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View Full Version : TRF in NY Times - "Ex-Racehorses Starve"



CVPeg
Mar. 18, 2011, 01:02 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/sports/18horses.html

If racing needs a unified system of regulations, the first should be one for keeping track of those retired.

Equilibrium
Mar. 18, 2011, 03:05 AM
Keeping track of those retired isn't going to do squat when they want each horse to cost 3 dollars a day. So that's 30 dollars a month per horse. So I guess when they need a wormer and feet done they don't eat that month. No wonder some were getting cattle feed.

Honestly I can't see how you could do it for less than 10 a day. And yes this is a charity but the people who are taking care of these horses need to make a living too. Ex racers or not if someone said to me here's 90 euros a month for each horse I'm gonna have to say get lost. I am in no way saying you need to make a living off of charity, but to do them right takes more than 12 quarters a day.

At 10 dollars a day per horse that's 5.2 mil a year for 1000 horses. And never mind specialist care. The last sentence speaks volumes, are we throwing good money after bad. I don't know what the solution is but asking horses to be kept on 3 dollars a day isn't a good solution. Hands up how many could keep our horses on 90 a month in the fall, spring, and winter? Summer probably. No shavings, no hay, less feed. Hope you don't ever need the vet.

Terri

JanM
Mar. 18, 2011, 06:38 AM
From reading the article sounds to me as if there was no oversight until the vet from the Mellon foundation did a survey, and that apparently no one thought this was a problem until now? I wonder how many of the older horses who died actually starved also? I know there will be a big uproar, but I think this national exposure on the front page of the New York Times will help if it leads to more money or oversight. I can't believe TRF thinks that anyone can keep a horse for $3 a day. What a heartbreaking situation, and shame on the TRF people for sticking their heads in the sand about the horses' situations.

monalisa
Mar. 18, 2011, 07:58 AM
Heartbreaking story but maybe will increase donations. The animals certainly need it.

AppJumpr08
Mar. 18, 2011, 08:13 AM
$3 a day certainly doesn't cover jack for an OTTB... I considered what I did for my TRF fosters to essentially be a donation towards the greater good... I'm thanking goodness that I only had one or two at a time, and not 60+!

Dry Clean Only
Mar. 18, 2011, 08:19 AM
It's just disgusting that an industry that makes so much money off of these horses does not have a better system for retiring them. We need social security or 401k's for these guys!

It's just as pathetic that TRF allowed this to happen. We all know how expensive to provide basic care and the farm owner's cannot be expected to shoulder the financial burden. Who can afford a barn full of pro bono horses?

AppJumpr08
Mar. 18, 2011, 08:23 AM
Heartbreaking story but maybe will increase donations. The animals certainly need it.

It should've been the responsibility of the TRF to re-evaluate the numbers they had in their care a few years ago when things started going sideways, and match the numbers to the money coming in. To still be accepting horses when you can't pay for the ones you already have is crazy.

Laurierace
Mar. 18, 2011, 08:54 AM
TRF has lost many of it's long time employees and board members because of the way things were being handled. They didn't think things were up to par then but obviously things have taken an awful turn for the worst. This is the equine equivalent of the Red Cross as they have been the most easily well known, reputable charity that set the benchmark for the industry. The damage this does will go way beyond the horses themselves.
I have placed countless horses with them over the years. The last was about five years ago I think. I can't help but wonder what happened to them all.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:06 AM
Very sad story and if you look at their 990s on Guidestar it still tells another story.

In 2009 why do they list $1.3 for boarding only and $219K for feed, hay and straw? Where did the $$ go? How many horses did they have being fostered? They were definitely meeting their administrative salaries.

$95K for the Pikulski salary. Almost $15K to Family member of Diane Pikulski to "provide board for horses" and $32K to John Rainey, Director to "provide board for horses" in 2009. I wonder how many horses they were boarding. Isn't this a conflict of interest?

I will go slink back into my lurker hole now. :mad:

AppJumpr08
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:18 AM
Very sad story and if you look at their 990s on Guidestar it still tells another story.

