Beyond The Wire Tops 600 Horses, Makes Adjustments

Beyond The Wire, Maryland’s Thoroughbred aftercare program that was launched in May 2017, recently topped the 600 mark for the number of horses that have gone through the program. The number of horses successfully placed from 2018-2021 has run from 106 to 125 each of those years, with 2022 expected to reach a similar number.

The Beyond The Wire Board of Directors met Nov. 30 to discuss the status and goals of the program, as well as finances, to ensure it remains successful and sustainable in the coming years as an important and safe re-homing option for retired racehorses. The program continues to stress that the more sound a horse is when it is retired, the better chance the horse has to move on to a second career as a riding horse or sport horse.

Jessica Hammond, Executive Director of Beyond The Wire, noted that the last 11 or 12 horses that were placed through the program were noticeably more sound, which helps facilitate their re-homing. The program’s Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited partner facilities—MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, Foxie G Foundation, New Vocations, Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, After the Races, TRRAC and Life Horse—handle the retraining and rehabilitation that can ultimately lead to adoption by new owners.

“It has been so wonderful to see so many horses retiring in good condition lately,” Hammond said. “Not only is this great for our horses, but horses that are sound are placed faster so it saves the owner money. I hope the trend continues, because a comfortable life in a second career is what all of our horses deserve.”

Beyond The Wire is funded annually from multiple sources: a $16 per-start fee paid by owners at Maryland tracks; annual corporate contributions ($30,000 each) from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Jockey Club; a $250,000-per-year contribution from The Stronach Group (1/ST Racing) through 2023; Northview Stallion Station, which contributes 5% of stud fees it collects from contracts; the jockey colony in Maryland; a 1.5% assessment on all claims at Maryland tracks; donations received with horses entered in the program, with a contribution of $500 per horse encouraged; and miscellaneous revenue and fund-raising activities.

After expiration of the TSG contribution after next year, the company will begin matching the total raised by owner per-start fees each year. Under the current fee structure, Beyond The Wire expects a roughly $125,000 reduction in income per year. The Board of Directors discussed various ways to reduce costs as well as increase revenue and unanimously approved charging an additional fee for placement in the program for those who opt out of the 1.5% claiming assessment.

The Beyond The Wire intake form on the organization’s website (beyondthewire.org) has been updated to reflect a few additions, such as clarification that applicants are responsible for the care of their horses until placement in the program. In addition, the Board of Directors also agreed that the program will no longer be able to accept horses deemed by veterinarians to be—after a thorough examination—sanctuary horses because of funding limits.

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