Blackburn Corrections Complex (BCC) manages on of seven Second Chances Farms for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) and the only one in Kentucky. The Second Chances Farm at Blackburn is currently home to 57 thoroughbreds that are retired or have an otherwise limited athletic future.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation began its mission of horses helping people and people helping horses at Wallkill Correctional Facility in New York and its home office is in Sarasota Springs, NY. Blackburn's Second Chance farm was opened in 1999 and was the third farm for TRF to open. To date it is the largest TRF Second Chances Farm.
Officially opening on November 19, 1999 in the middle of horse country in Lexington, KY, the farm is visible from interstate 64 between Lexington and Frankfort. Inmates renovated an old dairy barn that now houses horse stables, a washroom, tool room, office, and classroom. At the opening ceremony, Penny Chenery, owner of champion Secretariat was on hand to cut the ribbon. The thoroughbred retirement farm utilizes 100 acres of the 456 acres of Blackburn's property. The Foundation provides an $82,000 annual budget in addition to the state providing the land, equipment, security, and labor to manage the retirement farm.
In addition to inmates gaining experiential and practical knowledge in horse care and farm management, they are able to participate in a 6-month long program that teaches everything from basic veterinary care and biology/anatomy to grooming, dental care, and training. The program is led by the Farm Manager and requires the successful scoring of a 300-question exam to graduate at which time the inmate is eligible to receive 90 days off his sentence. To enter the program inmates must already have a GED and demonstrate a period of clear conduct as well as maintain clear conduct to remain in the program. This has proven to help inmates be better prepared for employment upon release.
Additional, inmates have shared that the program and work that they participate in with TRF is therapeutic and beneficial in changing behavior. For more information on the Second Chances Farms and the relationship between the Kentucky Department of Correction's Blackburn Correctional Complex, and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, you can visit the BCC TRF Website.