Track to Trail Thoroughbreds

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Transitioning a horse from Track to Trail to their new home

Why is this even important? I have had horses before, I know what to do!

Welcome everyone! First of all, how cool is it to adopt a horse from a rescue? Looking to rescues when you want to own a horse is such a tremendous gift to that horse, and the next horse that can come in because there is a spot open! Theres a lot more to it then you might think though! Through the adoption process we do talk extensively about the horses and their backgrounds and what would suit them – both physically and mentally. It’s really good not to just listen to this, but HEAR this.

Horses coming into our facility from private owners, or coming back from adopters are often with people who consider themselves experienced. But time and time again, we see people who have had horses for years, trained and competed, and cared for or worked in professional barns, struggling with their new horse. On the horses part could it have something to do with change of place, change of feed and hay, change in turn out, change of horse friends (or no horse friends) change in handling, change in stabling – or maybe all of the above? Well then YES!

And what about the new owner, could it have something to do with them? YES! This too! It’s a package deal, for both you and the horse. But the owner is the only one that can make decisions, make choices, the horse has no option other than to react to a situation. How they react, shows you if you have made the right choices, or maybe need to reconsider a few things.

So if it’s hard for those that have had some formal training, how about those who have not? Those that had horses as kids and remember fondly galloping thru fields, maybe bareback, long days spent w the horse and that special bond. But being a kid and riding a horse, is really different than bringing up a young horse. Knowing how to formulate a diet that is appropriate for the horses breed, age, and work load. Knowing how to spot and treat an abscess, knowing how to have boundaries w your horse, ensuring they have good manners that maybe were not so important as a kid. Understanding you don’t bounce like you used to. The fact that we did something, 10, 15, or 20 years ago doesn’t mean we can do it now, at least not well. But if you have an OPEN MIND and are willing to learn and see that is part of the horsemanship experience it’s really a pleasure.

What exactly does that mean?
Quote from Milestone Equestrian FB page
“Horses are very much an “exotic” type pet, not like a dog or a cat, and require a lot of experience to properly manage and care for, or at least a lot of monetary output to pay someone with experience to do this for you. I’ve been around horses 20+ years and still don’t know everything, and the amount of education the general public lacks on horses is huge. There are so many common misconceptions about horse care that don’t happen to the same extent with more popular pets such as dogs or cats. I wish it was more mainstream for proper care of horses to be discussed along with their behaviours and how to read them. Anyone whose experience with horses stems from mostly watching movies or seeing them in passing is missing out on so much about them.”

We offer all kinds of support to adopters, but what if they never ask? Being able to ask for help is really important for life in general. When you are responsible for a horse, and you notice a behavior change, a loss of weight, change under saddle, its important to figure out what is going on quick. The most common issue we see is folks waiting too long, letting a behavior or medical issue fester, and something small becomes a major problem. Then the horse is turned into a rescue, or if adopted, returned to the rescue w a host of problems.


DIET– Keep your new horse on a diet as close as possible to what they had here. Changes in feed or hay along w stress of a new environment can lead to colic. Especially a change in water, they may not. like the taste, its important to monitor water intake, make sure he is eating and pooping and peeing properly. Keep an eye especially that first week. That doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to their diet , but keep him consistent for a while, make changes gradually, if you change something up and you are seeing it’s not working, change it back.

STABLING – often our horses are out 24/7 w a few hours of stall time a day for vet, farrier, or just to be under a fan. Horses do better when they are turned out, w a group and have free choice access to quality hay. If you keep your horse primarily stalled, you will end up a a horse different than the one you adopted. We require that all adopters keep horses out at least 12 hours or more a day unless there is a medical reason that precludes this.

Ground work
– start going for walks, doing some groundwork, simple lunging sessions, work on bending, backing, going over poles, its important to start to work on your partnership and keep their mind busy with activity! Desensitize them using tarps, flags, wands, anything that helps them learn that its ok to see new objects, but they are absolutely safe with you! This often sparks their curiosity, and helps them gain confidence. Boundaries are so important, we can’t emphasize this enough.

RIDING– Start slow. Your first ride should not be out on trail galloping thru the forest. Get to know them at home. Be sure that they stand for mounting, that they walk off only once you have asked for that, that they have a great whoa. Be subtle with your cues, have light hands, be a balanced rider, give praise. Be kind.

ISSUES – Behavior or medical, please reach out so we can help! Most of the horses, because they come w injuries are with us a long time. We know them well and know their past histories, we can help or find you someone that can!

Getting your horse off property, desensitization exercises and healthy boundaries!

Working in the Horse Industry

Whether you are looking for a part time job or a life long career, applying as a volunteer or maybe considering your own horse, we have a new program that meets your needs

Safety, consistency, time management and best practices are keys to horses

As an employee, volunteer, horse owner – you want to understand how to correctly do a few things to start. As an employer, you want someone with a solid set of basic skills, horse related but also a good work ethic, time management, critical thinking, and solid communication skills. This can be lacking across the industry.

