April 21, 2016 – Lexington, KY – Keeping with tradition, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program will once again celebrate the heart and athleticism of the Thoroughbred breed by hosting an event at the conclusion of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event dressage competition on Friday, April 29, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
This year, international eventing star Colleen Rutledge will be a guest of honor at the New Vocations at Mereworth Farm facility, located just 7 miles from the Kentucky Horse Park. Rutledge holds the record for being the first person to complete the five Northern Hemisphere four-star events on the same horse with no cross county time penalties—and no surprise, it was on an off-the-track Thoroughbred: Shiraz.
Rutledge, with several other honored guests, will toast the historic expansion of Thoroughbred aftercare at the New Vocations at Mereworth Farm. The Open Barn and BBQ event, will officially kick off the opening of Phase One, which includes the John A. Hettinger Arena and the Whirlwind Poppy Barn.
A staunch proponent of the Thoroughbreds, Rutledge explains why she is so enamored with the breed. “They possess so much intelligence, athleticism, and heart. They [Thoroughbreds] have an innate desire to figure out solutions and the willingness to try and continue trying.”
Having competed on Thoroughbreds Patriot Rye (Howard’s Grace), Casablanca Memory, Let’s Get it Right, Shiraz (Bold and Burley), Clever Deception (Deceiver), Capital Flight (E.T. Moon), Confidence Game (Pam’s Luc) and Your A to Z’s, Rutledge is excited to be on-hand to share in this event, which focuses on how much Thoroughbreds have left to give once they retire from the track.
A Southern-style buffet dinner will be available, and attendees will enjoy live music from the Kentucky-based band Frontier while touring the barn, meeting the horses and mingling with acclaimed jockeys, who will be available for autographs. The event, hosted at 719 Dolan Lane in Lexington, is sponsored by AmWest Entertainment LLC, and is also made possible through generous donations from Buffalo Trace Distillery, Country Boy Brewing and Jackson Family Wines. Touring the facility is free; tickets for dinner and drinks are $20. Please RSVP here.
Once complete, New Vocations at Mereworth Farm will encompass two 15-stall barns, indoor and outdoor arenas, and an office. This project comes as a response to the number of retired racehorses in need of rehabilitation and training for second careers.
About New Vocations
Founded in 1992, New Vocations has grown into the largest racehorse adoption program in the country. Its mission to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome retired racehorses has led to the placement of over 6,000 individuals, with nearly 400 retirees entering the program each year. With six facilities in Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania, New Vocations serves over 40 racetracks, working directly with owners and trainers in need of equine aftercare options.
About Mereworth Farm and the Susan S. Donaldson Foundation
Mereworth Farm, a 1,200-acre tract of bluegrass used for generations as a nursery for over 170 stakes-winning Thoroughbreds, was founded in 1924 by Walter J. Salmon, Sr. and now serves as a sanctuary for unwanted equines and retired racehorses. Susan Salmon Donaldson acquired Mereworth Farm in 1986 upon the death of her father, Walter J. Salmon, Jr. In 1989, she established the Susan S. Donaldson Foundation to preserve Mereworth after her death as a home for unwanted animals into perpetuity. Donaldson passed in 2011, and her Foundation has worked tirelessly to restore the farm to its original glory, installing new fence lines, seeding pastures, rehabilitating barns and clearing brush. With 153 horses on the property, 141 of which are Thoroughbreds, Mereworth is fulfilling Donaldson’s mission to provide a safe haven for horses in need.