Transforming Thoroughbreds

Run for the Ribbons Inc. provides off-track Thoroughbreds with a foundation for new lives.

As a lifelong Thoroughbred horsewoman, Laurine Fuller-Vargas knew she needed to do her part to help ex-racehorses transition to new homes and careers.

“In 2014, we founded Run for the Ribbons Inc. as a non-profit program to aid Thoroughbred racehorses,” says Fuller-Vargas, who established the 501(c)(3) operation at her Morriston-based Cedar Lock Farm. “It began as a two-ring hunter/jumper show series exclusively for off-track Thoroughbreds. This provides a competitive environment to showcase second-career options and raise demand for these horses. We have six to eight shows a year, generally from September through December.”

Encouraged by the response to the Run for the Ribbons show series, a ring was then opened to all breeds to generate extra funding. The program was also expanded in 2015 to a retraining, retirement and networking operation. 

“At Cedar Lock Farm, we focus on rescue, rehabilitation, re-training and re-homing. The farm is also our retirement facility,” says Fuller-Vargas. “The networking program on our website consists of trainers and owners who have Thoroughbreds available straight from Florida racetracks and training centers. We don’t own these horses, so prospective buyers are responsible for making the necessary contacts.”

In 2017, Run for the Ribbons successfully debuted the Florida Thoroughbred Transformation Expo at the Florida Horse Park. That initial success led to the 2nd Annual FTT Expo this past April 27-29, where off-track Thoroughbreds competed in eight disciplines.

“The horses compete in such events as barrel racing, polo, cross country, show jumping and working ranch horse,” says Fuller-Vargas. “This expo really shows how athletic and talented Thoroughbreds can be off the racetrack. It has really helped our cause and put many ex-racehorses in new homes with new careers. We’re already looking forward to our third show.”

Another facet of Run for the Ribbons is its Full Strides With Thoroughbreds, a youth mentoring program for underprivileged community youth. Participating children are provided with the opportunity to learn about, care for, ride and compete while learning skills for possible employment in the equine industry.

“Of course, everyone who competes likes to win awards,” says Fuller-Vargas. “Our Run for the Ribbons Horse Show Series Annual Year-End Awards Banquet takes care of that. It also serves as our main fundraiser. We invite everyone to join us on Saturday, August 4, in supporting off-track Thoroughbreds going on to have new lives.”

Learn more › Laurine Fuller-Vargas › (774) 328-1760 › runfortheribbons.org › Cedar Lock Farm, 14650 NW Hwy 464B, Morriston › RFTR Horse Show Series Annual Year-End Awards Banquet › Saturday, August 4 at 5:30pm at Golden Hills Golf & Turf Club

To purchase tickets, go to runfortheribbons.org

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