In 2009 why do they list $1.3 for boarding only and $219K for feed, hay and straw? Where did the $$ go? How many horses did they have being fostered? They were definitely meeting their administrative salaries.

$95K for the Pikulski salary. Almost $15K to Family member of Diane Pikulski to "provide board for horses" and $32K to John Rainey, Director to "provide board for horses" in 2009. I wonder how many horses they were boarding. Isn't this a conflict of interest?

I will go slink back into my lurker hole now. :mad:


I would *assume* (and I really don't know the answer for sure, but speaking as someone who has sent bills to the TRF before) - the 1.3mil is probably what went to the farms like myself who get $3 a day. Period. For board, hay grain, whatever... it's all in the $3/day. And it's possible that the 219k went to support horses on the TRF payroll who were waiting at tracks to be shipped out (I know they paid a trainer at Suffolk to board horses in her shedrow before - rembursed her for all the hay/feed/bedding expenses).... but that is truly only a mildly educated shot in the dark.

I was under the impression that there were close to 2000 horses in the TRF's care. But that was a couple years ago, and I could be misremembering.

That said, there certainly does need to be major clarifications made.

LauraKY
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:18 AM
Somehow, we as the horse community have to step up and help take responsibility. There are too many rescues out that are a front for money scams or for hoarders.

I hear too many times about "bail" for horses...and "please rescue from the kill buyer". There are worse things than death...slow starvation is one, needing urgent medical care is another.

The racing industry and the horse industry as a whole needs to come up with a solution...obviously, the TRF is not a solution.

Shame on you, TRF, your board members and your employees. And shame on the boarding farms who let the horses starve. Why didn't someone blow this wide when it started? If you can't feed them and give them basic medical and farrier care, why did you take them on to begin with? To line your own pockets?

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:23 AM
If you can't feed them and give them basic medical and farrier care, why did you take them on to begin with? To line your own pockets?

I don't know but I am assuming the farms took them on to help out and were promised the horses would be supported but TRF didn't follow through. I hardly doubt anyone can "line their pockets" on $3 a day supporting an OTTB. Just saying......

ETA: I am not at all justifying letting horses starve.

deckchick
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:24 AM
That is beyond brutal. The Board of Directors should be charged with abuse. Jerks.

Bacchus
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:48 AM
And shame on the boarding farms who let the horses starve. Why didn't someone blow this wide when it started? If you can't feed them and give them basic medical and farrier care, why did you take them on to begin with? To line your own pockets?

I agree. I don't think anyone was trying to line their pockets, but the minute horses started to suffer due to lack of funds, this should have been opened wide. Any farm who let horses suffer is to blame (along with TRF). They knew they weren't getting paid. They knew they couldn't take care of the horses. They should have contacted authorities, media, etc., and gotten this out in the open before the first horse suffered for a minute. Shame on anyone who knew a horse was suffering and didn't do anything to stop it! Heck, they should have put the horses down before they let them starve:(

TRF is ultimately responsible. It will be interesting to hear Diana's side of the story. I've met her a few times and really liked her. I'm sorry this happened, but I hold her and her board responsible. It's quite pathetic, actually.

danceronice
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:54 AM
I don't know but I am assuming the farms took them on to help out and were promised the horses would be supported but TRF didn't follow through. I hardly doubt anyone can "line their pockets" on $3 a day supporting an OTTB. Just saying......

ETA: I am not at all justifying letting horses starve.

Yes, but you don't get 63 overnight. If you know they're not paying enough to cover costs and you can't make up the difference, why are you taking more? And why are you just letting them starve?

The Board likely had very little idea about day to day operations--boards with high-profile members who are mostly recruited for the donations they can make or publicity they can get rarely do. They review decisions and the annual reports, but they don't run things. My question would be who does? Who is the CEO or equivalent, who are they hiring, who is responsible for selecting foster/long-term-care farms and who inspects them to make sure they're doing their job? Who is making the decision on per-horse stipends? (The Board may get a general vote on it, but they're usually being presented with the numbers by whoever they selected to run the thing.) Boards of Directors/Trustees are not there to manage operations--they're there for oversight and to hire people to handle operations and report to them (not daily/weekly, especially not in a large national organization). I suspect they're going to be sacking not a few people for this one.

