1841 Paynes Depot Rd.
Georgetown KY 40324
Contact Information
Address 1841 Paynes Depot Rd.
Georgetown, KY 40324
Phone (502) 863-1775
Fax 502 863-1776
Contact Name Michael Blowen
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2003
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer

Donations in any amount can also be made to Old Friends by direct mailing to Old Friends at 1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, KY 40324, by phone at 502-863-1775 via credit card, or through PayPal (PayPal information is available on our web site at www.oldfriendsequine.org ).


Sponsor a share in any one of our retired thoroughbreds by donating $100 and receive an 8 X 10 photograph of the sponsored horse, a signed share certificate issued in the donor’s name, and a short biography of the horse. Shares make nice gifts to your horse loving friends and family.


Become a Member of the Old Friends family by donating $150 and receive a welcome gift as a token of our appreciation.

 Reserve a specific date on our annual Calendar by donating $100 and provide us with the text that you would like to have printed on that date.


Donate to a Special Project (i.e., paddock fencing, run-in shed; automatic waterer, etc.).    Information on specific projects is available on the "How to Help" page of our web site at www.oldfriendsequine.org.


 In-Kind Donations of horse related supplies (i.e., vet wrap, vaccines, blankets, fly masks, etc.) are gladly accepted, as well as items and/or services that can be auctioned at our fund raising events to generate income for Old Friends, sold in our gift shop, or sold/auctioned online through our web site or on Ebay.


Volunteer opportunities are always available at Old Friends and we welcome anyone who wants to help.  Volunteers may have opportunities to work directly with the horses, act as tour guides, or help with administrative and/or fund raising activities
Other Documents
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement Old Friends provides a permanent retirement home to at-risk racehorses - those whose racing and breeding careers have ended. We are the only thoroughbred rescue / retirement facility that accepts stallions.  In addition to our pensioned stallions, Old Friends is home to some very deserving retired mares & geldings. Through our campaign of education and tourism, we draw attention to all retired Thoroughbreds and all equines in need.
Background Statement

Old Friends is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 as a retirement facility for thoroughbred horses whose racing and/or breeding careers have ended.   It is the only such facility that we know of in the United States to accept stallions.  With a mission to provide a safe and dignified place for these celebrated athletes to live out their natural lives, Old Friends currently cares for a herd of 175 horses, 27 of which are stallions. The farm is open to the public dailyfor walking tours that provide visitors with an up-close and personal experience with horses that range from Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup champions to those that only raced at the claiming level. Tour guides familiar with the history of each horse provide an educational and entertaining narrative, while visitors feed horses and take pictures of their favorites.  Guests can also peruse the Visitor’s Center and gift shop.

Old Friends also provides educational opportunities for scouting organizations and grade-school classes, as well as internship opportunities to college-age students, with an emphasis on equine care/management and equine career opportunities.


Impact Statement

2016 Accomplishments

1. We worked with The Breeders’ Cup and Maker’s Mark Bourbon brand to promote the 2016 Champions for Charity Commemorative Zenyatta bottle. Three hundred bottles were sold, three times the amount sold in the previous year, and 100% of proceeds were donated to Old Friends, resulting in not only a huge Breeders’ Cup presence, but one of the largest single donations ever received.

 2.  We completed a new state-of-the art 12-stall barn dedicated to longtime equine-aftercare advocate John Hettinger. This new barn was sponsored in part by the Fasig-Tipton auction house and replaced a barn destroyed by fire earlier in the year. We also completed a new Hay storage barn, thanks to a generous grant from the ASPCA.

3. We worked with the office of the state veterinarian to foster two colts that were among 43 abandoned and abused thoroughbreds found on a farm in Mercer County in June of 2016. Both colts have been restored to health. One is even pursuing a second career via the Second Stride retraining center.

4.  We were able to consolidate mortgages on farm properties, resulting in a significant savings..
2017 Major Goals 

1. We are working with local architect to design and renovate our former wood barn into an entertainment facility that would include ADA accessible restrooms. This would allow us to host more fundraising events as well as further engage our community with educational opportunities and event space. 

