We are dedicated to transitioning retired racehorses into second careers and placing them in the right home. We are based in Central Indiana and have facilities in both Indiana and Ohio.
Established in 2005, FFI took its name from famed racehorse Ferdinand who earned four million dollars on the track and won the KY Derby, but was ultimately led to slaughter.
Our mission is very clear - To promote equine welfare by providing chances for second careers to retiring racehorses in Indiana, Ohio and throughout the Midwest.
We believe that it is a shame that retired racehorses who are sound, have the potential to be sound, have good minds and have options for a second career should face an uncertain future.
We love working with OTTBs.
Bred for speed, agility and intelligence, when properly trained and cared for, the TB can outperform all others. When improperly trained and managed, the TB can become a very difficult horse to keep healthy and companionable. In this situation, a TB again becomes at risk for abuse, neglect and slaughter. Mindful transitioning and placement is key for retired racehorses that are happy, successful and safe in their second careers and beyond.
Why we what we do
We are just like our adopters: we are eventers, fox-hunters, jumpers, dressage and trail riders. We love thoroughbreds, and without racing, there would be no thoroughbreds available for second careers. For us, there is no greater reward than loading a horse that we have literally poured money, sweat and tears (and sometimes a little blood) onto a trailer and watching it go to a perfect home.
Meet the Board
Social Media/ Marketing Mistress and Board Member
Chelsey is the driving force behind FFI's social media and marketing our available horses. Since getting involved with the organization, she has worn many hats: photography, event organization and promotion, track volunteer, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment . In 2014, she began taking on a more active leadership role in the organization to learn the ins-and-outs of thoroughbred aftercare. Chelsey ultimately is aiming for a career in the racing industry. >
Treasurer and Board Member
She is an active amateur eventer, dressage diva and pleasure/trail rider and shares her free time working with her FFI adopted horse, Ridge (Nita Ridge). Besides keeping track of FFI's finances, Rachel has fostered many FFI horses in the past several years. She has touched every facet of what we do... from intakes, re-training, adoption, and now grants/finances. >
Head Trainer and Board Member
Lori's love of TBs started at a young age, as she rode the TBs right off the track that came through her trainer's barn. She has maintained her passion for the breed throughout her professional career, restarting numerous horses every year while competing on her own former race horses in the sport of eventing. Lori maintains Greenstone Stables, a boarding and training facility near Dayton Ohio which is home to FFI's re-training facility. The majority of our horses come to Lori's barn for temperament and under-saddle evaluation, re-training and then matching adopter and horse. Lori's philosophies are centered around matching horse and rider skills so that they can progress as a team and partnership. Lori is a graduate from The University of Findlay in Equine Business Management and has a juris doctorate from The University of Dayton. She is currently working on completing her ICP certification from USEA. >
Board Member and Racing Industry Liason
Wendy was a student of the Renihan family at Grandview Stables in Indianapolis from grade school on. She earned her colors with the Traders Point Hunt as a young teenager and was a founding member of the Fox Hill Junior Hunt Club. A graduate of Elmira College, she also studied at I.U., The University of Glasgow and Harvard University. After working in the mental health field, she returned to horses, working at racetracks from New England to the midwest with her partner, Bill Summers for thirty-eight years. She served as secretary treasurer for the ad-hoc Indiana HBPA, before racing became a reality in Indiana. She then served on the board of the Indiana HBPA from 1996 until 2008. She currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Advisory Committee and serves on the board of Friends Of Ferdinand.>
President and Board Member
Sara was one of the first Friends of Ferdinand Inc. volunteers when the organization was founded in 2005. In 2006, Sara became the president and driving force behind Friends of Ferdinand. By networking with the Indiana race industry, the Indiana horse community, rescue organizations across the country, and by gathering together knowledgeable, dedicated board members and volunteers, she has been able to grow the organization each and every year. When Sara is not advocating for thoroughbred aftercare, she is employed at Eli Lilly and Co. Sara started her career at Lilly in discovery as a biochemist researching answers for the challenges of cancer, and is currently a Clinical Project Manager leading the Global Cyramza late stage development in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Liver Cancer). >
Secretary and Board Member
Sarah Thelen is the adoption coordinator and secretary for FFI. Sarah's first horse was an OTTB, a saintly gelding named Go Casper Go. Her horse of a lifetime came when she was 14, a pretty, fine-boned bay filly named Black Jack Doris, whom she renamed Malarchy. The talented filly took Sarah from doing cross-rails to 4' oxers. They competed in eventing and even foxhunted together a couple of times. Sarah played polo in college and became familiar with another avenue for OTTBs that are a bit more earthbound. Sarah says, "those are still some of the quickest but sweetest horses I've ever been around. Thoroughbreds have always been a part of my life and I love the fact that I can give back in a bigger, more impactful way with FFI.">
Executive Director and Possibly the Most Important One of All
Amanda is the Friends of Ferdinand Inc. Executive Director, and she is who most of our adopters will come to with questions, issues and updates. She is the one who keeps everything organized and moving forward. With horses in multiple locations, spread over 2 states, this is no easy task. Amanda works with our veterinarians to make sure everyone is getting exactly what they need, when they need it. When Amanda is not sitting on her own TB, or one of FFI's horses she is answering emails, organizing events and volunteers, fielding inquiries, helping manage the website, helping to write grants and grant reports and coordinating adopter visits and finalizing adoptions. >