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Pure Thoughts and Horse Rescue

Pure Thoughts and Horse Rescue
By Kent H. Stirling, FHBPA Executive Director
February 15, 2010
During the last year and a half, the FHBPA’s 501(c)(3), the Florida Horsemen’s Charitable Foundation, Inc, has donated well over $100,000 to horse rescue organizations.  Calder Race Course has also contributed a substantial amount, and even with all their financial woes Gulfstream Park has contributed.  The vast amount of these monies has gone to Pure Thoughts Inc’s Florida Thoroughbred Rehab and Placement (FTRP) center in Broward County where they have numerous farms.  Other rescue farms the FHBPA supported during this period included the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), F.R.I.E.N.D.S., the Horse Protection Association of Florida and Beauty’s Haven.
Last spring FHBPA Vice President, Phil Combest, struck up a relationship with Pure Thoughts to begin accepting retiring Calder horses and he also convinced Calder and Gulfstream to financially assist Pure Thoughts. From that beginning, Pure Thoughts took 45 horses from Calder and found homes for 22 of them.  In the last month, they have been flooded with an additional 20 horses.
The Florida Thoroughbred Rehab & Placement (FTRP), the charitable division of Pure Thoughts, takes horses from the South Florida tracks when their racing careers are over and begins to rehabilitate them as soon as they arrive.  Horses are not put on a specific schedule, and therefore, can progress on their own time frame.  These thoroughbreds are re-schooled and eventually placed in a new home.  Volunteers do most of the work and are involved in every step of the horse’s orientation, development and training.  When a home is found an adoption contract is signed  which includes a “no racing clause” and states that not only can’t they be raced, they can’t be sold or auctioned either.  The contract also gives Pure Thoughts the right to follow the horse’s new life on a regular basis and if not being cared for satisfactorily then Pure Thoughts can take them back and find the horse a new home which has happened three times so far.
With the FHBPA rapidly exhausting its funds in its Charitable Foundation, a voluntary deduction of one third of one percent (rounded to .35%) was taken from all horses finishing first, second and third.  Flyers were placed around Calder stating this impending change and it was announced also for weeks on the overnights before implementation.  This money will be placed in an account and administered and distributed by a committee of representatives from the FHBPA, Calder and Gulfstream Park.
This deduction is entirely voluntary and tax deductible, and not all of the money will go to Pure Thought’s FTRP but also to any other 501(c)(3) horse rescue organization that can do the same great work that Pure Thoughts has done.  Pure Thoughts and other horse rescue organizations can not take care of our retired horses for free.  They need everyone’s financial support.
It is hard to believe, but a number of horsemen have opted out of this deduction to take care of their retired horses.  They say it is too much money.
Too much money?
Let’s see, the horse wins the race, the jockey gets 10%, and the trainer gets 10%, but the horse doesn’t deserve even 1/3 of 1 percent of the money he/she earned to guarantee itself a future when its racing career is over and not an abrupt unpleasant meeting with the “killers?”
If you would care to donate to Pure Thought’s FTRP or any other horse rescue organization please contact the FHBPA office for further details at 305-625-4591 or at
Our Thoroughbred race horses bring us so much joy and pleasure.  How can we not ensure them a happy life after their racing career is over?