2. Old Friends aims to renovate an old hay barn, using reclaimed wood, into a new hospital/quarantine barn.
3. Complete new fencing, run-in sheds, and install automatic waterers on 44 acres that will ease crowding and allow for better paddock rotation and pasture management.

4. We hope to continue the expansion of our Kentucky property and develop an adjacent 100 acres (currently under lease). This would allow Old Friends to consolidate the herd, pay less boarding fees, and also provide a home for additional horses. 


Needs Statement

1. Funds to complete the renovation of the Entertainment/Event Barn. Estimated cost is $100, 000-plus. Old Friends would be willing to designate this barn in the name of the donor.

3.Funds for paddock expansion: new fencing, run-in sheds, and automatic waterers. Four new paddocks are estimated at $45,000.


2. Annual feed and hay costs for a herd of 106-plus horses. Annual cost for 2017 estimated at $259,500.

4. Funds for continuous farrier and veterinary care.  Annual cost for 2017 estimated at $72,000.


CEO/Executive Director Statement   
Board Chair Statement

As President of Old Friends, I am always the first to admit that I have the best job in the world. This has become my life’s work and there is nothing more gratifying than knowing that we care for thoroughbred horses that have nowhere else to go in the later years of their lives. Regardless of their accomplishments on the track--whether it’s a champion such as Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm,or a horse that earned little more than our respect--all horses deserve to be treated with the care and humanity found at Old Friends.

Our end goal is to provide for every thoroughbred that needs a home. Sadly and all too often though, we have to turn away horses that may be in dire need simply because we don’t have the room or monetary resources to care for another horse.  It breaks our hearts when we have to turn away any horse, but the only way we can expand our operation is to raise the money necessary to cover those additional costs, and donations from individuals and companies are crucial to that goal.

For those who have donated to Old Friends in the past, we are eternally grateful and hope you’ll continue to support this worthy cause. For those who may consider donating for the first time, rest assured that every dollar donated makes a significant impact toward accomplishing our end goal.  I invite everyone to visit Old Friends and get to know us first hand.


Geographic Areas Served
Throughout the United States

Old Friends is open to horses in need throughout the United States. We also have an active program to identify horses that raced and/or bred in the United States who have since been shipped to breeders outside the United States, and to bring those horses home to Old Friends when their breeding careers have ended so they can live out their natural lives in the peaceful and tranquil environment that is Old Friends.  

Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

Since its inception in 2003, Old Friends has provided a retirement for well over 200 horses whose racing and breeding careers have ended, and are injured or unsuitable to pursue a second career. To provide sanctuary to these athletes, we needed to appeal to the sport’s key players and fan base, and illustrate the worldwide need for responsible thoroughbred aftercare. We have done this by engaging in a nationwide program of tourism and education.

Founder Michael Blowen believed that horses past their prime could still be valuable if the venue was right.  Old Friends tested the concept by opening its doors to the public, inviting fans to revisit their turf heroes. Now a “living history museum of horse racing”, the farm attracts nearly 20,000 visitors annually who come to swoon over Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm and War Emblem (two of eight horse repatriated from stud duty overseas), Breeders’ Cup Champions Alphabet Soup and Little Mike, and Belmont Stakes winners Sarava and Touch Gold. And while such rock stars draw crowds, the revenue they raise supports hard-knockers like Swan’s Way, whose resume boast 81 starts and only eight wins, Easy Grades, a one-time Kentucky Derby contender who ended up struggling in $5K claimers at the age of nine, and Mikethespike who toiled for 10 years and made 125 starts before injuries ended his career. 

In these 14 years, Old Friends has not only shed a bright light on a serious challenge facing the racing industry, it has helped provide a solution. You might even say it has launched a movement, stimulating the formation of numerous other aftercare facilities and stirring strong industry-wide concern for these wonderful equine athletes. 

In 2013, Old Friends became one of the first facilities in the country to be accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), a newly launched industry-funded group serving as an accrediting body for organizations supporting thoroughbreds. The exhaustive process of acquiring TAA accreditation means that Old Friends meets or exceeds a stringent Code of Standards in the areas of operations, horse care, management, and facility specifications. It has also led to industry-wide recognition, and Old Friends, was rewarded with a Special Eclipse Award in 2014 honoring extraordinary service in the sport of thoroughbred racing.   Funding provided by the TAA has contributed to farm expansion and helped us provide homes for more than 75 new horses since 2013. 

