Jessica Hammond and Beyond the Wire

In the newest article this series, I spoke with Jessica Hammond, Executive Director of Beyond the Wire. Jessican has been involved with this program since its inception.

Where is Beyond the Wire based?

Beyond The Wire is Maryland racing’s aftercare program and is based at Laurel and Pimlico. They also take care of horses at the Fair Hill training center.

How did your program begin?

Beyond the Wire was the idea of a board member of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Initially they had grant money that a committee would make available to existing aftercare organizations. In 2017, several board members wanted to create their own organization, which became Beyond the Wire. When they started having meetings about creating the program, Jessica already worked there as the track counselor. When she heard about the program, she offered to help out. She was offered the opportunity to run BTW and was on board before it launched

What makes Beyond the Wire unique?

We’re a first exit from racing program. BTW doesn’t actually take possession of horses, as they don’t have their own facilities. They evaluate each horse and facilitate paperwork, shipping, and funding to go with each horse to a Thoroughbred Aftercare Association-accredited facility. Beyond the Wire operates as a triage program as opposed to a rescue. The only physical location is Jessica’s office.

What happens when a horse is referred to your program?

Within 24 hours Jessica sees the horse and contacts the veterinarian that knows the horse best. Together they complete an evaluation. They watch the horse jog, look at x-rays (if needed or on hand), and start contacting TAA-accredited facilities to find appropriate placement.  The horse is then shipped to the facility for retraining and rehab, if needed. 

What programs do you work with?

Beyond the Wire works with a number of programs, including MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, After The Races, Heart of Phoenix, Equine Rescue of Aiken, Circle A Home for Horses, and New Vocations.

As you don’t place the horses in their forever homes, do you receive updates on these horses?

Absolutely! A number of these facilities share adoptions on Facebook. Once Jessica sees one, she reaches out to the adopter and asks to stay in contact. Jessica also will check in with these groups for updates on horses. She also loves staying in contact with race connections.  

How many horses have gone through your program?

Almost 800 horses have gone through this program since 2017.

How does Beyond the Wire receive funding?

Beyond the Wire receives $16 per start and 1-1/2% per claim in Maryland. They also get money from Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Horse Breeder’s Association, Maryland Jockey Club, and Stronach Group. In January 2025 will lose their biggest source of funding, which is an donation of $250,000 from Stronach.

Beyond The Wire is preparing for this decrease. One reduction in spending they have made is eliminating payment for surgeries.

Do you have a story about a horse that we can share with our readers?

Ingadore is a special horse; he’s a gorgeous horse with a huge personality, who was adopted via MidAtlantic Horse Rescue. He had an injury, which deemed him not able to be ridden. A local woman had a Thoroughbred, and her husband, Chris, wanted a horse. However, Chris wasn’t a rider. He adopted Ingadore and took him on walks on a lead around the woods.

If people want to help your program, what can they do?

The biggest thing people can do to help Beyond the Wire is to make a donation. You can do so by clicking this link.

To learn more about another aftercare ally, After the Races, click here.