Off the track and into a new home

September 25th, 2015 | SMWC

Mari Hulman George Equine Adoption gives horses a second chance

Sarah Kenderdine
Junior equine business management major, Sarah Kenderdine, with “We Hope So,” a 2-year-old bay filly quarter horse who will be available for adoption at the Mari Hulman George Equine Adoption at SMWC on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.

In Indiana, the equine industry generates more than $2 billion each year; horse racing accounts for the biggest portion of that. So what happens to those revenue-generating race horses after they retire? Many find opportunities for new homes and off-the-track careers; some find it through the Mari Hulman George Equine Adoption at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC). Although the adoptable horses from the Mari Hulman George Circle S Ranch are retiring from racing, they have the potential to be successful in a variety of off-the-track careers. The third annual adoption will take place on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“In the two years since Circle S Ranch and SMWC joined together for this program, fifteen horses have been adopted,” states Angie McMillin, SMWC stable manager. “These horses are able to excel in a new avenue of the industry. Many have become competitive jumpers.”

In previous years, thoroughbreds have been adopted out to Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. This year, a new set of thoroughbreds, along with some quarter horses, have arrived to SMWC campus in preparation for the adoption event.

Each horse is assigned to an equine student who will work with the horse extensively over the course of a month before the adoption event. This year, junior equine business management major Sarah Kenderdine was assigned “We Hope So,” a 2-year-old bay filly quarter horse.

“They develop a trust in you and expect you to guide them through learning about life outside of a stall and off the track. You develop a pretty strong bond from seeing the growth and change in these horses,” states Kenderdine.

“We Hope So,” along with three other quarter horses and eight thoroughbreds ranging in age from 2 to 12, will be available for adoption at the event.

The horses are "green broke" but will require more training upon adoption; they are not recommended for novice riders. The two-year-old quarter horses will not be broke; they will have had lots of ground work and ready to progress toward actual riding. The adoption provides a new opportunity for the horses as well as the SMWC students, like Kenderdine, who are working with the horses on campus until the adoption.

“I am working with a filly, who has basically been turned out in pasture her entire life,” says Kenderdine. “We are working on the basics right now – learning to lead, lunge, stand tied, pick up her feet and just learning ground manners and how to be handled by humans. Hopefully, we will work up to being able to be saddled before the adoption. Those students that are working with older mares, however, work on getting them adjusted to everyday life of being worked with and some of them will even ride their horses.”

To begin the adoption process, read the biographies of each of the horses and download the application at

Applicants are:

  • Financially responsible for providing proper care and the $125 adoption fee,
  • Required to notify SMWC within 30 days of any change in the adopter’s address,
  • Available at any time for inspection of horse and facility, and
  • Responsible for transportation from the adoption fair by Oct. 18, 2015.

For more information, contact Angie McMillin, SMWC stable manager, at (812) 535-5003 or amcmillin(at)