Michael Blowen’s fear of horses grew into a deep love for horses, and for saving their lives.
Early in his career, Blowen was a writer and movie critic for The Boston Globe. He eventually held the enviable position of movie critic, which gave him contact with film stars and celebrities throughout the 1980’s 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, Blowen asked to work the stables for free, and he fell in love with these majestic animals.
In 1999, The Boston Globe offered Blowen and his wife, Diane, also a Globe columnist, a retirement buyout. He took it and joined the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which rescues horses and provides them with safe homes. A year later, he moved to Kentucky to help the foundation.
Blowen 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 Blowen to focus on at-risk racehorses, giving them a comfortable place to live out their years and also 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.
Blowen and his wife reside on Old Friends Farm and like the retired thoroughbreds he cares for, he too will be buried on the grounds of the farm, when his great day comes.