New Vocations Racehorse Adoption was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes. The New Vocations focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose. Close to 4,000 retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations’ efforts since its inception, including 429 ex-racehorses that were placed in 2011. These horses have come from 18 different states and have been adopted by families throughout the country.
New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford expanded the organization’s reach when she wrote BEYOND THE TRACK: RETRAINING THE THOROUGHBRED FROM RACEHORSE TO RIDING HORSE, alongside cowriter Amber Heintzberger. Their marvelous book provides the most thorough, clear, step-by-step system for successfully transitioning ex-racehorses to new careers, providing thousands of horses (and their lucky owners) the opportunity to enjoy each other in both recreation and sport. In addition, a portion of the proceeds of the sale of each book goes to support the New Vocations program.
Now New Vocations has a rising star in the art world on its side: Metro Meteor, a contemporary artist who, while you may not have heard of him yet, is about to break into the big time when he appears on the TODAY SHOW, April 9, 2013.
Although he has only recently been recognized for his artistic eye, there is already a waiting list for Metro Meteor’s abstract paintings…and 50% of the proceeds from all sales go directly to New Vocations! Why does this emerging artist choose to champion the cause of racehorse adoption? Well, because (of course) he started his life on the track (did I forget to mention he’s a HORSE?)
Metro won his first race and placed in his first stakes race as a two-year-old. Running turf races out of Saratoga and Belmont, Metro won eight races and $300,000 in purse money. But he was prone to bone chips in his knees and underwent two surgeries during his racing career before his knee issues led him to only racing in low-level claiming races. Luckily, the manager of the racing partnership that owned him retired the horse and put out a call for a good home—and Ron and Wendy Krajewski took him, hoping for a trail horse.
It wasn’t long, even with only light work, before Metro’s veterinary prognosis indicated he needed to be retired completely from work. Ron’s bond with the horse inspired him to find other ways they could spend time together, including groundwork and…painting! Ron is a painter by trade, and using clicker training concepts, he taught Metro to target and “swipe” a canvas with a brush. Ron chooses the colors, but the layering, texture, and form is all Metro.
On a whim Ron offered a few of Metro’s pieces for sale through a local gallery, and they were a hit. He decided to continue marketing Metro’s work with half of the proceeds going toward paying his ex-racehorses expenses and veterinary bills, and the other half donated to help fund New Vocations and their mission to find other “Metros” new careers…and unexpected ways to share time and space with humans.
When Ron contacted New Vocations to explain what he wanted to do, Executive Director Dot Morgan was amazed and excited. “It was an interesting email that became downright inspiring!” she says. “Ron described his adopted Thoroughbred Metro Meteor, how he’d taught him to paint, and that he wanted to commit part of the proceeds to New Vocations. But then he went on to say that six paintings had sold the first week and he was sending 50% of those sales to New Vocations! In addition, an article about Metro’s mission had appeared in the Gettysburg Times and just been picked up by the Associated Press!
“He included a link to a video of Metro painting in his stable studio,” Dot continues. “I watched the video and was astounded! This was potentially one of the greatest awareness building stories I’d ever seen. It was obvious that Metro’s ability to help horses beyond the track would far exceed his numerous accolades at the track. Here was the high profile spokesman that racehorses needed, and it was one of their own!”
You can watch Metro and Ron painting here:
And don’t forget to tune in and watch Metro Meteor’s story on the TODAY SHOW, April 9, 2013.
BEYOND THE TRACK, a book that was called “breakthrough racehorse literature” by Liz Harris of Thoroughbred Charities of America, is available from the TSB online bookstore.
And, our new Brookmeade Young Riders fiction series follows the adventures of Sarah Wagner and her off-the-track racehorse Crown Prince. You can order the first two books in the series Practical Horseman called appealing “not only to young beginner riders but also to older and more seasoned horse lovers” by CLICKING HERE.