View Full Version : Standardbreds: After their racing days are over, what next?

Sep. 4, 2009, 02:58 PM
I just got a lovely horse this week through CANTER and it got me thinking...

There is such great work by CANTER nationally and other TB retirement or rescue groups that are doing a wonderful job, so I am wondering are there groups in the Standardbred racing community that help find homes for these horses?

Sep. 4, 2009, 03:24 PM
'Not sure if there is an equivalent as wide-spread as CANTER, but
in my area, we have the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization (http://www.spho-nh.net/) of New Hampshire.

One of the first farms I worked for had along with all their TBs an OTSB named George's Bank. My employer then raced TBs, but he also had quite the collection of antique carriages and sleds -- that's where George came in. He was awesome! And huge! (And quite Roman nosed, but we loved him anyway.) 'Neat as a pin in his stall too: all poops in one pile.

I used to ride him to keep him in some semblance of fitness -- he was very "lateral", and tended to pace under saddle, but on the longe especially he had a beautiful trot (and a half-way decent ability to bend). Getting canter was tough; it was easier in an open field but he could get pretty strung out.

He was a little quirky and we had to use some caution when getting him ready to drive. For the first 20 seconds or so after we put on his harness, he had a tendency to charge forward. After that he was good to go, nice and steady. Strong though! One time my boss let me take the reins and holy smokes! I thought George was going to pull my arms off!

Sep. 4, 2009, 04:15 PM
I know a few people who have them for pleasure driving. One in particular i know well is the safest, most kind little driving horse. The Amish use lots of them for driving, too (maybe they breed their own, but I'd guess they might buy some off the track, too). There was a thread a while back raving about the generally wonderful temperaments and bombproof attitude most Standardbreds have.

Sep. 4, 2009, 04:29 PM
I don't know that much about them, but there is the Standardbred Retirement Foundation - http://www.adoptahorse.org/

I also know that New Vocations features Standardbreds in addition to Thoroughbreds:

Barbara L.
Sep. 4, 2009, 05:20 PM
The Standardbred Retirement Foundation is the biggest program for Standardbreds, they are based in NJ, and they do a pretty good job witha strong group of volunteers and a supportive board of directors. They run their organization is a very businesslike manner, hold good fundraisers, keep up with their many horses, and have a farm they lease where many of them are schooled as they await adoption. I learned a lot about the rescue and retirement business when I was their office manager quite a few years ago.

I adopted a 10yo recently gelded and retired from racing pacer from them five years ago, and although I could never get him to canter, well, I had my Thoroughbreds for that--but he was an amazing driving horse, and still is. He was a bombproof trail horse, and just unflappable about anything.

Sep. 4, 2009, 06:14 PM
I love Standardbreds and wish there were a lot more rescues and rehoming organizations dedicated to them -- there are some (all I know of mentioned already in this thread) but not nearly enough. I grew up riding at a farm which used to be a big breeding and racing operation. Some of the guy's friends who were still actively racing would retire their geldings to his farm, and we would start them under saddle and use them as riding horses. When I get my own horse I plan to do the same... find one coming off the track and retrain for myself.

Sep. 4, 2009, 07:01 PM
I've always kinda wanted to try driving one (fast, you know...) - it looks like a lot of fun!

Sep. 4, 2009, 08:57 PM
Up here we have the OSAS. I do volunteer work for them. We just had our annual horse show :)


Sep. 4, 2009, 11:00 PM
Many in the east end up at Amish farms in PA or OH then taken to New Holland when they are done with them.

Sep. 5, 2009, 05:59 PM
I know several that are pleasure driving and a friend of mine who is a repro vet uses the mares for recips. She says they make the greatest moms :-)

Sep. 5, 2009, 06:21 PM
The last post reminded me that a vet once told me that Standardbreds are considered universal blood donors, and their calm nature makes them ideal candidates. She told me that some vets keep a SB gelding or two on hand for that purpose. The horses are well cared for and exercised, and when a horse comes in that needs blood for an operation, the SB can donate it with no problems.

I haven't crossed check that with other vets, so I have no idea how widespread that idea is.

Sep. 5, 2009, 06:54 PM
Unlike the retired TBs, STBs can be safely marketed to beginners. They make good trail horses and all-around pleasure mounts. It can be a struggle to get them to canter - I've had my SRF horse for five years and he's only just now cantering consistently. He's got a very comfortable gait. In NJ, there is a STB show circuit, culminating in the National STB SHow at the Horse Park of NJ. Rerun had their show the day before, and they hosted a Battle of the Breeds. The STBs won three classes, and the TBs won three. The championship all came down to Ride A Buck, which was won by dressage trainer Lisa Basselini-Thompson on a TB. It was a great time.