Our First Course is Sat-Sunday March 13-14th 2021

  1. Horse handling – how to catch, halter, lead, go thru gates and turn out procedures
  2. Mucking- types of shavings, how to muck quickly but efficiently. Bedding for injuries and stall rest
  3. Nutrition and feeding protocols
  4. Wound treatment
  5. Tie, groom and bath a horse (learn quick release knots, cross ties, ground tie)
  6. Tack – the basics
  7. Colic – how to spot it and what to do
  8. Lameness- spot the first signs of lameness
  9. Hoof Abcesses- how to spot and treatTime Management – learn how to accomplish your tasks
  10. Getting a job How to find one, and what questions should you ask of your potential employer? Are you looking for full or part time? This course will help you bring much needed knowledge!

    Class goes 10-3pm March 13th-14thCost $150 for the two days, bring a packed lunch and a refillable water
    bottle. REGISTER

Long hours, in all weather conditions, with horses that are not always cooperative. Working with horses might be tougher than you think!

COMING IN JUNE (7th-11th)
A week long immersion course with well known professionals here each day to cover specific careers in addition to delving into the above topics in depth! This will be a fairly fast paced week!
Body Worker

Feb 2021 -whats coming up?

January saw the adoption of two horses and the intake of one. As we move into February we are preparing one of our horses, Wonder What’s Next for spinal surgery. He has been diagnosed with Kissing Spine Disease. We and we will transport him to Brandon Equine where Dr. Richtor will perform the surgery. He will remain in the clinic for a few days then we can bring him home. There will be 3 weeks of stall rest, then an additional three w some specific exercises, and then a reassessment.

Salty Celebration, aka MAC will be getting a reassessment for a torn tendon. He was injured back in Nov/Dec and came to us mid January. He’s expected to need a few more months of rest then be suitable for flat work, lower level dressage, trail riding. Dr Richtor is the vet who saw him initially with his previous owners, so she will continue with him here.

Feb 14th We will be at the Nawty Hogg for Valentines Day.
Feb 22nd We will be at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort for a a benefit for the Gulfshore Playhouse


The Girls POWER UP Program sees the addition of Weds 4:30-6:30. This class is limited to 4 students

Track to Trail Contest, most likely to…



Remember that year book?  Friends signed it, made comments on who was most likely to succeed, most likely to be a comedian, well we are doing that here!  We are creating a contest, to test your knowledge, your insight, and your luck!  In the meantime, here are a few of the horses that are entering!  Details will be forthcoming, we expect the contest to run May 1-5th.  Contest, Prizes for correct answers, for being creative and so forth will be on our FB Page!

Want to help?  You can donate or sponsor a horse too!

Donation for CONVID-19 impact

Volunteer hours are down, donations are down, adoptions are down, educational programs are closed= please help support the horses here!



Horse Voting Sheets Template Bwana Chevy jpgHorse Voting Sheets Template Teddy karma jpgHorse Voting Sheets Template Wiley Cypress jpgHorse Voting Sheets Template Cash He's the One JPGHorse Voting Sheets Template Boooker JT jpgHorse Voting Sheets Template Mickey Savvy jpg

COVID-19 impacting Naples, FL Horse Rescue

Volunter hours are dropping, donations are slowing down and our educational program which generates needed funds, is shut down.  Our annual fundraiser, Party for a Purpose is postponed, probably until fall.   Hurricane season is coming.  Visit our Donation page or donate right here!

Donation for CONVID-19 impact

Volunteer hours are down, donations are down, adoptions are down, educational programs are closed= please help support the horses here!


How, as a rescue, how do you plan in times of uncertainty, when you have animals to care for but really unknown resources moving forward?  The first step is making sure people remember you, hear the horses stories, let people know what you need,  and ask for help!

Just about everything that keeps a horse rescue moving forward has been lessened, closed, or postponed.  But the horses still need DAILY care and feed.  Hay, grain, vet and farrier appts, those are still happening.  We go thru $4,000 a month in hay alone. If you are not from Naples, we have a sand base, no grass grows here naturally.  We feed hay year round.

We take in mostly young, medically needy horses, and in addition to feed and rehab costs, we still need yearly check ups (Coggins) vaccines, and hoof care, so the expenses and the work goes on, but with depleted resources.

Please visit our donation page, and help if you can.  We are still recruiting volunteers, so you can attend our orientation, its the first Sat of each month, this month we start it via ZOOM. Spend some time on our website, look at our programs, view our horses looking for homes,  Check out our FB page and follow us there or on our Instagram account, share this story w your friends! WcvRnuMeTNilEJt6Mfx6vQWe have moved our orientation online, adoption fair on hold as there is a Stay at Home order for non essential services. Caring for the horses IS essential, but an adoption fair is not.  These are very trying times, and as we move forward, please remember the horses here and everywhere that still need your help.  Just sharing our story helps!  Our donation page has links to our suppliers, you can call them and donate hay and grain, dewormers, hoof treatments and farrier work, vet appointments.  Smaller items like Fly traps, fly spray, are needed too! 

