ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS — A unique event provided horse enthusiasts with the opportunity to adopt a horse and give them a good home and second careers.
At the stables of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, 11 horses met prospective new owners at the Mari Hulman George Thoroughbred Adoption event.
The horses were owned by Mari Hulman George — daughter of prominent Wabash Valley businessman Tony Hulman — who is known for her love for horses and generosity toward higher learning institutions. The SMWC School of Equine Studies is also named after her.
At the event, 10 thoroughbreds and one quarter horse, with ages ranging from 2 to 12, were available for adoption. The animals had careers as competitive racehorses.
Dozens of potential owners from the area and even neighboring states attended and put in their bids for the horses.
A mother-daughter duo drove from almost five hours away in Buchanan, Mich., in hopes of adopting half-brothers The Glitter's Back, 7 years old, and That Kat Glitters, 8.
Karen Lukkarila and daughter Kaitlyn, 12, repurpose horses and participate in "show jumping."
As a project, they plan to "work with them this winter, teach them to jump and show them next summer," Lukkarila said.
And the horses were chosen partly for their friendly personality, which is Kaitlyn's expertise.
The Glitter's Back, in particular, "came right up to us," she said.
The adoption was a result of a partnership between SMWC and Hulman George.
"It was a natural fit," said Tom Bozarth, who manages Hulman George's horse operations.
The aims are twofold: find good homes for the horses, and get them a second career, Bozarth said.
"These horses can go on and make somebody happy," he told the Tribune-Star.
If successful, other similar events may be organized in the future.
"I hope it's something that we can grow," Bozarth said.