The Christmas season is synonymous with gift giving as a token of appreciation for friends and love of family.  In the world of horses, no kinder gift can be given than one of a caring home for retired equines.  The people who save horses from bad endings truly embody the spirit of Christmas, and they work year-around for low or no compensation and usually labor in relative obscurity.  Just making ends meet is a daily worry.

Michael Blowen and Friends

Thus it was especially nice to see that the equine program in the University of Louisville’s College of Business will formally recognize a horse retirement/aftercare leader, Michael Blowen, the founder of Old Friends retirement farm in Georgetown, Kentucky, when it presents him in January 2019 with its annual John W. Galbreath Award for equine entrepreneurship.  Mr. Blowen, a former movie critic for the Boston Globe, is what is known as a “social entrepreneur” in that his organization is a non-profit, depends on donations, and does charitable work.

Once a horse’s career is over on the racetrack, he or she may find a new life as a breeding stallion or a broodmare.  But geldings don’t qualify nor do most horses with pedestrian race records.  As a result, many former racehorses face uncertain futures.  Absent individuals like Mr. Blowen and countless unnamed others who maintain retirement and aftercare facilities, the situation would be a lot worse. 

I am all but sure that the humble folks who take in retired racehorses would resist someone calling them “angels of mercy.”  But when it comes to saving retired equines at least, that is precisely what they are.

Merry Christmas.

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Angels of Mercy