The horses miss the kids!
And yes, horses needing a home are on the increase! 

Hay and Feed Assistance for Collier County Horse Owners

Track to Trail is working with Sutherland General Store to help horse owners in need! cropped-t2t-promo-half-jpg.jpgIf you are a horse owner that has lost their job or are out of work and are struggling to feed your horse, we would like to help if we can!  We have an application for assistance for local owners, fill out this form with your information and we will be in touch!

Please only fill this in if you truly need help to care for your horses. If we are able to help, we will call in to Sutherlands,  place and pay for your order.  We realize we can’t help everyone but we certainly can help some.  If you are in the position to help others, please let us know too!  If we all pay if forward, our horses will come out healthy and happy!

If you are not sure what Sutherland’s carries, give them a call
They are doing curb side pick up only at this point, no shoppers in the store.   If you are not able to pick up due to age, illness or other reasons, we will do our best to get it to you!
Sutherland General Store is located at 11875 Collier Blvd, Naples, FL. That is just north of Golden Gate Parkway,  This is right behind the new Popeye’s Chicken Phone 239-353-3808

1. Fill out form
2. We will contact you
3. Your information will be kept PRIVATE
4. We will help people until our fund runs out!
If you would like to contribute to the fund and help local horse owners, please email us at 

Featured Friend TAG Equine

We are so lucky to have many great local professionals that volunteer, provide services and products, and in general support of our horses.

Tim Gaskell at is our featured friend this month! Not only did he come out and give our horses some wonderful grooming, knots out of tails, manes trimmed up, hearts on butts for Valentines Day, but he also donated so many of the great products that he sells to help our horses look great!

Tim is also our official shipper, providing transport services that are so far and above.

Excellent rig, super personal care, and safe safe safe. Hes provided grooming classes, and

done fundraisers, and just really been such a great partner one the past 2 years.


We can’t say enough about how much we appreciate him!
Thank you Tim Gaskell from all of the Track to Trail Volunteers and horses that are here, have adopted out, and are yet to come! Tim Gaskell

5 Ways To Help Exracehorses

0B425B78-F70B-49DD-8E6C-0152392CF707FACT:  OTTB’s (Off Track Thoroughbreds) are super cool.  They are funny,  hard working playful, athletic, and sweet.  Most of the exracehorses coming off the track are really young, just babies.  But their large size sometimes can have people forget that!  Here are a few things that helps the horses at our organization, if you are not close, I bet you can find one in your neck of the woods.

1. Showing up – When you show up, that is the best and biggest step.   Our horses need care, they need attention.  Our horses have been injured, sometimes neglected, they need physical and emotional support.  That only happens when people put their boots on, and come out and help.

How to: Register for an orientation and then get on the schedule. Super simple Start here..

2. Advocating.   Racehorses can get a bad rap, often from those who don’t actually have personal experience.   Follow us, ask us, learn from us, how amazing and wonderful these horses are.   Learn what they know, what they don’t know. You might be surprised at how educated they are even though they are young. Walk, trot, canter, gallop, lead changes, turning, stopping, they do all of this every day in work outs.  People see a race and think that is all there is- far from it!

How to:  Do your research, meet our horses, visit the backside of a track but once you know, please be sure to spread the word!  Every time we go to the track, we shoot some video of the work outs, you see horses going various speeds, directions or just standing still.  Search our archives and then spread the word!

3. Adopt – if you are looking for a new horse, please consider an ex racehorse.  Nearly everyone agrees that they should be saved. Sound or injured, but those same people often say, that is not a horse I want.  See number 2 about really understanding the breed.  We do kids and adult lessons on these horses. 8330D05E-E6E0-4C8A-9D03-45987F791BEB

How to: Come visit them, spend time, meet your match, its a bit like dating!  There is an exracehorse out there that is perfect for you!  Tbs have HUGE hearts.  It is hard not to fall in love.

4. Sponsor – Whether you are local or not, you can sponsor a horse while it is in recovery and waiting for a home! Many groups have horses that can benefit from sponsorship, this is often from people who can’t visit, don’t live locally, and just really would like to help.   That said, many of our volunteers also sponsor a horse!  It’s a monthly contribution that goes to the care of one horse, or any horse that may need it.