Sep. 5, 2009, 08:44 PM
I have one who is a very happy husband horse, takes care of my disabled niece, and is about to become a babysitter tomorrow as he's taken permanent post outside the weanling's stall. I LOVE him and if I had room, would take on a doz more :)

Sep. 6, 2009, 11:35 AM
I love Standardbreds and wish there were a lot more rescues and rehoming organizations dedicated to them -- there are some (all I know of mentioned already in this thread) but not nearly enough. I grew up riding at a farm which used to be a big breeding and racing operation. Some of the guy's friends who were still actively racing would retire their geldings to his farm, and we would start them under saddle and use them as riding horses. When I get my own horse I plan to do the same... find one coming off the track and retrain for myself.

There is a functioning org in most every state of province that has harness racing.

Sep. 6, 2009, 11:53 AM
Having done some horse rescue back in the day, I can say that most of the Standardbreds we got went on to be exceptional kids' horses. They reveled in the attention of a kid grooming and fussing over them. Most had an unflappable temperment and lots of them jumped and learned to canter. They were also really good show horses for kids to be able to learn to show on a calm horse in a busy environment.

Sep. 6, 2009, 07:27 PM
I just wanted to add that I adored our STB lesson horse - he was AWESOME! We are hoping to adopt more.

Sep. 6, 2009, 08:27 PM
One of my clients, an adult ammy, has a retired pacer that has learned to trot and canter, trail rides, horse shows and loves to jump! He's a good boy, can't say enough good things about standardbreds.

Sep. 6, 2009, 08:36 PM
Meant to include in my original post...
When I was a kid, there was one at the farm that I rode/worked at, his name was Dollar Bill and he was showed in the jumpers. He tried his heart out and while the canter certainly was not easy for him he jumped well and was such a good guy...

Someday I will get one that needs a home!

Sep. 6, 2009, 08:41 PM
He's the best horse ever. Sound and sane. And he is a very good jumper. He doesn't do flying lead changes, but if I'm careful, I can get the lead I want as we come off of a jump.

Sep. 6, 2009, 09:13 PM
If they are trotters that have the right way of going and are pretty enough they may show up at the Saddlebred/Hackney/Road Horse shows in the Road Horse classes being shown to bike, to wagon or under saddle. There are a few guys around that specializing in reckognizing potential Road Horses when looking at Race Horses.

War Admiral
Sep. 6, 2009, 09:15 PM
I loff them but have never had the pleasure of owning one. Wayyyyy back when I was a youngster, I used to hack out with the lady MFH of the local fox hunt. She rode a lovely little STB mare who was maybe 15.2, sound, sane, and could effortlessly outjump my 16.3h OTTB. She's always been my ideal of the perfect hunt horse!

ex-racer owner
Sep. 6, 2009, 09:19 PM
While I can't speak about the retraining of OTSBs, I can say that the vast majority of the STBs I have come into contact with are very people oriented! The barn I board my OTTB at takes in layups from the local harness track and we really enjoy having them with us. There have been a few that have stayed with us that I would be awfully tempted to adopt and attempt to retrain. BO and I have speculated as to the trot extensions one could get for dressage! :D

I think these horses get treated differently than the TBs, as I haven't seen evidence of stable vices in them, that one generally sees a lot of from TBs and the STBs seem just more at ease. I think for the right person, they would make a wonderful project.

Sep. 6, 2009, 10:03 PM
STB people turn their horses out more than TBs. I live in STB country, and most of them live out in fields with run-in sheds. Jacquie Ingrassia, the great female harness racer, told me she has never a known a STB to crib.

Sep. 6, 2009, 10:23 PM
STB people turn their horses out more than TBs. I live in STB country, and most of them live out in fields with run-in sheds. Jacquie Ingrassia, the great female harness racer, told me she has never a known a STB to crib.

Never saw one crib either. There are also very few that weave. The most common stable vice is chewing.....chewing on anything within reach and if nothing else, it teaches the HUMAN to put things away and leave nothing hanging on the stall doors as is common on the running horse tracks.

Sep. 7, 2009, 09:15 AM
I have a wonderful STB trotter that did not qualify on the track. He is enjoying a second career as a pleaseure horse. He is a great trail horse goes English and is learning western. He has a beautiful canter and is good picking up his leads. This year we entered the National Standardbred Show at the NJ Horse Park for the first time and we had a blast. I was very impressed with how all of the horses were turned out and how well cared for they were.

Sep. 7, 2009, 11:55 AM
A couple of stories about Mr Muscleman, who just retired:



Sep. 9, 2009, 12:16 AM
I saw him there he is just a stunning horse! I was in one class that had 16 entries and another that had 19 entries. I was very impressed.

Sep. 9, 2009, 12:19 AM
I have to say another thing... I am fairly new to the world of Standardbreds and the Standardbred peeps are so down to earth. I met so many wonderful people that are involved with Standardbreds.

Sep. 10, 2009, 08:10 AM
I own 3 STB's. They are some of the most level headed horses around. They have just been exposed to so much more than the TB's nothing really phases them.

Sep. 10, 2009, 02:02 PM
PACER (after the CANTER folks) Short for:
People About Caring (for) Equine Racers

I think it should get the same attention now we just need the energy, resources, man power, money, volunteers, foster homes etc etc... !

