Old Friends is an equine retirement community near Georgetown, Kentucky – one of those great grassroots animal welfare projects that just keeps growing and growing. It began in 2003 as one man's response to the thoroughbred racing industry's failure to humanely provide for horses no longer earning their keep. A decade later, Michael Blowen's vision is a safe and loving home for many of racing's past champions, as well as for other horses discarded by the harsh side of the business. Most of these horses would have ended up in slaughterhouses were it not for Old Friends; instead these animals are growing old with dignity and excellent care on farms in Kentucky and New York. Together with Blowen's untiring efforts these beautiful old veterans are inspiring children, racing fans, industry insiders and policy makers to re-think the treatment and fate of the tens of thousands of America's equine athletes.
My chance encounter with Old Friends during its first year proved to be life-changing for me. I was instantly on board with their spirit and objective. The horses and their stories helped me define my mission to create art that helps animals, and this led me to expand into equine art.
Proceeds from the sale of any print of an Old Friends horse are earmarked for their ongoing care. And this is one place where our donations really are ethically managed for the support of the animals – I know this first-hand from my annual trips to Kentucky. Visit their website www.oldfriendsequine.org, or even better, visit in person. You will be moved, and maybe even inspired.