MMSC Receives Grant from The EQUUS Foundation

October 5, 2017
Contact: Susanna Thomas

Lexington, KY--The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a 2017 grant from The EQUUS Foundation to support the MMSC’s Clean Start: Let Down and Lay Up Program, an off-site initiative for Thoroughbreds coming directly off the track that need rest and rehabilitation prior to being retrained for new careers.

"We are thrilled to support Makers Mark Secretariat Center again this year and help Thoroughbreds find their way home to new careers and new purposes,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

Like soldiers returning from war, off-track Thoroughbreds have aching muscles and limbs, ulcers, and sometimes PTSD. They need time to heal-mentally, emotionally, and physically – and to learn to just be horses again. The Clean Start Program covers the costs of horses so they can go from the track to a nearby farm to unwind physically and mentally before commencing the rigorous training curriculum of the MMSC’s Horse Centered Reschooling Program℠ that gives them solid foundations for loving new homes. 

“The American Thoroughbred is an incredibly intelligent, powerful, willing, and versatile creature that can do so much, in addition to being a natural athlete. There is no limit to what these amazing horses can do and yet, sadly, so many Thoroughbreds find themselves at risk each year and in dire need of rescue and second chances. Maker's Mark Secretariat Center gives Thoroughbred horses a new lease on life and, as always, we are excited to support their wonderful work," said Valerie Angeli, EQUUS Foundation VP Communications.

Thanks to the support of The EQUUS Foundation, the MMSC has welcomed five new horses into the Clean Start Program recently, all of which hail from Mountaineer in West Virginia.

“There are horses at racetracks all over the United States that need new jobs and homes,” says MMSC Executive Director Susanna Thomas. “Most trainers want to do the right thing but lack the contacts and funds to rehab and transition their horses successfully. We reached out in August to Mountaineer and were so pleased that several trainers we willing to donate their horses to us. We are so grateful for the EQUUS Foundation’s generosity so that we can be a viable link for trainers and a safe haven for the horses they give us!”

The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., established in August 2002 as a 501(c)(3) national charitable foundation, seeks to raise public awareness of the value of the horse in society through education and the awarding of grants to charities that use the horse to benefit the public, promote the health and welfare of horses, and elevate the equestrian sport as a whole.


The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) is a premier non-profit re-schooling facility and showcase for adoptable Thoroughbreds. Founded in 2004, the MMSC uses its illustrious location in the Kentucky Horse Park to herald the athleticism of this amazing breed by teaching new skill sets to horses of all levels of ability so they can go on to be ambassadors for racehorses in new careers. The initial funding came from Maker’s Mark, Keeneland Race Course, and private donors. Today the MMSC is supported solely by donations, grants, and adoption fees. Director Susanna Thomas brought the Horse Centered Reschooling Program to the MMSC. It is a holistic interdisciplinary training program compromised of three distinct phases: body, spirit, and mind. Potential adopters must fill out an application and when approved come to the MMSC to try the horse/s to make sure that the fit between horse and adopter is a good one. The MMSC is open to the public and welcomes visitors. For more information visit and follow the MMSC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.