On May 14, 2019 the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation announced the establishment of the Blackburn Fund dedicated to the care of the horses that reside at the TRF Second Chances Program at Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington. The Blackburn Fund was created in honor of longtime farm manager, Linda Dyer, to celebrate her extraordinary service to the horses and inmates in the TRF Second Chances Program at Blackburn.
TDN Article (June 2019): After Giving Second Chances to So Many, A Retirement Well Earned
About the Blackburn Fund
Mr. John R. Murrell, a longtime racing owner and supporter of the TRF, shared, “Linda is truly an exceptional person. Her knowledge and dedication to the horses combined with her powerful impact on the men she has taught over these years cannot be understated.”
Mr. Murrell and his wife, Kelley, have made the inaugural gift to launch the Blackburn Fund in honor of the horses Linda has cared for over many years. “I challenge and invite every horseman who knows Linda to join me in this effort to establish a lasting legacy for her service, through a fund dedicated to the horses who have been her highest priority for so many years.”
The annual target for the Blackburn Fund of $83,000 will provide for the care of the horses at Blackburn for one year. Fundraising will continue for years to come as a lasting legacy to honor Ms. Dyer’s devotion to the horses and the men of Blackburn.
About Linda Dyer
Linda’s knowledge and demeanor have had a profound effect on the horses in TRF’s care and the men who learn from her. Linda grew up riding horses in Lexington and has always been horse crazy. “I was born that way,” she says. “I was an A Circuit Show Groom. My father died when I was 15 so have worked pretty much since. I broke yearlings, galloped, prepped, brought back lay-ups, handled stallions, foaled over a 1,000 Mares, bred mares, and managed thoroughbred farms my whole life.”
Linda’s love of horses has led to a lifetime of working with them in just about every way possible. “I love show hunters, trained and showed them, taught riding, I was then introduced to eventing and totally fell in love with that sport!”
Linda always felt like the TRF Blackburn Second Chances program was a natural fit because she could give back to the horses that have given her so much. “Pay It Forward!!” Linda says. “I enjoy teaching and sharing what I have learned about the subject that I love the most—horses!!”
Linda wrote the teaching program at Blackburn, including the 300-question test that each inmate must pass in order to graduate. Also while under her leadership, TRF Blackburn has been in one documentary, three books, and two doctorate studies which provided supporting evidence of the program’s ability to cut recidivism almost in half. Throughout her years of service, Linda’s reputation as a horsewoman of the highest caliber has been recognized throughout the Kentucky Thoroughbred community.