02/23/2017 12:06PM

New Vocations aftercare program gets boost from Ohio horsemen

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New Vocations has a major presence in Ohio and is celebrating a quarter-century of operations in the Buckeye State this year. The program recently announced that the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has donated $50,000 to support aftercare efforts at its Marysville facility.

In 2016, New Vocations took in more than 450 retired racehorses, 66 of whom came directly from an Ohio racetrack or farm.

“It is important to the Ohio HBPA that our retired Thoroughbreds be given a chance to thrive in a second career,” said Dave Basler, executive director of the Ohio HBPA. “We are proud to continue our partnership with New Vocations, an organization that began 25 years ago right here in Ohio to give our horses that chance.”

In addition to the Marysville facility, New Vocations operates Thoroughbred rehab, retraining, and adoption facilities in Lexington, Ky. – which recently doubled its capacity with the construction of a state-of-the-art facility at the historic Merewood Farm – Hummelstown, Pa., and Fort Edward, N.Y., the latest addition. The organization also has several Standardbred adoption facilities under its umbrella. The organization is the largest racehorse-adoption organization in the country, serving more than 40 racetracks and having placed more than 6,000 horses.

The organization is thus continually expanding to meet the needs of horses. In January, New Vocations opened a New York satellite facility at Dan and Danielle Dill’s October Hill Farm in Fort Edward, about 30 minutes from Saratoga Springs. The new facility will help serve the needs of horses retiring from New York racetracks, where New Vocations already worked in conjunction with Take the Lead, a retirement program created by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association for horses stabled at New York Racing Association tracks.

Meanwhile, the new Mereworth facility in Lexington continues to expand, as a capital campaign has raised more than $1.7 million of a $2 million goal. A second barn at the new Kentucky facility was recently sponsored by prominent owners Robsham Stables and Mike Repole and will be named the Robsham-Repole Barn.

“I watched many times [Joyce Robsham] and Mike Repole rooting for each other at the races, even when they were in the same race,” New Vocations program director Anna Ford said. “The partnership is extremely meaningful to them and to all of us at New Vocations. The late Paul Robsham was instrumental in helping New Vocations obtain our 501(c)3 status, and Mrs. Robsham has continued to support our aftercare efforts each year. Mike Repole has also been an avid supporter of our program and was instrumental in helping us launch the capital campaign. Seeing both of their names on the barn sign will be a true honor.”

Continued support from organizations such as the Ohio HBPA, allowing New Vocations to focus on its regional efforts, is also extremely important, Ford said.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ohio HBPA for their generous donation and ongoing support of our aftercare efforts in the state,” Ford said. “Their support over the last several years has allowed us to expand our rehabilitation program and ultimately help more horses. The funding is greatly needed and will help us continue to serve horses retiring from Ohio racetracks.”