Saratoga Springs is a town built on horse racing. With not one, but two horse tracks, it’s a safe bet that most of the people reading this have experienced horse racing first hand as sport and recreation as a patron. The Saratoga Racetrack draws thousands and thousands of tourists each Summer, supports our local economy, and provides entertainment for many. After all, the motto for Saratoga Springs is “Health, History, Horses”. But, what happens to a horse after its racing career? Most track patrons aren’t thinking about that when they show up on Travers Day.
The life of a thoroughbred after its racing career can be bleak, if not short, depending on its luck and owner. There are plenty of ethical thoroughbred owners and trainers that assume responsibility for the aftercare of their retired racehorses, but unfortunately that is not always the case. That said, negligent aftercare can be one of the dark sides of horse racing. Horses are often euthanized, abandoned or sold to slaughter when they are no longer able to produce monetarily for their owners. According to the ASPCA, in 2017 an estimated 80,000 horses were sold to slaughter. That’s a hard pill to swallow for many. Thankfully, that is where horse sanctuaries like Long Shadows Farm come in.
Long Shadows is a horse rescue set in the beautiful hills of Cambridge, NY – just outside of Saratoga Springs. They take in retired thoroughbreds, owner-surrenders on a case-by-case basis and other horses in dire need of care. Rehabilitation is always the goal at Long Shadows. When possible, horses are adopted into loving homes or stay on the farm as equine partners in equine-assisted training programs and therapies. If neither option is possible, the horses remain at the farm to live out the remainder of their lives peacefully. Thoroughbreds are given time to adjust to their new lives and surroundings before any retraining begins. The #1 concern at Long Shadows is the health, happiness and wellbeing of every horse in their care. It is truly a labor of love. The wonderful people at Long Shadows care for the horses as their own, and as individuals. It’s because of the efforts of all of the talented and dedicated people at Long Shadows that these horses are able to now enjoy a life of tranquility. But, it also takes a substantial amount of money to provide for these magnificent creatures. Long Shadows is a non-profit organization, which means they rely heavily on donations. If you feel inclined to pay it forward for enjoying summer after summer in Saratoga, consider donating to Long Shadows (I will provide that information below).
I had the chance to visit Long Shadows Farm in October and photograph my experience as well as begin to conquer my own *healthy fear* (hahaha) of horses. I even got to take a long walk around the farm with one of their rescues, Peanut Butter (Um guys, that is a RELLY big deal for me). I so loved my experience there, getting to spend time with all of the animals (including a quirky goat named Chili, friendly barn cats that did not try to kill me and tons of chickens) as well as meet some of the kind-hearted people that make a place like Long Shadows tick. It truly is the definition of a sanctuary and a worthwhile cause to support.
“LSCF (Long Shadows Charitable Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity. Donations are the lifeblood of our commitment to saving these horses and 100% of all proceeds go to the care, management, and training of the horses; and all donations are tax deductible. Donations can include anything from a financial contribution to donated items such as horse blankets and tack related equipment.”