By Francis LaBelle
Somehow, Debbie Green always manages to find time for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Debbie is the owner/operator of the 15-acre Green Hills Farm in Sherborn, MA. The 40-stall, hunter/jumper show barn is filled with horses from several trainers, including her daughter, Sara Taylor, who operates Dogwood Farm.
A retired nurse, Debbie once operated Golden Hills Investors, LLC in Ocala, FL, where she secured sponsorships for developmental level professional golf tournaments to promote Marion County. According to Sara, Debbie is also a terrific mom and grandma.
“My father, Bennett, is here a lot and my brother John, lives in the next town over in Medway, MA. so, we try to get together as much as we can,” Sara said. “My sister, Rebecca, lives in Houston, TX, and comes in about twice a year, so my mother loves having everyone over at the farm. She has a huge passion for her family and for the horses. She really loves the TRF, so all she does, never seems like work to her.”
TRF thinks the world of Debbie too.
On August 28, Debbie again hosted an end of summer music concert at Green Hills and raised approximately $3,500 for the TRF. The event featured The Back Pages Band, TC Scoops Ice Cream Bus, and about 80 friends and neighbors who thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
“It started off as just getting a band I liked and some ice cream,” Debbie laughed. “But people asked if there would be food. So, I made pulled pork in the slow cooker, threw some flour on my face, and told everyone I had been cooking for hours.”
Months earlier, Debbie and Sara welcomed TRF volunteers to Orchard Hill in Wellington, FL, the winter home for the nine horses of Sara’s Dogwood Farm. Debbie is already in Florida, and Sara will be down after one more show in Kentucky in October. According to Sara, Debbie has hosted similar fundraising events in the past where she was able to connect people and hopefully, make them aware of the TRF.
“I first learned about the TRF back in 2015, and I made a donation,” Debbie said. “We did the first fundraiser the next year here in Sherborn and we had music, food, a petting zoo, and about 145 people attended. That money helped to get a thoroughbred horse named Immortal Wink out of Puerto Rico and now he is at Lowell.”
The TRF’s Second Chances at the Lowell Correctional Facility in Ocala is one of several such programs that provides vocational training in horse care and stable management to students/inmates. Lowell, however, is the only Second Chances program run exclusively for women. Last year, the TRF added a Youth Program adjacent to Lowell. One reason Debbie left for Florida last month was to help the Florida Thoroughbred Charities with its annual golf tournament on October 7. In 2021, the tournament netted $40,000.
“This tournament was started in the 1960s by farm managers,” Debbie said. “Now, it’s for the Florida Thoroughbred Charities and the TRF has been a part of that. As of this writing, 144 players had signed up for the tournament at Ocala’s Stone Creek Golf Club, including former National Football League players Mike McBath, Mike Reilly, Reggie Branch, Gerald White, Steve Pisarkewicz, and Glen Ressler, along with former Major League Baseball player Bob Stinson.
“I remember at one of my tournaments, a bunch of former NFL players were hovering around this very short man, trying to get his autograph,” Debbie said. “Someone went up to him and said, ‘Shouldn’t you be trying to get their autographs, instead of the other way around?’ The man replied, `Well, I did win two Kentucky Derbies.’” The man was Hall of Fame jockey Jacinto Vasquez, who won the Run for the Roses with Foolish Pleasure (1975) and the filly , Genuine Risk (1980).
As busy as she is, Debbie has no plans to do less for the TRF.
“The concert at the end of the summer, and our gathering at the barn in Wellington helped us make a number of nice connections with people who want to help the TRF,” Debbie said. “It is a means of sharing your passion and reaching out to other people and hopefully, encouraging them to want to help out the TRF themselves by hosting these kinds of events.”