RICHMOND — Dozens of horse enthusiasts flocked to the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) State Farm Work Center in Goochland County Saturday, October 14 for the James River Horse Foundation’s Open Barn event.
The free event allowed visitors to interact with the more than 20 retired, thoroughbred racehorses on site at the work center. Female inmates from State Farm Work Center care for these retired horses, gaining valuable job skills and tools for the re-entry process.
The horse program at State Farm Work Center is a public/private partnership between the VADOC and the James River Horse Foundation. The James River Horse Foundation is an Accredited Organization with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
“This program represents one of the many ways the Virginia Department of Corrections and its partners find innovative ways to place our inmates on a path to successful re-entry into society,” said Scott Richeson, VADOC Deputy Director of Programs, Education, and Re-Entry and VADOC Liaison for the James River Horse Foundation. “These inmates gain valuable skills and form powerful bonds with these horses, which benefits both the horses and the women who work so diligently with them.”
“Unfortunately, no one wanted these horses at the end of their racing careers, but now they have a lovely home and dedicated caregivers,” said Debby Dunham, President of the James River Horse Foundation. “Our organization is proud of this partnership and we believe it lives up to our foundation’s motto: Horses and People Helping Each Other. Events like the Open Barn give people the opportunity to interact with these wonderful horses and see our mission and partnership in action.”