Putnamville horse program reins in donation from Indiana horseman's group
PUTNAMVILLE -- First, the greyhounds grabbed the spotlight at the Putnamville Correctional Facility (PCF).
Now it's horses getting attention and making an impact at the local prison.
The PCF Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) and Equine Management program has announced the receipt of a $15,000 donation from the Indiana Horseman's Benevolent and Protection Association (INHBPA).
INHBPA is an organization of owners, breeders and trainers committed to the protection of horses and the future of horse racing.
"The quality of program that we offer and its success is dependent on contributions from the private sector," Putnamvillle Superintendent Stanley Knight said. "We're very appreciative of the generous donation and support extended by the Indiana Horseman's Benevolent and Protection Association."
The Indiana TRF Chapter started as a vision of former Putnamville Superintendent Al C. Parke, and developed into a program modeled by other states.
Since its inception in 2007, and the arrival of the first six horses from Kentucky, 73 retired racehorses have been saved from slaughter and neglect.
Overall there have been 39 equine adoptions to therapeutic ranches for the handicap and disabled, St. Mary of the Woods University's equestrian program and to private owners.
"We're not just a retirement center for old horses that can no longer function," PCF Equine Management instructor Barbara Holcomb said.
"The majority of horses are viable and healthy just 'biting at the bit' for a second career," she added. "Many of our horses were adopted by St. Mary's equestrian team members and are eventing at novice and advanced level."
Presently 30 thoroughbreds gallop the pastures of Putnamville. Among the herd are Tin Man Comin and Crittenden, grandson and great-grandson of legendary Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
"Even offenders from suburban areas have a vague idea of who Secretariat is and are excited to have the chance to work with his offspring," Holcomb noted.
Putnamville's Equine Management Vocational Training program has not only provided retired race horses with a second chance, but also has benefited offenders. More than 80 offender graduates have been given a second chance to learn responsibility, empathy and skills that can make them employable after release.
Meanwhile, the much-publicized greyhound program benefits offender handlers in much the same way.
While the program is structured to socialize and acclimate the dogs to life outside a racetrack, greyhound volunteers provide instruction to offender handlers regarding care and feeding, anatomy and veterinary information and history of the breed.