Equine Equipment is proud to announce the conclusion of its inaugural “For the Good” program for 2019 with almost a dozen aftercare programs being helped by a donation of a Toro or Exmark commercial mower for the summer mowing season. The initiative was launched as a way to give back and show support for the horse industry and the equine athletes after they leave the track.
“We’ve always tried to give back to the industry, but we wanted to create a special program to do even more. With the tremendous support of Toro and Exmark and horsemen’s groups around North America, we were able to help some very worthy aftercare facilities and allow them to direct some of their limited funding to other aspects of their operation,” said Steve Andersen, founder of Equine Equipment. “I’m very pleased we were able to make 11 donations this year, and we are already looking forward to doing even more next year.”
Among the programs that were previously announced as recipients of mower donations were the Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation in Oklahoma, ReRun in New York (in memory of Rick Violette Jr.), After the Races in Maryland, War Horses at Rose Bower in Virginia, New Vocations at Mereworth Farm in Kentucky and Step Ahead Thoroughbred Retirement in Florida (in memory of Kent Stirling).
In addition to those donations of a mower to be used in 2019, a Toro mower was donated to the Maryland Jockey Club and was raffled off prior to the Preakness Stakes with proceeds benefiting the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
The final four donations for 2019 are listed below:
New Vocations at Ridgewood Stables in Medina, Ohio, took delivery of a Toro mower to help maintain their facility. New Vocations was founded in 1992 and has helped place more than 6,000 retired racehorses through its numerous facilities around the country. The donation was supported by the Ohio HBPA and Penn Gaming.
“This mower will help us greatly reduce our mowing time, and we are thankful for the efforts of Equine Equipment, the Ohio HBPA and Toro, who see us as worthy to receive this gift,” said Cathy Long, facility director and trainer for the New Vocations facility in Medina. “We have limited budgets and anytime someone donates a mower like this it helps us with other things we are always in need of.”
“The Ohio HBPA is happy to contribute $50,000 yearly to New Vocations to help cover the expenses they incur in retraining and rehoming Thoroughbreds off of Ohio racetracks, but our contribution doesn’t fully cover those expenses,” said Dave Basler, executive director of the Ohio HBPA. “We are glad that along with Equine Equipment we can provide the use of this mower to further reduce expenses for New Vocations in Ohio.”
“Both Hollywood Gaming properties in Ohio—Dayton Raceway and Mahoning Valley Race Course—have been strong supporters of the New Vocations program and the tireless efforts they put forth to rehab and rehome the great equine athletes participating in Ohio,” said Mark Loewe, VP of Racing for Penn National Gaming Inc. “We welcome any opportunity to support their work and program in the state.”
MidAtlantic Horse Rescue Inc., which since 2002 has helped more than 1,000 horses in the region, also received a Toro mower. This donation was supported by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Horse Council.
“We are so excited about this opportunity,” said Beverly Strauss, executive director/president of MidAtlantic Horse Rescue Inc. “With 40 retired Thoroughbreds to care for and get ready for adoption, it is essential to have a high quality, reliable and efficient mower. Less time mowing means more time in the saddle, which means our horses are the real winners! This means so much to our team here at MidAtlantic Horse Rescue.”
“We are excited to be working with Steve Andersen at Equine Equipment to give our members the great benefits of significant discounts on Toro and other equipment and services, but it is even better for us and our members when our partners also support the great causes in the Maryland horse industry,” said Neil Agate, president of the Maryland Horse Council. “Equine Equipment’s gift of a Toro mower to Bev Strauss and the great folks at MidAtlantic Horse Rescue is a tribute to them and the entire Maryland horse industry.”
LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society located in Hillsburg, Ontario, added a Canadian location to the list of facilities receiving use of a Toro mower. The facility took delivery of a Toro 5000 Series mower.
“Toro is the worldwide leader in turf and irrigation, and we have saved thousands of farms million of dollars,” said Andersen. “We serve the U.S. and Canada and sell many mowers to our Canadian friends, so to help LongRun was a good step toward showing support for a great breeding and racing program like they have in Canada. We serve all farms and facilities big or small with full-line offerings of equipment farms use daily.”
LongRun, which operates on 100 acres near Toronto, is a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited organization with a mission to give Thoroughbred racehorses “loving, adoptive homes and, perhaps, alternative careers, ensuring them the dignified and happy retirement they so richly deserve.”
The Toro mower was donated in coordination with local dealer WPE Landscape Equipment in conjunction with the HBPA of Ontario and Ontario Thoroughbred Horse Society.
“Toro is a great industry partner for helping LongRun,” said longtime trainer John Charalombous. “When Steve called me about helping them, I knew it was a good fit. They help our athletes for a life after racing, so this is a win-win for all and as a horseman it’s good to see such a worthwhile donation.”
“LongRun does such great work, and we are delighted Equine Equipment reached out to us on behalf of Toro,” added trainer Josie De Paulo. “LongRun can now devote more resources to the horse, which is what they are all about, so this is fantastic. Toro has shown true support with this mower donation, and I applaud their efforts. The horse world should not only take advantage the savings but also support those who support our industry.”
“It was very nice to tour the facility and meet the people involved in re-purposing these beautiful horses,” said Dan Vandenburg, commercial sales-territory manager for WPE.
“We are so appreciative for the opportunity to use quality equipment on the farm,” said Tracey Knoblauch, manager of farm operations for LongRun. “With 100 acres and 54 horses to care for, this Toro 5000 Series mower will certainly help relieve some of the time constraints while keeping the landscape in pristine condition. We take great pride in our facility and our mission to help these incredible athletes transition to new careers and retirement from the racetrack. We couldn’t do it without the help and support through generous donations by individuals and wonderful organizations like Equine Equipment. I would like to personally thank Steve Andersen for arranging this very generous usage donation and for choosing LongRun to benefit. Thank you for all that you do for equine charities across North America.”
Equine Equipment also took the initiative outside of the Thoroughbred world and donated an Exmark mower to the Standardbred Transition Alliance, which is similar to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance but for harness racing. More details will be announced about that donation in the near future.