Our three to five year goal is to fund and support continued expansion by acquiring more property and a stronger infrastructure to sustain our growing herd of athletes, and also to apply the business model so successful in Kentucky to other satellite facilities placed throughout the country at well-known racing hubs. Happily, we have already made inroads in this area: We currently have a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, NY (Old Friends at Cabin Creek) and in Franklin, KY (Old Friends at Kentucky Downs).


StrategiesHelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?

In 2017 Old Friends is partnering once again with Breeders’ Cup and Maker’s Mark to raise funds via the Champions for Charity Campaign. The success of this campaign will result in a donation of more than $65,000.

We are also partnering with the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Derby Museum on a “membership share” program, allowing a free admission-exchange with all three organizations, increasing exposure and membership.

As we look to the future, we are working on infrastructure changes and additions that will create different revenue streams. This spring, Old Friends opened a new vacation home adjacent to our property. The rental house is expected not only to generate consistent seasonal income, but will also help to further expand our outreach into local tourism.

Similarly, we are exploring grant opportunities to renovate our barn into an enclosed Entertainment Center. Again, such a structure is expected to provide a revenue stream as an event facility available for rent, as well as attracting community members and tourists to such public-education events as films, symposiums, guest speakers, and performers.

As part of our building expansion, we also hope to significantly expand our visitor’s center. The additional space would allow for more multimedia and museum-style exhibits to attract and engage visitors, aid in preserving our history, and expand our gift shop and its offerings.

CapabilitiesHelpWhat are the organization’s capabilities for doing this? What resources, capacities, and connections support its progress towards long-term goals?

Old Friends’ resources include a fiercely dedicated and capable staff and we strive to keep our overhead and administrative costs at an absolute minimum. Our administrative focus is on fundraising  and expansion of our capabilities to provide for an ever increasing number of thoroughbreds that  find their way to Old Friends. In order to function efficiently,  we expanded our  administrative and farm staff in 2016.

In addition we have employed a new online-booking system (Zozi) for our public tours and events to improve our customer experience, increase revenue through tour admissions, and reduce that administrative burden on office staff.  We also added new donor management fundraising software to  better track, manage, and communicate with our patrons.

We have also expanded our volunteer staff, including KEMI students who regularly provide farm assistance, tour guides so that we can accommodate significantly higher tourist traffic, and event help to broaden the scope of our fundraisers.

Similarly, we have expanded our Board of Directors to engage a wider net of fundraising opportunities and to attract new supporters.

Perhaps just as important, are the strong relationships we have fostered with numerous industry partners that provide continuous support, engagement, publicity, and cost-free or discounted services and products. These include:

Breeders’ Cup:  Engagement, promotion, fundraising partner

Park Equine Hospital: Free or extremely low-cost state-of-the-art veterinary care.

The Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Commission; The Woodford County Chamber of Commerce;  and VisitLex.com:  Promotion, engagement, support

Daily Racing Form: Publisher of the annual DRF Old Friends Magazine, an invaluable promotional tool as well as free advertising support

Narvick International and The Japanese Breeders Associations:  Invaluable in our efforts to repatriate American Champions from overseas.

The Kentucky Horseshoeing School: Low-cost farrier care

Of course, our most valued resources are our long-term supporters, Old Friends members, and monthly pledges.

IndicatorsHelpHow will the organization know if it is making progress? What are the key qualitative and quantitative indicators against which the organization assesses its progress toward its intended impact?

We can measure our progress through multiple indicators.

1)      Donations are up:  In 2016, we earned over $940,000 from our “Best Friend” donors—those who made contributions of $1,000 or above. This represents an increase of over 50% from the previous year.

2)      Tourism is up: Old Friends tour revenue in 2015 was approximately $52,000. In 2016 that number jumped to $114, 600, or more than double the previous year.

3)      Social Media engagement—The Old Friends Facebook page currently stands at over 420,000 “Likes”. In a one-month activity tracking of early 2017, page views were up 768%.

