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Successful Pilot Project Now Complete

Published: October 24, 2014 11:45 am ET

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The Woodbine Entertainment Group has announced the successful completion of the Horses Offering People Encouragement (HOPE) pilot project.

"We are thrilled to see the inspiring outcomes of this program," Nick Eaves, WEG’s president and CEO, has said via release. "WEG is committed to supporting racehorse adoption and placement programs to ensure the welfare, safety and dignity of horses continues in their retirement. The HOPE program is an excellent example of how retired racehorses can continue to have a positive impact on society long after their racing careers are over."

HOPE, a therapeutic horsemanship program, brings together retired racehorses with the community's most vulnerable citizens.

Participants receive hands on training in basic horsemanship skills like grooming, haltering, tacking, herd dynamics and horse anatomy from experienced horse caretakers from Woodbine's backstretch.

The five-week pilot was launched in partnership with Halton Regional Police Service's COMMANDE (Community, Mobilization and Engagement), LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and Woodbine Entertainment Group. It was hosted at Emerald Lane Farm, a long time LongRun foster farm, located in Thornton, Ont.

"LongRun has a number of horses who, due to age or infirmities, are not the first choice for the average adopter. We are committed to finding these horses a permanent home and a dignified retirement for as long as they are happy and healthy," said Vicki Pappas, executive director of LongRun. "The HOPE pilot gives these horses a chance to receive individual attention and affection from the program participants."

A generous donation from Sam-Son Farms helped to fund the pilot project which was supported by two of the stable's former racehorses Symphony of Fire (Symphony) and Ice Bridge (Reggy), who are enjoying their time as therapy horses while they wait for a permanent home.

A training facility in the Halton region is now being sought to expand the HOPE program for a planned spring session.

(With files from WEG)


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