they really “different” to handle than any other horse, or are people dealing w a young horse but somehow not factoring that into the equation? We all recognize a puppy or a young dog as to how it compares to a middle age dog, but how many recognize the traits of a young horse? Maybe attributing some behavior as breed specific, not age.

While there are plenty of older OTTB’ out there, most of the stories I hear are actually about the. young ones. But they don’t say its because the horse was young, its because its a Thoroughbred or because its a race horse or because it just came from the track. I don’t doubt that they have some pent up energy from the track, but much of that is about being stalled w limited to no turn out unless they are given time off on a farm.

We have had so many fantastic young horses here, but really they have seen so much at the track, and been handled correctly their whole lives, we find them to be so good natured and east to hand, but consistency, consistency, consistency.

Most people who know Thoroughbreds often describe them as having huge hearts, tons of try, and smart.

No two horses we have had are the same, they are all individuals. So its not fair to paint them w the same brush, but it makes for a great discussion topic!

What are your thoughts?

Help needed- Emergency Surgery for SunnyNSeventyFive

A horse we adopted out was seriously injured, we are taking him in for emergency Surgery to Brandon Equine a few hours north of us. His surgery is estimated to be between $6,000 and $8K. We simply don’t have the funding for this. We are reaching out for help, to those who know Teddy from being here w us, or knew Teddy in his racing days. They gave him the nickname at the track of Teddy because he was like a sweet Teddy Bear loving his hugs.

If you would like to help, please PLEASE call the vet office directly to put money directly to him

If you are not able to call, PayPal email address is

We will post as we get updates and more information, our vet which is the same vet that the adopter uses, literally just called us. Per our contract if an adopter can’t afford life saving medical care, we will step in. It’s part of our SAFE FOR LIFE mission for these amazing horses. I’ll do a update as soon as we have more info.

Again, please call the vet 813-643-7177 or send money below if you can help him!

Picture of Teddy when he was with us, he came w a bowed tendon which required a year of rehab. He was adopted a little over a year ago…

Emergency Surgery Fund for SunnyNSeventyFive (Teddy)

Teddy, who adopted out last year needs emergency surgery, our vet saw him this evening (Monday). He called us, and we need to take him in the morning to Brandon Equine where he will have surgery and remain in the clinic for 3-4 days.


WE ARE NEARING $6K of our $8K goal!
After surgery he will require medical care, follow ups, medication, feed and hay, and plenty of shavings. This is so amazing that the community is coming together for him! We are putting together the list of those helping Teddy, below is a list of names that called in directly to the vet, or send us $ to the horses bank account on his behalf. If you have sent $ and don’t see your name please reach out! The list is changing constantly!
So far
Dan G – $50
Tracey F $1000
Sue F $3000
Elisa K $50
Kim D $35
Linda M $500
Caroline S50
Patty R $100
Noreen R $200
Patti B $50
Kathleen S $50
Sharon R $100
Dawn T $100
Sybil M $100
Melanie $20
Mary M $23
Jaqueline $50
Susan B $100
Joyce W $100

Holiday Horse Camp Naples Dec 27-31st

2021! v Spend the week here at the rescue during your Holiday break!

Kids will learn all about horses, have fun and games, crafts and contests along w solid skill horsemanship building exercises. Lots of horse time and activity!

Monday-Friday 9-2pm. $300. Want them to stay until 5? add $150 for the extra 15 hours!