After a standardbred horse retires from harness racing, they will need a forever home, and often, they can be trained through various retirement organizations to launch a new career. Sadly, adoption groups are filled and are at their limit to accept additional horses to their group, and the funding is very limited. The Standardbred Transition Alliance hopes to change all that and offer the much-needed help to these valuable and much-loved horses.
“The STA (Standardbred Transition Alliance) is a 501 (c) (3) charitable, non-profitable organization whose mission is to inspect, accredit, and issue grant awards to approved organizations that are rehabbing, retraining, and rehoming standardbreds,” describes Jennifer Daniels, Administrator for the organization.
The grant awards are issued once the adoption groups are evaluated on numerous criteria. “To determine their eligibility for funding, we look at equine management; their business practices; adoption policies and procedures. The goal is to strengthen the programs to make them become more efficient and sustainable,” she explained. On-site inspections are especially important to substantiate the information on the initial application for funding, and to take a closer look at their current horse inventory.
To date, four organizations have been accredited. “There were several others that were not quite ready to reach full accreditation, and they know what they have to work on, and we stand ready to help direct them.” The process of accreditation is on a yearly basis, and this year, those receiving grants are Sunshine Horses in Clay, NY; Futures For Standardbreds in Maine; and New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program with locations in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and more.
After a standardbred comes off the track, their aftercare and plans for their future are extremely important. “Most people in our industry care very much about what happens to our horses,” Jennifer said. “The breeders, owners, trainers, have invested so much time, energy, love, devotion, money, to get their horses into training and to the races, and the care doesn’t stop after the horse retires, or doesn’t make it to the races. We’re all very concerned about what happens in every phase of our horse’s lives, but sometimes you just don’t know what to do! Where to turn. How to make the next transition for a horse. The STA is primarily concerned that those programs that are providing transitioning services are receiving the grant awards they need to continue functioning.”
On August 12th, it was announced that the STA would become the official aftercare partner of the U.S. Trotting Association. In the press release making the announcement, USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner issued this statement. “Through our resources at the U.S. Trotting Association, we can provide the Standardbred Transition Alliance with valuable tools to help them in promoting their mission as well as assisting them in their fundraising efforts.” With extensive support including advertising and editorial, the USTA will feature success stories on social media, websites, and in Hoof Beats*.
The future is bright for the STA, but to continue to issue the grants and assist standardbred aftercare, the continuous support and generous contributions of donors is always needed. Jennifer is also looking forward to the work the STA can continue to do for aftercare. “I’d like to see more organizations commit to standardbreds, specifically. The USTA, in our partnership, is really grabbing onto the incentive programs. We watched it happen with our thoroughbred counterparts, and their incentive programs. I think we are nearly there as well.”
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