Horses get new life after the racetrack

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When you hear the term thoroughbred you think race horse. But a Cortland woman is transforming thoroughbreds so that anyone can ride them.

Laura Wiencek with Win-Seek Performance Horses in Cortland is working with a four-year old female thoroughbred horse named Spade. Instead of racing around the track in Kentucky, she is in Cortland now learning new skills at a slightly slower pace.

“We take 100 days to take these horses and take them from being the racetrack horse and do something different with them,” said Wiencek.

The competition that Spade is being retrained for is hosted by Dreaming of Three, an organization that is dedicated to charitable fund-raising through their passion for horses and rodeo. In addition to that, the program is giving old race horses a second chance at life.

“I just believe in giving them a second chance at something better instead of go go go down the racetrack,” said Debbie Roscoe, Win Seek barn manager.

Wiencek said the horses that come off the track have so much more in them after their racing career. She is devoted to retraining the horses to make them calm, approachable and rideable for just about anyone. She said a horse that has raced on a track could eventually become a trail horse for leisurely riding or some other type of competition.

“What we are trying to do is find a home for them after the fact so something does not happen to them where they don’t all end up in the English industry,” said Wiencek. “We show them there is something else they can do.”

Wiencek said one of the greatest joys for her is seeing kids jump and ride a thoroughbred that is usually reserved for professional riders.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought that a racehorse that had a jockey on it, that was going mach one down the track was going to drop her head down and let this 7-year-old girl ride her,” she said.

What started out as an opportunity for Wiencek to rehabilitate the horses has turned into an obsession. She picked up her first thoroughbred horse in March and now has five, giving them all a second chance after the racetrack.

“There are a million of them out there and that is pretty much a goal to rehabilitate them,” said Wiencek.

The Extreme Retired Racehorse Makeover competition is scheduled for August 2 at the Simmons Equestrian Center in Negley, Ohio. For more information on Dreaming of Three and Win Seek Performance horses, their programs, lessons and riding schedule call 724-301-2244 or online at

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