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Second Chances at Putnamville Graduates Three

Eight years after welcoming the first six retired Thoroughbreds to the Putnamville Correctional Facility in Indiana, the announced the first three graduates of its Horse Barn Groom Elite Program on June 8.

“Our goal is to provide offenders with programs that promote personal responsibility and afford them the opportunity to learn marketable job skills,” said PCF Superintendent Brian Smith. “The partnership between Putnamville and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, through programs such as this, enable us to achieve those goals, while saving the lives of retired race horses in the process.”

The participants — James Harrison, Wade Anshutz and George Shuler – worked daily with the 32 horses in the Putnamville herd, The horses range in age from 10 to 30 years old and completed the vocational course in equine care, addressing such topics as anatomy and confirmation; height, weight and fitness; behavior; feed and the digestive system; legs and bandaging; shedrow safety; equipment and tacking up and test barn procedures. After completing the course, the graduates received a Groom Elite Certificate as well as eligibility for a six-month reduction in their sentences.

The course, which takes between six to nine months to complete, readies graduates for careers at racetracks and show barns upon release.

“The Equine Program here at Putnamville Correctional Facility is a learning experience for the offenders and horses alike,” said PCF/ Equine Program Coordinator Terri Russ. “It takes more than just a love for horses; it takes desire and dedication to care for these horses every day and successfully complete this program. My hat is off to these graduates; they did a great job.”

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