Where Do Retired Racehorses Go?
An interview with Vicki Pappas, LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.
Awesome Wok N Roll is one of the beautiful thoroughbreds available for adoption.
Vicki Pappas was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2021. Vicki has been involved in Canadian Thoroughbred racing for over forty years in many roles, including groom, trainer, owner and breeder.
Edenwold, who won the Queen's Plate in 2006, was bred by Vicki Pappas, her husband Bill Daimant and Gail Wood.
Vicki Pappas has accomplished much on behalf of the Canadian Thoroughbred industry, but what stands out for me is her leadership of LongRun.
LongRun has helped over 1,000 racehorses!
Here is the interview:
What is the primary goal of LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society?
LongRun's mandate is to provide Ontario's thoroughbred racehorses with a happy and dignified retirement from racing and to educate the racing community and the general public as to the merits of this program.
When was LongRun established?
LongRun officially gained charitable status in 2000 but a group of concerned horsepeople operated as LongRun for a few years prior to that.
What is your role and why are you involved?
I am LongRun's chairperson and have always believed that the horses who run for our pleasure deserve to live out their lives happily after their days at the track are done.
How does LongRun acquire horses?
LongRun generally acquires horses through their donation by caring owners and trainers. We are not a 'rescue' per se, but have stepped in when needed and extracted some horses from perilous situations.
LongRun has a beautiful 100 acre farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario. What is this used for?
The bulk of our retirees are housed on our Hillsburgh Farm, where they receive rest, rehabilitation if required and retraining while awaiting adoption. Certain horses, because of age, temperament or infirmity, are offered permanent sanctuary there with LongRun. We also have a few horses who remained at two foster farms we used prior to purchasing our own facility as we felt it would be unfair because of age or, in one case, blindness, to move them (our blind horse, Seven on Friday, spent a very happy life with foster mum until his passing last year at the age of 19).
Is the LongRun Farm open to visitors?
Our facility is open to visitors, but we ask that, because of the nature of our business, potential visitors get in touch with our office to make an appointment. We also in normal times host open houses for race fans and horse lovers.
Can anyone adopt a LongRun horse?
Anyone who qualifies after filling out our Adoption Application from, located on our website https://www.longrunretirement.com is welcome to adopt from us. This form, which is a prerequisite to our acquiring certain grants, asks about the applicant's horse experience, what discipline the horse will be involved with, housing for the horse, veterinarian and farrier to be used, and personal references. The information ensures that we are able to match the best horse to the candidate.
Are there riding horses available for adoption or only companion horses?
We have many riding horses as well as companion animals for adoption.
LongRun has skilled staff, but how to volunteers help?
Volunteers are always welcome and can help in a variety of ways - barn chores, general farm maintenance, event set up, farm inspections, adoption follow-ups, to name a few.
Is LongRun accredited?
LongRun is accredited by both the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Thoroughbred Charities of America.
Where does the funding for LongRun come from?
Funding for LongRun comes from grants from the above named organizations, a percentage (.50 of 1%) of thoroughbred purse monies in Ontario, fundraisers and individual donations. We are well supported by Ontario's racing community and horse lovers in general. We also receive product donations and helpful discounts from professional services.
Is LongRun a registered charity?
Yes, we are a registered charity.
How do Woodbine Racetrack and the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Association (HBPA) of Ontario support LongRun?
Woodbine gives us office space on the backstretch and provides us with telephones, computers, technical support, etc. as well as giving us an annual monetary donation and sponsoring the equine assisted education and therapeutic programs we host in normal times. The HBPA is not only responsible for LongRun receiving the portion of purse monies I mentioned, they also donate to us and help in a myriad of ways.
Can anyone donate to LongRun, and if so, how?
All donations are welcome! Donors can use PayPal, remit a cheque or call the office with a credit card.
Thank you, Vicki, for answering my questions.
Please join me in supporting LongRun - it's easy to donate - go to https://www.longrunretirement.com
PS: The fourth book in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series Playing with Fire is dedicated to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society!