Sep. 11, 2009, 10:51 AM
I am all for PACER! But I just don't think it will ever get as much attention as CANTER (at least not in my area) Harness racing jsut isn't big here. Colonial Downs races both but where the grandstand is packed during TB season it is a Ghost town during the STB season.

Sep. 11, 2009, 12:27 PM
Virginia is an area with a very rich Standardbred history.

The "Duer" Family is multiple generations.

The one-time Curles Neck Stock Farm was a home for many of C. K. G. Billings horses.

The following from Jan 24, 1929 Trotter and Pacer mag:
Virginia Fairs in Session at Roanoke
Pres. Watkins and Secretary Ralston Again Chosen at Election
By A. E. Leatherman
ROANOKE, Va., Jan. 14.
AT least two hundred attended the twelfth annual meeting of the Virginia Association of Fairs here today. The officials and members of almost every fair in the state were present. The meeting was called to order by President H. B. Watkins of Danville, and after the roll call and the appointment of committees for the ensuing year, Mr. Watkins introduced Mayor C. D. Fox of Roanoke, who welcomed the members and guests to the city. His speech was an admission of the fact that any city of the state should feel proud that it was honored in having an organization choose it for the annual gathering. He was generous in his appreciation of this fact and expressed the desire that they soon return.
Thos. B. McCaleb, secretary of the Allegheny County Fair, of Covington, Va., responded and graciously thanked him on behalf of the association. Many papers were read that interested the members. The chief address of the morning session was that of Charles A. Somma, manager of the State Fair. Many good suggestions were made that will no doubt be a great help to the smaller fairs.
J. Callaway Brown, secretary of the Bedford County Fair, spoke of the relation that should exist between the various chambers of commerce to the agricultural fairs in each locality, showing the amount of good that could be accomplished through the co-operation of these bodies. In the open forum much expression was made on the abuse of the pass evil, and what could be done to overcome it. A live discussion was the result, but no one present seemed to have any remedy for it. Most of the members seemed to think it was a necessary evil that would always exist just so long as most of the local fairs were subject to assistance from the local political officials.
W. H. Gocher, secretary of the National Trotting Association, addressed the meeting in the interest of the standard-bred horse, and the relation harness horse racing had towards the entertainment of the public.
The election of the officials resulted as follows: President, H. B. Watkins, Danville, Va.; first vicepresident, T. B. McCaleb, Covington, Va.; second vice-president, T. L. Felts, Galax, Va. ; third vicepresident, Charles A. Summa, Richmond, Va.; fourth vice-president, 'Mrs. Lem P. Jordan, Suffolk, Va.; secretary-treasurer, Charles B. Ralston, Staunton, Va.
The next session of the association will be held at Richmond, it being a fixed arrangement to have the annual session in that city every two years. An annual affair in the way of a social feature is the banquet. This was again given splendid support and a pleasant evening was enjoyed by every one present.
From Jan 12, 1928 Trotter and Pacer mag:

Notes From Virginia Farms
BOHANNON, Va., 'Dec. 27.
SOME time ago I paid a visit to the farm of W. J. Gray, Suffolk, Va., and looked over his stallion, Wilbur the Great 54038, and his broodmares and foals. The first seen was Miss Austin, by Ortolan Axworthy out of Hickory Girl, by Axtell. She has a bay filly, a three-year-old, by Wilbur the Great and is now in foal to that horse.
Next was Acushla, by Petaurist (son of Peter the Great), out of Mabel Roland, by Grattan. She has a filly, four-year-old, by Adazoff and a two-year-old by Wilbur the Great. Alpha, by Moko, has a two-year-old colt by Wilbur the Great. jenny B., by Dry Dock, has a yearling by Wilbur the Great. Betty Baker 2:131/4, by Be Sure, is in foal to Wilbur the Great.
There is also on Mr. Gray's place a five-year-old stallion by Adazoff out of White Tips, and a three-year-old filly by Adazoff out of Nelly Harvester, by The Harvester. This stock is all in first class condition, receives splendid attention, and the youngsters should make race horse history in this section.
Wilbur the Great 2:181/4, trial 2:13, is 21-years-old but is in splendid condition. He was formerly owned and exhibited by B. F. McCann of Dayton, Ohio, and was never defeated in the show ring. His former owner, Mr. Brett, who raced him for several years, claims he was never outside the money.
At the 1927 races at Mathews, Va., there were raced several colts by Dr. C. M. Rains' Siliko-Leyburn stallion, Siliburn. In the account published in THE TROTTER AND PACER it was spelled Silburn which is incorrect.
Dr. Rains now has at his place, Kingston Stock Farm, several good broodmares. Yama Patch, by Dan Patch, has a filly foal at foot. Just Tess 2:161/4, by Justo, has a colt at foot. Ruby Hal, by Walter Hal, also has a filly. Keri Mobel, by Mobel, has a colt.