“Racing Warriors” Find Refuge After Enduring Two Hurricanes

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Hurricanes Irma and Maria nearly destroyed Puerto Rico just two month ago. The intense wind ripped off roofs and destroyed barns and homes. Countless animals were left homeless and in danger, awaiting their fates. Among the hundreds of horses were two former race horses looking for help. Thanks to teams of devoted equine rescue organizations, they found refuge in the United States.

Sweetlandofliberty, age 11, and Rodriguito, age 12, left destruction behind and are ready to start their new life at The Exceller Fund’s satellite farms in Oklahoma. After a long journey, the two stepped off the trailer and onto the ground of the sanctuary. Peace at last. Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, a non-profit corporation dedicated to giving horses in Puerto Rico a second chance, found and transported the horses to safety.


“We are honored to offer these equine athletes that have given so much over the years the retirement that they have earned,” Nicole Smith, Executive Director of The Exceller Fund, commented.

The two geldings have a combined 289 starts, which makes them part of the Racing Warrior program at The Exceller Fund farm. Sweetlandofliberty and Rodriguito are warriors in many ways other than racing. They have endured extreme conditions, such as living through two hurricanes with limited food and water. After living through the devastation in Puerto Rico, the horses are being closely monitored and given special care to make sure their nutritional needs are met.

Sweetlandofliberty and Rodriguito will need time to transition from race horses to companion horses. But they will get all the time they need at the sanctuary. Life as a companion horse means grazing all day on lush pasture, socializing with pasture mates, and napping under large shade trees. Sounds perfect! Before their trip to the states the horses had not met but bonded quickly and are now best friends.


The Exceller Fund is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that offers a lifetime commitment to every equine that enters the program. They have worked many times with Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare and many other equine rescue organizations to provide a safe home.

“We have all been eagerly awaiting their safe arrival for a while now,” Smith said. “It was not easy getting them off of the island, but we are grateful for the team of people who came together to make it happen.”

They are now adjusting to their new life and taking it in stride. Enjoy retirement, boys!

Horses and other animals are still in need of your help rebuilding after the hurricanes. Click below to donate.

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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who lives in West Michigan. Her horse and 3 dogs are her children. She loves to write and share her knowledge of equine and canine nutrition. In her spare time she likes to volunteer with animal rescues, camp with her husband and dogs, and trail ride with her horse.