Horses thrive when they have a purpose, a job. They are also happiest when they have a routine. The Thoroughbred broodmare gives her all: First on the racetrack and then through the breeding shed. They generally understand their role and thrive. Upon retirement, the role of the broodmare changes… they no longer have a job. They have no purpose.
For some mares, the end of their reproductive years marks the end of their days of being useful. They are fed and given basic care but are no longer the focus of attention. Instead of a routine based on a purpose, their lives become that of maintenance alone. While these mares may not thrive or be happiest, they are not generally at risk.
Still other aging mares are sold at auction when they are nearing the end of their reproductive years. Their reproductive days are almost over. Without means to support themselves through foals, they are in danger of becoming a financial liability. Once that happens, their very lives are in danger.
Other mares are simply "put out to pasture," perhaps with the misguided belief that all horses are happiest when left on their own. They no longer get daily meals and are often forced to fend for themselves. They may or may not get general maintenance care such as vet, dental, and farrier care.
Without a bond with a devoted human or a means to support herself, the mare becomes a financial liability.
All of these mares still have a productive role in the horse industry. Many have fans that would love a chance to meet them "in person," and others can be great educational opportunities.
Our Mims Retirement Haven’s mission is three-part:
Our Mims Retirement Haven is named for Calumet Farm’s 1977 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Filly. When she was a teenager, OMRH Founder Jeanne Mirabito witnessed an Our Mims race on television. She pointed to the screen and brashly announced to her family, "One day I will own that horse." Years later, finding a retired Mims abandoned in a cattle field, Jeanne rescued the mare and, with the help of a local equine rescue, brought Mims to her farm. With a deep affection and knowledge of horse care and nutrition, Jeanne brought Mims back to health.
When Our Mims succumbed to colic in 2005, Jeanne promised the elder mare that she would never be forgotten. Using her extensive experience with older equines, Jeanne created OMRH, a place for Thoroughbred broodmares to come and remain until the end of their days. The Ladies, as they are called, are tended to with love and devotion... and respect. The mares thrive under Jeanne's touch, as she provides them with appropriate and timely veterinary, farrier, and dental care.
OMRH received the letter of acknowledgement for 501(c)3 status from the IRS on March 8, 2007, Mim’s birthday. The Haven’s first official resident was Sugar and Spice, Mim’s half-sister. Since then, the Haven has housed the famous and not-so-famous, all receiving the same expert and loving care. Taba, My Turbulent Miss, Jamra, and Exactly So were the first group of mares to arrive. Alabama Nana, Hana Bride, and Timeless Sue joined the herd one at a time. Irvina, Little Miss Porter, and Smokies Love are names that may not be known to the average Thoroughbred fan, but they all spent the last days of their lives being cared for by Jeanne and her volunteers.
Today the Haven is home to Ms. Royal Flagship, Princess Royale, Missy White Oak, Blue Viking, Trail Guide, Dogwood Patty, Excitig Bucket, and an unknown Thoroughbred mare we call "Lady Jane." Our Mims’ grandson, Elmhurst (winner of the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Sprint), arrived at the Haven in October of 2011.
Fans are now able to see the ex-racers, the mothers, the grandmothers, and the great-grandmothers of their Thoroughbred favorites. Eclipse Champion photographer Barbara Livingston appreciates the work of the Haven so much, she included an entire chapter about Jeanne and the Ladies in her book, More Old Friends. The Haven was awarded the Paris/Bourbon County Farm of the Year in 2012.
Our Mims Retirement Haven houses and cares for eleven horses: 10 Thoroughbred mares, 1 Thoroughbred gelding, and 1 mini-horse gelding. Housing includes the maintenance of two barns, the ground surrounding the buildings, and fencing; care includes nutritional feeding, veterinary care, farrier work, equine dental visits, and regular grooming.
The Haven invites fans in to the farm so that they can see their retired favorites thriving. Jeanne Mirabito has shared the stories of the Ladies and Elmhurst to visitors from across the country and around the world.
Many groups visit the Haven to learn about horse care in general, grooming specifics, and elder equine care. Students from the Kentucky Equine Management Internship volunteer regularly, helping Jeanne with the chores and learning about horse and farm management.
The Haven’s main program is the care, support, and promotion of the horses it houses. Nine horses currently live at the Haven; most are twenty-one years of age or more. Eight of the horses are Thoroughbreds; one is a mini-horse gelding. Seven of the horses are mares; one is a gelding. Over twenty horses have been laid to rest in the Haven cemetery, including a California Broodmare of the Year, a Breeder’s Cup™ contender, and a movie star.
Over two-thirds of the Haven’s budget goes to direct costs of equine care: bedding, hay, straw, feed, and health care, including veterinary, farrier, and equine dentist costs. Other costs include mowing the fields and maintaining the barns and fences. The Haven’s equine cemetery has recently been updated with new fencing, stone markers, and landscaping.
About two hundred-fifty people visit the Haven every year. Visitors have come from every state except Alaska and eight foreign countries. Tours can be of an educational nature (including talks about general equine care or the specifics of keeping an older horse healthy) or a fantastic “show and tell” about the Haven residents and their famous races and/or relatives. Our Mims Retirement Haven works with the Paris/Bourbon County Tourism Board and town merchants. If they have a client who expresses a desire to “see horses,” the Haven is called and a tour is arranged. All types of visitors have come: 4-H, FFA, school groups, church groups, all ages… anyone who wants to visit and learn is welcomed.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507