TRF Second Chances Ranch at Vandalia opened in June 2013.  Every 6 months, approximately 25 inmates at the minimum-security Vandalia Correctional Facility will participate in the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances vocational program.  

Watch the TV Segment that aired on WAND in March 2019

“The Illinois Department of Corrections is thrilled to be a part of this unique program and I am so thankful for all of the efforts of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation,” said former Illinois DOC chief of program services Deb Denning. “The resources that the TRF is providing will assist the department in offering this program to inmates at no cost to taxpayers. I believe the opportunities this program will provide to our inmates will greatly assist them in finding employment post-incarceration which is a proven factor in lowering recidivism rates.”

The program is funded by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the Illinois Department of Corrections Office of Adult Education & Vocational Services, and the Illinois Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association.


Meet the Manager: Alyssa Haney

“I started in the equine industry at a young age taking lessons and showing. At age 12 my mother bought me my first horse, “Little” is a 16+  hand gelding that came off Fairmont Racetrack.  What I was always told was a phase, led me to my passion of horses. In 2008 I was offered a job in Reno, NV training allrounders, starting colts, showing and going to horse fairs and expos as an ambassador.  A few years passed and I attended Kansas State University to study Animal  and Equine science, along with student teaching the hands on advance groundwork class. In 2013 I moved back to Illinois and my husband and I started our own small hobby horse farm and mostly training for outside clients. May of 2017 I had heard about a opening at Vandalia Correctional Facility for the TRF Second Chances Program; teaching and caring for retired thoroughbreds. Going on my second year at the program, I could not have found a better way to share and continue with my passion.” -Alyssa

  • Fast Facts- Alyssa also ponied at Fairmont Racetrack for 2 semesters while in High School!
Alyssa Haney and her personal horse, 2018