Our Mission

Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue is committed to the rescue, rehab and retraining of Thoroughbreds no longer able to race and to provide a safe haven for those unable to go on to new careers. ATBR is also dedicated to promoting public awareness of the issue of equine slaughter.

About Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue

John Hettinger, respected businessman and philanthropist, had a vision of keeping his 1000 acres of pristine land in Pawling, NY undeveloped so as to use the space to save Thoroughbred racehorses from slaughter. With this in mind, Mr. Hettinger founded Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue (ATBR) to fulfill his dream. He has deeded this property in perpetuity, to provide for the ongoing care of these horses. Since its' inception in April 2006, ATBR has rescued hundreds of horses directly from auctions such as New Holland where they are destined for slaughter. Many other horses have been shipped to Akindale from national organizations such as TRF, New Vocations and Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue. Horses that can no longer race, are still in their prime and are ready for new careers or even just as pasture ornaments or companion animals are given safe haven at Akindale. Mr. Hettinger was an extraordinary human being, whose compassion and dedication to this cause knew no bounds. As a life-long Thoroughbred owner and breeder, he had a vision of keeping these Thoroughbreds, who have given so much to so many, from a hard and cruel fate. Mr. Hettinger had long been a leading force in the on-going battle to end horse slaughter in the United States. He fought daily to have the necessary bills passed, making the slaughter of horses as well as the inhumane transportation of horses bound for slaughter over the US borders into Canada and Mexico, illegal.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hotstufantensome & Greeley’s Legacy – Sunday, February 6, 2011

Well after weeks of waiting for the weather and our schedules to cooperate, we were finally able to move Hotstuf and Greeley to the center of the farm. We knew they would each need a buddy in the field to make their transition to ATBR easier.

Hotstuf was being turned out alone in D’Accord’s field when the old man was inside. Greeley was out with Marvolo, an Akindale-bred 3 year old just retired from the track. Marvolo has been adopted by Grand Prix rider Eric Hasbrouck & his wife Denise, who will pick him upon their return from the winter show series in Wellington and it was evident that he needed someone … more his own age to play with.

So while today was Erin’s day off, we had to take advantage of the near blistering temperature … FORTY degrees! There was no storm front in sight for at least another 48 hours and the ice was actually beginning to melt! Yes, this was the day! My daughter Paige kept commenting that it felt like summer … so we had to seize the moment! We decided to walk the horses approximately a half mile from the stallion barn to the center of the farm. The drive is winding and was still quite icy in places and while I know with horses one should NEVER say “what could happen?” … I was kind of thinking it. Looking back on it now, it really was quite comical … from MY view point. Erin on the other hand, who is most likely home with her arm in an ice bath, may not be seeing the humor just yet.

Little Hotstuf came out of his stall like he was springing from the starting gate. With ears perked, head straight up and all fours mostly in the air, he was ready to go! Greeley, one of the two equine loves of my life, was standing patiently, one ear up, mostly trying to play with the chain over his nose and retrieve peppermints from my jacket pocket. We trailed Erin and Hotstuf as we descended the barn and headed for greener (or snowier as it were) pastures. Suffice it to say that Hotstuf was on an adventure and determined to enjoy every last stride of it. He was sideways, backwards, up & striking, bucking and spinning. As usual Erin was completely un-phased and continuing down the road as though she were leading a child on a pony ride. Then we came upon fields on either side filled with horses galloping along the fence line to greet us. Needless to say this did not help Erin’s case at all. Even Greeley at this point was starting to snort and pick his feet up a bit higher … and quicker. Hotstuf was acting like a stud realizing he was ready for his next appointment. And Erin, still un-phased, was beginning to look as though her right arm was quite a bit longer than her left.

Finally, we caught sight of Evening, Tac & Remington, which meant we were almost there. Hotstuf and Greeley were going to live in their barn and be turned out during the day in the field directly across. As is always the case with new residents, EA was the first at the gate to check them out … and give his blessing. We put HS & Gree in stalls facing each other while we prepared to bring them out for their initial meeting. First went Hotstuf, through the gate then rearing and striking … then nothing. This is his MO … he acts like a loon on his way to the paddock and then with camera in hand, ready for the impending antics … he just stands there. Time to turn Greeley out with him and hope all goes well. In the gate and off the lead, they walked toward each other and it was instant friendship … really rather anticlimactic. We watched and took pictures for the better part of 40 minutes and not one dirty kick or bite was seen. They played a little rough but nothing harmful. When we returned an hour later, they were still stuck to each other, biting halters, blankets and withers. Greeley looked at us as if to say “thanks for recognizing the need to put me in with another seasoned stakes horse!” Hotstuf seemed thrilled to have a playmate. It appears it is a match made in heaven! (And while all this was taking place, EA was busy in his field giving Tac a blanket “wedgy” while Tac was attempting to rip the buckles off the front end).

And that is how the friendship of Hotstufantensome and Greeley’s Legacy began.

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