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Equine Welfare Network Messenger

We are a 2017 Messenger!

We are proud to be an EQUUS Foundation Messenger and share our horse care & use practices with the public.

The Messenger Designation is awarded annually. To retain an existing EQUUS Foundation Messenger designation and apply for an EQUUS Foundation grant in 2017, organizations must provide all required information and update their Messenger information on or after January 1, 2017 and not later than April 30, 2017.



Messengers are organizations on the Equine Welfare Network that demonstrate a commitment to public transparency and accountability by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their operations.

Click here to learn more about our horse care and use practices.

Maker's Mark Secretariat Center



Maker's Mark Secretariat Center
4089 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington KY 40511
859-246-3080

Tax ID/EIN: 45-3536475
Year Founded: 2012
Last Updated 2017-04-29

Public Charity


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Primary Focus involving horses (Horse Welfare, Public Service, Sport & Recreation):  Horse Welfare

Our organization operates programs involved with horse rescue, foster care, rehabilitation, adoption and/or retirement.

Our organization's primary activity is equine rescue & adoption.

Our organization is directly responsible for the care of horses to provide its services.

100% of our total programs and services are horse-related.


Our Mission/How we are involved with horses:
Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center is dedicated to reschooling and matching former racehorses to new homes in suitable second careers. The MMSC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit horse adoption program. From the Kentucky Horse Park we advocate to the world the importance of aftercare. Our program aspires to echo the dignity and integrity of the American Thoroughbred.

Horse-related programs:
All MMSC horses welcomed onto campus are matriculated into the Horse Centered ReSchooling Program (HCRP). Developed by MMSC Director, Susanna Thomas, a lifelong horsewoman and holistic thinker, the HCRP is based on the belief that to reschool a horse successfully and expeditiously, its mind, body, and spirit all must be tended to with equal care. Once the horse arrives at the MMSC, it is reviewed by a team of experts: dentist, farrier, vet, nutrition specialist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and various practitioners of alternative therapies to ensure that the horse is as balanced physically from the onset, as it can be. From there horses are assessed for temperament and learning style in a round pen, using natural horsemanship and Tellington-Jones techniques, as well as mounted police “bomb-proofing” desensitization exercises. Training progresses classically then with in hand ground work, lunging and long lining, followed by interdisciplinary introductions to dressage, jumping, trail riding, cross country work, and, when possible, horse shows. This process can be made very flexible, and each horse progress through the program at its own pace. The MMSC staff monitor each horse through every step in order to avoid pushing it when it is not ready to be pushed or allowing it to advance too quickly and skip necessary steps, creating gaps in knowledge. The goal of this unique training program is to figure out who the horse is inherently, what its “horsenality” is like, to strengthen its weaknesses, to heal its wounds, whether they be physical, mental, or spiritual, to “find out what the horse wants to be when it grows up,” and then to find the perfect person to adopt it.<br /><br />The MMSC also offers off-track Thoroughbreds for adoption in the Noble Horse Program. Noble horses are those that either need time to unwind and heal before they can commence a second career or those who may have a more limited athletic future due to an injury or age. Noble horses are boarded at a separate campus. They are evaluated by the MMSC, but have not been matriculated in our regular HCRP. The reduced nature of their adoption fees reflect the lack of training time and the possibility that their athletic careers may be limited.<br /><br />The MMSC launched in 2016 a custom training program. This post-adoption care program offers flexibility in care and continued training for newly adopted horses. The program is designed for adopters who live out of state and need time to plan shipping for their new horse or for adopters who would like their new horse to gain more training either on the ground or under saddle prior to going home. Enrolling the newly adopted horse in our post-adoption and Custom Training Program will ensure the mind and body of the horse are kept active and engaged. The horse will continue learning and growing in the adopter's chosen discipline until the day it ships out. This custom training plan can be tailored to the adopter's wants and needs, ensuring their horse steps off the trailer at their new home fit and ready to begin their new life.<br /><br />Also in 2016, the MMSC launched with the ASCPA's support the Clean Start: Let Down and Lay Up Program. Like soldiers returning from war, off-track Thoroughbreds have aching muscles and limbs, ulcers, and sometimes PTSD. They need time to heal - mentally, emotionally, and physically - and to learn to just be horses again. The MMSC's Clean Start program will allow horses to go directly from the track to a nearby farm for let down and lay up. Here they can unwind physically and mentally so they will be ready when they come to the MMSC to commence the Horse Centered Reschooling Program℠, a rigorous training curriculum that gives them solid foundations for loving new homes. This will allow horses to progress more quickly through the HCRP, enabling the MMSC to help rehome even more off-track Thoroughbreds.

Non-horse-related programs:
The MMSC offers internship programs in the spring, fall, and summer of each year. Spring and fall internships run 12 weeks. Students are required to work a minimum of two mornings during the week (Tuesday - Friday) and all day Saturday in addition. Interns are also expected to attend all educational field trips if their class schedule allows. We may take 3 field trips a semester, some of which have included the Churchill Downs Museum, Keeneland behind the scenes, the North American Racing Academy, KESMARC and many others. Summer internship sessions are flexible in length but must be no shorter than two weeks in duration. Students are expected to work a full eight hour day, five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday.

Two types of internships are offered - 1, a horse training and barn management internship and 2, a communications and business internship. The horse training internship exposes students to all that goes into transitioning a Thoroughbred for a new career using the Horse Centered Reschooling Program® developed by director Susanna Thomas. Interns will learn horse care and barn management and get an overview of what goes into running a farm including machine and equipment upkeep, paddock and field “repair,” ring and barn maintenance, as well as evaluating and prioritizing farm costs. A communications position gives students an idea of what it takes to run a not for profit business, everything from budgeting to fundraising, event planning to media outreach. Interns will be very involved in the day to day running of the MMSC business, from contributing to social media, orchestrating educational and fundraising events, to helping price and inventory merchandise, to greeting guests and conducting tours of the facility. Should they be competent riders, we give most communications interns the chance to work with the horses as well!

The MMSC welcomes volunteers of all ages, all professional backgrounds, and all levels of equestrian knowledge and ability. Everyone who volunteers at the MMSC comes, like each of our horses, with unique abilities. We need people in the barn, in the office, in our garden area and in our woods. We could use fundraisers and stamp-lickers, event organizers and seamstresses, mechanics and graphic artists, fence painters and, yes, even musicians! Come one, come all! “One criteria,” says Director Susanna Thomas, “is no volunteers in diapers—at either end of the spectrum!” Volunteers go through an orientation and are then welcome to come as much or as little as they desire. Volunteers are not allowed to ride the horses due to insurance limitations.


Volunteer Opportunities


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Wish List Items


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