Montpelier Farm located at James Madison’s Montpelier will now be operated by the newly created Virginia Thoroughbred Project.
The Virginia Thoroughbred Project will replace the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which had its lease terminated by the Montpelier Foundation last month, according to the Orange County Review.
The surprise move came in the wake of an April meeting during which the chief executive officer of TRF, John Roche, told the sanctuary’s local board of directors he was moving its treasury — funds donated in support of the Montpelier TRF operation — to national headquarters in Saratoga Springs, New York. Several TRF board members resigned soon after, some in protest.
The TRF Montpelier program was established in the fall of 2003 and has been operating at the same location since inception, according to the release. Over the years, the program has re-trained and adopted out dozens of ex-racehorses and provides a sanctuary for those that cannot go on to second athletic careers.
The Virginia Thoroughbred Project will be led by Sue Hart, and will care for the 41 thoroughbreds formerly cared for by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and will remain on the estate, according to a news release.
“We are delighted that the horses, many of whom are advanced in age, are able to remain on the grounds of Montpelier, where they have resided for a number of years,” said Hart, Chair of the Board of Directors of VTP, in a written statement. “Moreover, the TRF staff, under the direction of farm manager Crystal Wever, has been together for several years and has a solid, well-established, and cooperative working relationship which will continue as a unit under the newly-formed VTP.”