October 10 Virtual Pony Swim Fundraiser Will Support James River Horse Foundation

Pony “Rubber Ducks” will compete in a fundraiser October 10 in Ashland

Get ready for one of the more unique fundraisers to take place during the Covid pandemic — the James River Horse Foundation will be hosting a virtual Pony Swim on Saturday October 10!

The group will be launching a number of pony “rubber ducks” in Stagg Creek in Ashland from Horseshoe Hill Farm, and one will race its way to victory! Nick Hahn, host of the weekly “Off to the Races” radio show, will serve as the pony/duck race caller.

“Based on the amount of rain we have before the event, it might go pretty quick, or it could be more like a steeplechase race,” said VRC Commissioner Stephanie Nixon, who owns Horseshoe Hill and is on the event’s planning committee.

A number will be written on each pony corresponding to each entry. Owner of the winning pony will receive 10% of the pot! 

James River’s horses are based in Barn 4 at the Goochland County Work Center.

All remaining money raised will be used to cover the costs of providing round bales for the James River’s herd this winter. The horses are based in Barn 4 at the State Farm Work Center in Goochland County.  

Pony entries are available for $10 per pony and are on special at 3 for $25, or 6 for $50. They can be purchased at www.jamesriverhorses.org/events. Payment can be made through debit or credit card, and via Paypal.

Nixon said the group hopes to sell 300 of the ponies and if successful, might considering making it an annual event.

“Due to the Covid pandemic, we have not been able to conduct some of our regular fundraisers this year so the committee felt this event would be a unique and fun way to proceed in this challenging environment. I hope it will take off so we can do it again even when things get back to normal.”

Scott Frankel, Brian Waldron, Marcus Carlin, David Estes and Fernando Hicks walk horses to a barn for grooming at the State Farm Work Center in Goochland County. Photo by Mark Gormus.

Virtual attendees can watch the event live on the James River Horse Foundation facebook page and root for their horse.

In 2019, the James River Horse Foundation replaced in name, the former Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) at James River. The core mission remains the same — to rehabilitate former race horses, adopt them out if possible, and otherwise care for them for life.

At the same time, the Virginia Department of Corrections changed the work force at the State Farm Work Center from men to women. They now have their first class of women learning to care for horses and growing in the process.