2023 in Review
Last year was a year of progress and achievement for The Horse Fund. We assisted in numerous retirements and met fundraising goals. We also became more diligent in our oversight of our former horses. Of course, there were frustrations, but thankfully they were minimal in comparison to our victories.
In 2023, we assisted in the retirement of 13 Wasabi Ventures Stables (WVS) horses. We retired nine horses who were still in the WVS barns. For four of those horses, we facilitated their retirements via aftercare organizations to whom we made donations of $1,000 or more. The other five horses were retired via private owners at no cost to The Horse Fund.
The remaining four horses were no longer in the barns of Wasabi Ventures Stables and were acquired via private purchase. Three were retired via aftercare groups, and one was rehomed with a WVS club member. Each of these purchases cost between $3,200 and $4,000.
We published 35 articles on our website last year. Of those articles, we had 21 updates on retirements, private purchases, and retirees. We also posted 14 interviews with supporters of The Horse Fund and aftercare organizations. The Horse Fund published 31 videos on YouTube in 2023. We currently receive annual updates on 43 retirees; that is an increase of 13 horses during the year. We intend to add more retirees to our tracking in 2024.
While some of these horses were added to our tracking when they retired in 2023, others were found through internet sleuthing. On a regular basis, I search for retired WVS runners, whose retirement paths are unknown. One such example is Union Blues. He was claimed away from WVS in October 2017 and retired from racing in May 2019. In November 2023, I found him via Facebook and now will receive annual updates.
In 2023 we successfully raised over $38,000 for aftercare. Our major fundraiser, 12 Days of Giving, raised over $11,000 during the event. We also nearly doubled our recurring, monthly donors from 10 to 19 by year end. We also received over $9,500 via donations made from club member horse purchases at WVS. Amazingly, over 95% of WVS club members opt to donate $5 when purchasing a share of a horse.
The biggest source of frustration was and is traceability. When a horse has no workouts or race entries for 60 days, I do my best to communicate with the horse’s owner and/or trainer. If I do not receive a response, it leaves a large question mark as to the whereabouts of the horse. It seems unfathomable that a horse can simply fall off the map of horse racing, but it does. This year I had a few horses fall into this category. While I continue to search for them regularly, some end up in the unknown section of my spreadsheet.
Although I have been tracking all of the current and former Wasabi horses since 2021, in 2023 I became even more dedicated to this. Not only do I record all works and entries, but I also watch almost every single race in which these horses are entered. Being able to see a horse finish fifth, as opposed to just read about it, gives a much better perspective on the state of the horse. It’s not uncommon for me to be watching a race in the middle of a weekday afternoon as part of my job.
Last year truly was a success on all levels. In 2024 as we continue to track these horses, both before and after retirement, we hope to make a greater impact in the world of thoroughbred aftercare. We want not only to educate others on the importance of aftercare but also to inspire other horse ownership groups to take a more proactive stance.
To take a peek at the thirteen retirees of 2023, please click here.