When The Race Is Over

by Leigh Gray

    A racehorse's career must end at some point for a variety of reasons. Some careers are cut short by injury. Others don't live up to expectations placed on them by owners or trainers. Whatever the reason, a racehorse faces a grim future if they have no place to go. Thoroughbreds are known for being dignified, noble and majestic. To have their lives end when there are potentially other solutions is unthinkable.

    There are other options and people available to ensure that these magnificent animals retire with the same compassion and care that they were brought into this world. This is where I come in. My name is Leigh Gray, and I rescue racehorses.

    I noticed the need to help place racehorses in new homes when first employed as an exercise rider at the track. In 1984, I rescued my first racehorse. From there I began finding homes for one maybe two horses a year, placing them with friends and acquaintances in other areas of equine competitions.

    When I starting working as a vet assistant at the Southern California Equine Foundation (SCEF), I became even more involved with injured horses. It is a great challenge to find homes for horses with injuries. With the help of dedicated vets at the track, my efforts expanded to rehabilitation and placement to loving homes along with placements to competitors in other equine sporting events.

    SCEF contributes the use of surgical equipment and facilities if necessary, in conjunction with surgeons and anesthetists, who donate their time and expertise. Additionally numerous veterinarians on the backside provide guidance, donating time and medication enabling me to continue finding and rescuing these racehorses that, with help, will be able to go on to useful lives as show horses, trail horses and valued family members.


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