Prison inmates do not receive a lot of kindness and affection. Something as simple as a pat on a dog's head is a luxury of which most prisoners only dream. Racehorses, however, are treated with extreme care, pampered and coddled, up until they are too old to race. Retired racehorses sometimes face a rather bleak future. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was looking for a better life for these beautiful creatures, for people who would love them and care for them in their golden years. Fate lead them to the Central Maryland Correctional Facility and they opened Second Chances Farm nearby. There, thoroughbred horses and prison inmates are granted a new lease on life. The men are taught a new skill, and given completion certificates that make them eligible upon release for careers as farriers, veterinary assistants, and groomers. They also are given a second chance to learn kindness and love, both the giving and receiving. The bond between these men and the horses they care for is beautiful, and healing. The effects are lasting and those who participate in the program are less likely to return to prison, having left with a marketable skill and a full heart.


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  • Learn more about the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's Second Chances Program.
  • Animals can play a key role in rehabilitation.  To see if there is a prison pet therapy program near you visit Prison Pet.
  • Not all race horses are used in prison therapy. Adopt a retired race horse at Second Stride. Not enough room? Adopt a retired racing greyhound here.

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