How To:  You can sponsor a horse right from our website!  There are a few options, you can also arrange a visit if you are local to meet your prospective horse.   You can choose which option you like!  Check it out at

5. Start your own rescue!  This is not something to take on lightly, but yet OTTB rehoming facilities do exists all over the country.  Read books, visit rescues, learn, learn, learn.  Have a long term plan, volunteer somewhere for a few years, learn what works, what doesn’t and then if you are still passionate, make the plunge!  Start small, once you have had successes, then consider expanding, or just stay small and help a few at a time.

How To: Visit us, Contact your local rescue, there are books on Amazon, let yourself dream, and in the meantime, get your volunteer time in and keep learning!  Educate yourself on Social Media, Marketing, Website Design, Accounting, Research how to start a Non Profit.  The more prepared you are, the better equipped you are to be a success for the horses you take in.




Naples Horse Rescue seeks new home

Track to Trail Inc, a Naples, FL,  an all volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit needs a new home!

Collier County, Florida:
Located in Pine Ridge Estates, the off-track thoroughbred rehabilitation facility is in need of a larger more conducive property for the healing of injured racehorses.  We seek our own property, thru donation, funding or long term lease to continue our mission.

How we arrived in Pine Ridge Estates
Our original location out in Golden Gate Estates took a tremendous hit with Hurricane Irma and we had to relocate in order to continue.  Extensive damage with fences down, shelter roof missing, feed room gone and tack room gone, flooding, it was too much to overcome while still tending to the horses.

We made the decision to move into town, renting a large commercial barn.  That was a blessing with being able to meet so many lovely people that wanted to help, and certainly provided a temporary fix to our situation.   A really urban environment though with and all the traffic, noise and commotion that comes with it are just not in the horses best interest long term.  They need room to run, they need shade, and a tranquil environment to promote healing.  Over the summer we have moved half of our horses back to our original location.   They are back to running, playing and being happy, but this location is too small to accommodate the organization we have grown to be in the last two years.  We need to find a place that encompasses both of these worlds, a great barn for rehab and educational programs with the ability for the horses to have what they need to thrive.

We want to find a location where we can continue to help these amazing horses as well as continue our girls programs and our free Reading to Racehorses literacy program, while giving the horses room to run, with plenty of shade and the tranquility.  

Our Educational Programing  and how that works w exracehorses…

uno michaela

Michaela working with He’s The One to work on trust confidence to improve his chances of being adopted

We have been featured by the Naples Daily News, ABC, Fox4, NBC2, WINK and many other local media outlets!

We take in injured racehorses, mainly from Gulfstream Park, but also local horses that are in need when we can.  Thru a huge core volunteer group (100+), we rehabilitate the ex racehorses and look to place them in local homes with loving families.

Something very unique that we do is pair these racehorses w the kids in our programs, to help them transition.  The kids learn all about taking care of them, helping them heal, learning to ride again, and see them come full circle when they adopt out from our program.  The program teaching the kids all about horsemanship skills, but also self-confidence, courage, empathy, and focus, so many life skills.  They learn to really care for others. Read more….



Teddy is an exracehorse (Sunnynseventyfive) that came to us from Gulfstream Park with an injury that required 12 months of rehabilitation. Here is Chrissy working with him at liberty until he is ready to return to riding.

The severity of the injuries mean most horses are with us 6-12 months for the healing and rehabilitation part of their stay, and then are available for adoption to qualified homes in Lee and Collier County.   We need both stalls, small paddocks and large areas as the horses go thru this process.  Most of our horses suffer injuries and arthritis related to those injuries, having them in small stalls and paddocks without the ability to move sufficiently makes arthritic conditions worse.    The very best thing is for them to be outside moving as much as possible.  We need dry areas and shelter/shade for them, in addition to a barn for the critical cases when they arrive.


Ariel B came to us with a fractured knee, set to be euthanized, our volunteers and girls program nursed her back to health.  She was successfully rehomed! 



Our Girls Program working with Eliot (Track Shill), who is now a deputy w the Lee County Sheriff’s Dept.   His new name is Maverick!


Jackson (Irene’s Song) came in at age 18 hardly able to walk, thin w muscles that had atrophied and permanent nerve damage on his back.   His attitude was very defensive.  The girls showed him that life can be good!  They helped w his Physical Therapy and the Emotional Support he needed.  He is successfully rehired right here in Collier County!

Judith Cohen Youth Center comes to Track to Trail

We were delighted to be able to host a group of 14 children from the Judith Cohen Youth Center at our training facility.  What smart intuitive kids!

They arrived with no prior experience and learned to help and worked w our volunteers to halter, lead, feed, groom, bath and work with horses.  It was amazing how quickly they caught on and how much they really formed bonds not only with the horses but each other as the day progressed.  Team work, compassion, grit.   They had it all.  So proud that we are able to offer programs like these while fulfilling our mission to help rehabilitate and rehome ex racehorses and other horses in need.  Our hearts were overflowing…  Thanks to Hilary Shore, Executive Director and all the staff at JCYC for making this possible!