4)      Increased media attention: 2016 coverage included segments on ESPN, KET, WLEX-18, WKYT, WLKY, and WTVQ.  Articles highlighting Old Friends have also appeared in The Lexington Herald-Leader, The Georgetown News-Graphic, The Louisville Courier Journal, The New York Post, and all of the major Racing-industry trades.

5)      Industry support:  In addition to regular funding from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and the Thoroughbred Charities of America, numerous trainer, jockeys and owners,--who recognize the vital role that Old Friends serves in the thoroughbred racing industry--now offer regular financial and moral support. 

6)      Industry recognition: The Eclipse Award sponsored by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing form, and the National Turf Writers Association that was presented to Old Friends in 2014.

The opening of popular satellite farms in Greenfield Center, New York, and Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Kentucky. 

Board Chair
Board Chair Cynthia Grisolia
Company Affiliation Chairman
Board Members
Steve Allday Community VolunteerVoting
Jill Baffert Community VolunteerVoting
Michael Blowen President and FounderVoting
Dennis Brida Community VolunteerVoting
Jeffrey Burch Community VolunteerVoting
Barbara Fossum Board MemberVoting
Cynthia Grisolia Community VolunteerVoting
Corey Johnsen Board MemberVoting
Suzanne Mundy Community VolunteerVoting
Rosie Napravnik Community VolunteerVoting
Clark Nyberg Community VolunteerVoting
Mark Otto Board MemberVoting
Ron Portell Community VolunteerVoting
Mark Simon Community Volunteer
Bill Van DenDool Community VolunteerVoting
Ron Wallace Community VolunteerVoting
Diane White Community VolunteerVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 11
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 0%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 3
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Bill Van DenDool
CEO Comments Board terms are indefinite.  Board Members can resign or they can be removed for cause through a vote of remaining Board Members.
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Michael Blowen
Term Start June 2003
Email Michael@oldfriendsequine.org
Full Time Staff 10
Part Time Staff 7
Volunteers 30
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 83%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Description Provide sufficient office space for staff and volunteers, staging area for tours, handicap accessible restrooms, gift shop, and paved parking
Population Served , ,

Preserve and highlight horse racing and its cultural impacts on the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the regional areas including and surrounding Lexington, with special emphasis on the accomplishments, trials, and tribulations of horses retired at Old Friends.

Population Served , ,

Expansion of Old Friends, and partnerships with other retirement facilities and farms (nationally and internationally), to insure that all Thoroughbreds in need are given a safe and comfortable place to live out their natural lives.

Population Served , ,
Description Old Friends suffered a barn fire in late January 2016.  Thanks to the generosity of our fans and supporters, we were able to not only replace the barn, but to construct a larger, more efficient structure that now serves as our main barn.   
Budget $100,000+
Population Served , ,
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 4
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Eclipse AwardNational Thoroughbred Racing Associaiton, Daily Racing Form, National Turf Writers Association2014
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $2,073,100.00
Projected Expenses $2,048,853.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Revenue$1,725,153$1,536,230$1,310,457
Total Expenses$1,676,145$1,408,412$1,152,962
Revenue Less Expenses$49,008$127,818$157,495
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available). Revenue from foundations and corporations may be included in individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$1,472,445$1,263,511$1,149,241
Investment Income, Net of Losses$5$392$60
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events$19,177$82,702$41,031
Revenue In-Kind----$15,528
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$1,495,243$1,266,730$1,012,978
Administration Expense$165,527$120,474$124,047
Fundraising Expense$14,375$22,618$15,937
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.031.091.14
Program Expense/Total Expenses89%90%88%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue1%2%1%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$3,987,584$2,866,790$1,959,878
Current Assets$253,680$30,322$120,256
Long-Term Liabilities$3,290,033$2,281,791$1,548,414
Current Liabilities$54,812--$0
Total Net Assets$642,739$537,999$411,464
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Registration Yes
Address 1841 Paynes Depot Rd.
Georgetown, KY 40324
Primary Phone 502 863-1775
CEO/Executive Director Michael Blowen
Board Chair Cynthia Grisolia
Board Chair Company Affiliation Chairman