Based in Saratoga Springs, TRF gives hundreds of retired racehorses a comfortable place to live out their years after giving so much to the racing community. TRF is asking for a donation of $30 in return for a real, racehorse-worn horseshoe. The money will help feed and provide veterinarian care for the horses.
Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving Kim Weir says the horseshoe represents a lot more than good luck.
“The horseshoe is a symbol of the health and welfare of these animals because there is a phrase that is, ‘no hoof, no horse’ and without us taking care of their hooves, and our farriers, who we have across the country—we have 18 farms, 500 horses, in nine states—without them, our horses don’t stay healthy and happy,” she said.
So what makes a horseshoe lucky? The Irish folklore dates back to ancient times. Iron was considered magical because it could withstand fire, and the crescent shape of the shoe was a symbol of good fortune. A horseshoe is only considered lucky if it has actually been worn by a horse.
“It’s sort of like garlic and werewolves; it’s supposed to ward off evil,” said Weir.
There are different tales from different lands, and depending on who you ask, you may get a slightly different version; but the message of the story remains the same.
“In the 10th Century, St. Dunstan (a blacksmith at the time) was visited by a man that Dunstan quickly recognized as the Devil. Upon the visit, the hoofed Devil asked for a horseshoe for himself, and so Dunstan nailed a red-hot horseshoe tightly onto the Devil’s hooves, which caused him to howl in pain. He begged Dunstan to remove the shoe, and Dunstan agreed less than one condition- the Devil must respect the horseshoe and never enter any place where one was hung above the door.”
Weir says she’s looking forward to fans hopefully being back in the stands at the Saratoga Race Course this summer and plans to bring some of the retired racehorses to the track for the public to meet. Click here to donate to TRF.