Episode 164. Michael Blowen – Founder and President, Old Friends Farm – A Thoroughbred Retirement Facility
Michael Blowen’s fear of horses grew into a deep love for horses and for saving their lives.
Early in his career, Michael was a writer and movie critic for The Boston Globe. He eventually held the enviable position of a movie critic, which gave him contact with film stars and celebrities throughout the 1980s and 1990’s.
A chance outing in 1997 to Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts proved to be a life-changing event. Wanting to learn more about horses to improve his chances to win at the track, Michael asked to work the stables for free, and he fell in love with these majestic animals.
In 1999, The Boston Globe offered Michael and his wife, Diane, a Globe columnist, a retirement buyout. He took it and joined the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, rescuing horses and providing them with safe homes. A year later, he moved to Kentucky to help the foundation.
Michael then founded the non-profit organization Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, a retirement and rescue facility for pensioned thoroughbreds. In 2002, Derby winner Ferdinand was slaughtered in Japan, gaining national outrage. This influenced Michael to focus on at-risk racehorses, giving them a comfortable place to live out their years and providing the public a chance to meet these formerly famous racehorses. Old Friends is open to the public and attracts nearly 20,000 visitors each year.
Michael and his wife reside on Old Friends Farm, and like the retired thoroughbreds he cares for, he too will be buried on the farm’s grounds when his great day comes.