First the good news. It was nice to hear Larry Lederman call a race at the Meadowlands Saturday evening. Even one race from Larry is like listening to a masterpiece. Here's hoping we hear Larry for a long time.
Now, for the bad news. When I heard this story my initial thought was not to further publicize the story for it involves a driver who drove one of the most famous horses of all time. Being Standardbred Canada has printed a story about this, I feel free to talk about it.
I had first heard about the problems Rodney Farms had last fall and made a few inquiries to see if some people would be interested in their older broodmares and breeding stock. Since then, apparently things have gotten worse. Worse enough that the story went public.
If the name Rodney Farms sounds familiar, there is a good reason for it. Rodney Farms is the operation of Barbara and Clint Galbraith, of Niatross fame. While I don't know the specifics, they have fallen upon hard times financially, some of it from 'bad decisions' that were self-inflicted, a bad economy, and a partnership dispute; no doubt exacerbated by Clint's accident back in 2010. With no income coming in from the breeding or racing side of the business, the financial pit got only larger.
My concern is for the horses and in many ways, that is Barbara Galbraith's. I've been told by a reliable source the Galbraiths have been attempting to re-home some of the older broodmares for years with little success, refusing to send them to a grade auction or put them down. They have been selling equipment off to pay feed bills. Perhaps the horses are not kept in the best of conditions but as the local humane society says, there is nothing 'actionable' at this time so they are not being subjected to abuse.
What would be nice is if some horse people would come to the rescue and take some of the horses which need new homes. Ideally, the horses would be taken in groups as these mares have lived for years in the same herd structure. Otherwise, the local humane society will take them and either put down, split up and shuffle around the horses and risk having their finances drained, or worse yet, force the horses to be sold at auction where slaughter is a distinct possibility.
For those who wonder why I don't suggest helping the Galbraiths directly, it is not I am insensitive to their plight. Far from it. If so inclined to help a horseman or breeder who has fallen on hard times, I would suggest contacting your local horsemen or breeders association. Odds are there is someone locally who could use your support. You just may not be hearing about it.