Posted: June 19, 2019
Equine Equipment’s For the Good program, which donates the use of commercial mowers to aftercare facilities around North America, has announced a special donation of an Exmark mower for the 2019 mowing season to ReRun in East Greenbush, N.Y., to honor the late trainer and horsemen’s advocate Rick Violette Jr.
A trainer for more than 40 years, Violette made a significant impact both on and off the track. In addition to being an accomplished conditioner, he worked tirelessly for horses and horsemen as a longtime board member and president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and he advocated for all members of the racing industry: owners, trainers, breeders, backstretch workers and horses.
Violette passed away in 2018, leaving a void not just in the New York racing industry but the racing industry nationwide.
The donation to ReRun was organized by Equine Equipment in partnership with Exmark and the NYTHA and New York Thoroughbred Breeders.
“I was honored to be one of Rick’s first grooms back in the 1970s in New England, and we remained friends for decades,” said Steve Andersen, founder of Equine Equipment. “He cared about the horses and people of this great industry, so to be in a position of honoring him is special. He was a very good man and gone too soon. Rick believed passionately in aftercare for retired Thoroughbred racehorses, so ReRun is a nice fit to receive an Exmark mower in his honor.”
“Exmark delivers exceptional value to the entire horse world, and this is another way they are giving back,” said John Cloutier, senior marketing manager for the Exmark Manufacturing Company. “When Steve approached Exmark with this idea it was a no-brainer for us. We saw an opportunity to help great organizations, and we are delighted to be involved.”
Originally founded in Kentucky in 1996, ReRun has been active in New York since 2002 and has become one of the largest aftercare programs in the region.
“ReRun is thrilled to be the recipient of this donation for 2019,” said Lisa Molloy, program director for ReRun. “It frees up a lot of valuable resources that are typically expended by using outside mowing and landscaping services. Keeping the farm premises in superb condition is just one facet of the overall program and the work that we put in to make ReRun the premier adoption program in New York and the northeast.
“To receive this donation in memory of Rick Violette makes it even more special because he was such an inspiring and committed member not just of the racing industry but also the aftercare community.”
“We are thrilled that Steve Anderson and Equine Equipment are honoring Rick in this way,” NYTHA Executive Director Andy Belfiore said. “Rick was a staunch advocate for the horsemen for so many years, and he was especially dedicated to making sure that retired racehorses have healthy and happy lives beyond the track. New York’s TAKE THE LEAD Program, started under Rick’s leadership, has partnered with ReRun to find retirement homes for more than 150 racehorses. This is a fitting tribute.”
“I’ve always preached to owners and especially new people coming into the horse business that you own a horse not until his or her last race or her last foal but until that horse has found a new home,” NYTB President Tom Gallo said. “Thanks to the efforts of Rick Violette, Andy Belfiore and countless other New York breeders, owners and trainers, we have programs like ReRun and TAKE THE LEAD to care for our horses.
“Ever since these organizations were established, they have not only found homes and re-purposed horses but provided medical care and rehabilitation for horses in need. Case in point: an old racehorse of ours named Kid Blast just showed up at ReRun last week. He raced and we enjoyed his company for over four years and he retired sound and then we were able to re-purpose him as a lead pony at NYRA. After a career as a lead pony, he developed back issues. His former owner, along with NYTHA through TAKE THE LEAD, gathered funding, organized and paid for vanning, and made a donation to ReRun where he will recuperate and get ready for his third career as someone’s loving riding horse.
“This generous donation of an Exmark mower is just one way to thank them for the efforts they have made to help so many Thoroughbreds by re-purposing them to wonderful, forever homes as future equine athletes. Kudos and congratulations to an organization that keeps on giving.”
(Rick Violette Jr. photo courtesy of NYTHA)