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Local woman helps retired racehorses

The sign near a stable in Wildwood, Missouri says Capitol Farms but it could also be called Second Chance Ranch.

<p>Metro West Fire Protection District </p>

The sign near a stable in Wildwood, Missouri says Capitol Farms but it could also be called Second Chance Ranch.

Carter, a thoroughbred may only be 12 years old but he's retired and now owner Jodi Ladner is giving him new purpose.

"We jump, we ride indoors, and we ride outdoors, "she says enthusiastically.

But the riding pales in comparison to the caring. She bought him three years ago, not long after learning that horses like Carter don't always have a stable life.

Like many thoroughbreds, Carter was born to run. He won his very first race at Arlington Park in Chicago and almost $50,000 in his career. But by the time he was 7 years old he was considered too old.

When a racing career ends, the price of upkeep can lead a horse away from the stables and into the slaughterhouse.

"I think there was several hundred thousand, three hundred thousand American horses sold to slaughter last year,” Ladner told us.

That's why she stepped in.

Working with the trainers at Fairmount Park in Collinsville, Jodi started the Illinois chapter of Canter USA, a non-profit with the mission of finding second careers and homes for retiring racehorses.

"Her people know how to take a great video, says Fairmount trainer Diane Lamew.”They know how to make a horse look it's best and then they have far reaching effects with Canter because it's nationwide."

And a picture can be worth 1,000 views.

Jodi and her volunteers spend hours on the backside of Fairmount's race track where most people never go.

Then they post photos and information about the horses for sale, on the Canter website.

That's how Beth Schmidt first found Zoren one afternoon.

"So later that night she posted a video and when we saw him move that was it, we were done, "Schmidt said.
It turned out that Zoren was the son of 1994 Kentucky Derby favorite Holy Bull.

Those were some big horse shoes to fill but now after a short lived racing career, Zoren is learning to become a competitive jumper.

"Jodi is bringing new life to these horses that otherwise we don't know where they would go, "says Schmidt.

When it comes to animal rescue, ex-racehorses are seen as the equivalent of pit bulls but Jodi says that reputation is unfair.

"The horses want to work, they have a strong work ethic. They've been taught to work hard, "she explained.

Through the ages, horses have inspired artists, poets and now Jodi Ladner.

To her, helping these gentle giants find new owners, new homes and new careers is like winning the Triple Crown.

For more information: https://canterusa.org/illinois/

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