City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

For Love Of Horses

West Chester Equestrians Provide Safety, Dignity And Second Chances To Retired Thoroughbreds

Located at 1799 Pocopson Road in West Chester is Pennsylvania's oldest, working thoroughbred farm. It's also home to Thoroughbred Retirement, Rehabilitation and Careers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit thoroughbred aftercare program dedicated to the safety and well-being of thoroughbred horses retired from racing.

Family owned and directed by husband and wife duo Charles "Charlie" and Nina Lyman, TRRAC is an accredited program operated at Maui Meadow Farm, which was established in 1946 by Charles' grandfather, Gen. Charles B. Lyman. The farm now specializes in the dignified retirement of thoroughbreds, either bred or trained for racing. Charlie's 81-year-old mother, Erika, still rises each morning at 5:30 a.m. to feed the horses.

"All horses who come through our program are fully evaluated and are up-to-date on their vaccinations, shoeing, dental floats and nutrition plans. We restart our horses with professional trainers, with many achieving careers in upper level showing," says Charlie. "All our horses are offered permanent sanctuary at Maui Meadow Farm at any time they need to return."

Nina says they place retired thoroughbreds in new, approved homes while offering proper downtime, retirement, retraining and if need be, rehabilitation. "TRRAC horses are evaluated for soundness, mentality and suitability in new careers while being trained, as well as shown, in events, such as paper chasing, fox hunting, hunters, dressage, eventing, jumpers and pleasure riding," she adds. 

At presstime, the sanctuary reflected 10 to 12 residential horses, including three retired stallions and at least seven other horses between the ages of 6 to 20 years. Nina says their matriarch, who comes from their legacy of personal generational horsemen, is a "still going strong" mare who will turn 31 years old this year. 

TRRAC currently offers training solutions for owners, as well as volunteer, showing and riding opportunities.

"We have a horse for everyone. They're all available to meet and ride by appointment," says Nina, who adds that they typically assist 80 horses each year.  

Additionally, for those who would relish 'borrowing' one of the permanent residential horses for scheduled bits of beloved doting time, TRRAC offers a sponsorship program for $50 per month. Sponsors are allowed a monthly visit and receive a welcome kit that typically includes a win photo of the horse they're sponsoring. With the guidance of handlers, sponsors can brush their special horse and feed treats. 

Anyone wishing to financially donate tax-deductible amounts to TRRAC is helping for emergency care of the horses, plus ongoing veterinary and feeding costs. They also offer an online wish list for physical items needed for everyday care of the horses. 

"The horse world is beyond a close-knit community, and that's a wonderful thing," notes Nina. 


“A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart and wins with his character.”  ~Federico Tesio

  • Charlie Lyman at New Bolton Center equine hospital with a horse in need of rehabilitation.
  • Nina Lyman at the 2017 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover in Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Nina and this horse placed 9th out of 69 horses in competitive trail.
  • A horse at TRRAC's main facility with a veterinarian conducting radiographs to recheck a healed injury.
  • A TRRAC horse receiving "magnawave" therapy to assist in rehabilitating injury..
  • Charlie Lyman at the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover in Lexington Kentucky with his horse "Be In Charge."
  • Nina Lyman at the Thoroughbred Makeover 2017 Lexington Kentucky.