The TRF Second Chances Farm at Blackburn Correctional Facility

You might want to grab some tissues for this one.

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An inmate at Blackburn Correctional Complex haltering one of those horses. | Photo provided by TRF

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We all know how big the horse industry is in Lexington. What you might not know is the positive mental and emotional impact it has on those at Blackburn Correction Complex (BCC).

Today, we’re sharing with you the story of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Second Chances Farm and how the special bond between humans and horses is helping provide a new lease on life for both.

What is the TRF Second Chances Farm? 🐴

The farm at BCC is one of eight created by the equine nonprofit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF). The program allows inmates to build life skills through industry-specific training while learning about and providing supervised care to retired racehorses.

Inmates must apply to be in the program, which lasts about six months. During this time they work hands-on every day gaining trust with their horses. They also spend time in the classroom learning about anatomy, nutrition, and injury awareness through the Groom Elite Program, which provides them with credentials that are recognized and accepted around the industry.

Mission and next steps 💼

Part of the mission is to reduce the recidivism rate (the likelihood to recommit a crime) and teach the inmates a trade and skills that they can take on with them in their next phase of life.

The TRF Second Chances Farm at BCC has partner facilities, like Spycoast Farm, that are open to providing employment to graduates — a win-win that helps bridge the gap for former inmates and an industry that needs skilled employees.

How you can support 🤝

The TRF Second Chances Program does not receive government grants, so it relies on the gifts of dedicated supporters. Here are some ways you can be involved: