Some inmates in the Maryland state prison system are hoping to make their lives after prison better by working with retired racehorses. The prisoners benefit from learning new skills as well as the compassion and patience it takes to work with the horses. We’ve seen successful programs like this before, but with dogs — never with horses.
That’s right; prisoners who once turned to robbing, stealing, and drug use now find hope in the beautiful horses they meet — and are provided with the self awareness only a horse can give a man.
The groundbreaking “Second Chances” program was created by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation as a way to rescue racing horses who are injured and would otherwise be put down, slaughtered, or abused. The team had a vision, but they needed somewhere to put the horses. That’s when they had the brilliant idea to put them in a correctional institution to not only make good use out of the vast, extra land, but also teach the inmates how to take care of horses. The inmates become grooms, and after the inmates graduate from the program, the team works to help prepare them for job-hunting. Finally, these men are proud of themselves and have tangible achievements they can actually show potential hirers.
In the video below, you’ll meet Albert and Russell, two men who graduate from the groom elite class and go on to achieve some pretty remarkable things. Their appreciation with and love for the horses is unbelievable to watch. Even better? Programs like this one helps decrease the likelihood that an inmate will return to prison.
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