Second Chance Farm’s name speaks for itself. The Skyesville farm, which was restored by the inmates of the nearby Central Maryland Correctional Facility in 2009, plays host to a major rehabilitation program.
This program works in conjunction with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and aims to keep these beautiful horses alive and well-cared for long after their owners deem them unusable.
More often than not, racehorses who outgrow and out-age their use are sent to slaughterhouses because the owners can’t afford to keep the animals in retirement.
“10,000 horses are shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada in Mexico each year” explains a representative from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
It is for this reason that this rehabilitation centre isn’t only for the inmates. With their help, these horses have a second lease on life that they would otherwise have not been able to experience.
The program provides important work and life skills by teaching the inmates to tend the pastures, feed and groom the horses and gain a Groom Elite certification after six months worth of training.
The partnership also acts as an integral therapy for the inmates, due to the nature of working with animals lending itself to building compassion and patience.
Graduates from the program are then able to re-enter the work force, once they have served their sentences, with a certification that will give them a head start in returning to normalcy.
According to a 2013 study, inmates who participate in education and training programs whilst serving their time are 43% less likely to return to a life of crime, and prison, than those who don’t.
So not only are the training programs providing opportunities for lessening repeat-offender rates, they are also helping to provide a safe and nurturing environment for thousands of retired horses around America.