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Old Racehorses Give Prisoners Second Chance

[ 2012-08-02 14:31]     字号 [] [] []  
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It's a second chance for all involved. The non-profit Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation saves former race horses from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter. And at the same time, the horses prepare prison inmates from the James River Work Center for life after incarceration.

"When they asked me if I was interested in this program, I jumped on the chance, because like I said, you can say, how could you not love these creatures?"

In the course of the six-month program, the men learn about horse behavior, grooming, anatomy, health and horse care. They also become very fond of their horses.

"This is my horse Covert Action, which is the grandson of Secretary. He's a good horse. If you remember Secretary, that's the one that won the head to race in the Belmont."

"I think he had a typical race track life. He showed signs of steroid injections, side effects of that is biting, nipping, you can feel scar tissue from the injections.Good boy, good boy..."

The horses are fed twice a day, groomed and checked for injuries or health concerns. Some are ridden to prepare them for adoption as riding and companion horses.

While the inmates' training program also includes classroom work, instructor Reid McLellan says the hands-on experience is the most important thing.

"It's that spending every day in the stall with those horses...and horses don't put up with a lot of, the kind of bravado, false bravado. They recognize false bravado right away. And they'll teach them a lesson about, that that's not the way to be in harmony with this big 1,000-pound [453.5 kilograms] animal in that stall."

Will is graduate of the program, and is now a teaching assistant. He'll finish serving his prison term in September and already has a job lined up.

His horse, Happy, is also starting a new life, and has already been adopted.

"Happy was the first horse I'd been around. She suffered an injury in the field. She was needless to say, a cantankerous thing. I get something changed in her. You know she's very likable now. Loves attention.”

It was not just Happy who changed.The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundations, Ann Ticker says Will also had some behavior issues at first.

"Will came into the program a very insecure young man from a troubled background. He had no idea what he wanted to do...Will is now a confident young man. And we have a wonderful job for him and a place to live."

Not only does Will have an opportunity ready for him when he's released, he is confident that he can turn his life around.

"I don't ever want to go back to the person that I was, or come back here."

Will probably will not return to prision, hardly any of the inmates who go through the programme do. It seems horses and inmates alike are getting a second chance.

inmate: 同住在一起的人(尤指医院﹑ 监狱或其他机构中的)

incarceration: 监禁

grooming: 照料,打扮,使整洁

anatomy: 解剖学,解剖构造

steroid: 甾族化合物;类固醇

nip: (用前牙)啃

scar tissue: 瘢痕组织

hands-on experience: 亲身体验

bravado:(通常指无必要的或虚伪的)逞能, 虚张声势

cantankerous: 脾气坏的; 好争吵的

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(来源:VOA 编辑:实习生朱眉霖)