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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Looking for a Buddy and Saving Them

On April 17, 2011, Horse Rescue United, a horse rescue group organized by harness trainer Anouk Busch will be sponsoring their first open house to allow member of HRU and others to come see some of the horses HRU has rescued.  While HRU has horses available of all breeds, based on Anouk's background the preference is to rescue standardbreds.  Come out and visit HRU's farm and see some of their success stories and if you are intrigued, you may be on the way to becoming an owner of retired horse or you may feel like supporting their work.  If you are in the NYC-Philadelphia metro area, you may be interested in spending a day in New Egypt, NJ.  This link provides plenty of information regarding this event.  If nothing else, it should be a great day for the family.

Horse Rescue took a big hit this weekend with news about The Thoroughbred Retirement Fund's alleged problems which were reported in the New York Times.  Ray Paulick, a trustee of TRF, speaking for himself in his Paulick Report, discussed the situation.  Of course news reports at times tend to make things look worse than they may be and there is no doubt with the economic collapse, donations to the TRF dropped severely.  Perhaps they grew to big in taking in too many unadoptable race horses than they could handle, but what was the option they had?  The problem I suspect has more to do with the lack of a dependable revenue stream to secure their mission.  Yes, grants from foundations are wonderful, but grants can come and go.   As much as I don't like the idea of higher takeout rates, a fixed percentage of the takeout rate should go towards the care of breed specific horees; ideally equally split by ADWs, horsemen, and tracks; those that make money based on racing.  I also feel no organization should grow to have 1,500 horses under their control as it is hard to keep track of them all.  If TRF truly was in dire straits as reported, as difficult as it would have been, if they realized they could not support all the horses under their charge and were unable to off load some to other rescues, the correct decision may have been to euthanize the oldest and most infirm of the horses under their care instead of allegedly sacrificing care on all the horses.

In the meanwhile, the smaller rescues, like Horse Rescue United and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation continue to do their work.  Do they take in as many horses as they would like?  No, but they are dependent on donations from the public and know the dangers of growing to big; fearful of not being able to take care of their charges properly and face issues like TRF allegedly did.  So before people get critical of these smaller groups for not taking in every horse that people want them to do, realize there is no such thing as a money tree.  Contributions are the lifeline of these organizations, big and small.  Before your criticize any rescue, you should be asking if you are doing anything to help fund one or more of these rescues.  If you aren't and have the ability to do so, you may be part of the problem. 

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