The person who is responsible is the CEO or equivalent, and whomever below them got hired to manage these things. What the heck were they doing, how were they chosing who got the horses, how did they check up on matters? Why be telling the Board, the press, and anyone who asks "La la, it's all good, everyone's happy" without apparently having any idea what the situation actually was in some of these places?

Barnfairy
Mar. 18, 2011, 09:58 AM
Before you sling all your mud at the TRF, be sure to save some for the folks who have used it as a dumping ground for their used-up sad sorry horses. Jesus, look at the leg on that chestnut.

Point fingers at the industry and accuse the TRF of corruption all you want, but at the core this is a culmination of lack of responsible horse ownership on an individual level from the start. It is not unique to racing, just easier to track. There will be no solution until people can be held personally accountable for the horses they choose to own and bring into this world.

As if that will ever happen. A.C. doesn't have enough funding either.

People need to face facts that there do not exist enough good homes for horses which are pasture sound at best. Man up and humanely euthanize the horse you broke. Oh wait, that costs money too.

danceronice
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:03 AM
The trainers have to send the horses somewhere. If people are going to make it a crime, in essence, to sell them to anyone with a trailer and cash because they might end up going to slaughter, those are the people who need to provide an alternative, or stop interfering with other people's business. And if they take the horses stating specifically it is to protect them, the onus is on them to do it. Not to mention if they're a registered nonprofit, they need to be backing up their mission statement and charter or that status is not going to be there for long.

Bacchus
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:18 AM
Before you sling all your mud at the TRF, be sure to save some for the folks who have used it as a dumping ground for their used-up sad sorry horses. Jesus, look at the leg on that chestnut.

Point fingers at the industry and accuse the TRF of corruption all you want, but at the core this is a culmination of lack of responsible horse ownership on an individual level from the start. It is not unique to racing, just easier to track. There will be no solution until people can be held personally accountable for the horses they choose to own and bring into this world.

As if that will ever happen. A.C. doesn't have enough funding either.

People need to face facts that there do not exist enough good homes for horses which are pasture sound at best. Man up and humanely euthanize the horse you broke. Oh wait, that costs money too.

You are preaching to the choir, but owner responsibility is not the point of this thread -- TRF responsibility is.

Barnfairy
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:24 AM
You are preaching to the choir, but owner responsibility is not the point of this thread -- TRF responsibility is.That may be the point of the article but the thread started off with this comment:


If racing needs a unified system of regulations, the first should be one for keeping track of those retired.There would be no need to keep track of retired horses if owners were responsible.

Pipe dream, I know.

Jleegriffith
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:35 AM
Barnfairy- very much agree with you on that one but I would have to say that I know quite a few trainers that have sent horses to the TRF and these are people that care about their horses and were trying to do the right thing.

It isn't easy to get a horse in the TRF and you had to provide a payment just for them to take the horses. It wasn't like trainers were just shipping them off without caring. Perhaps they didn't follow up with the the horses but I wouldn't agree that it was because they didn't care. Probably didn't follow up because they trusted them to do the right thing.

AppJumpr08
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:36 AM
W, while I totally see your point about the responsibility of the trainers and owners, the TRF agreed to take responsibility for those horses. It's not like they were "dumped" in a TRF-sponsored field. Each and every one of those animals had an application process they had to go through, and the TRF decided to take ownership of them.

Obviously I'd love to see each trainer and each owner make the right decision for their own personal animals, but the TRF is just as responsible in this situation, IMO.


As for the farm owners - it's entirely possible that they *were* trying to get paid/funded to feed the horses - it took months and months and many emails for me to get reimbursed for the foster horses I had in my care, and that was only a couple grand, and a couple horses! Lots of unanswered emails and "it'll happen soons" It's not like the farm owners could legally just start putting horses down - it's made clear to caregivers that the TRF makes the decisions - there's even a permission to euthanize form that needs to be signed by the examining vet, the person providing the foster care, and someone authorized at the TRF... and while putting a horse down is certainly better than letting it starve, it may be the farm owners were worried about legal repercussions if they simply started dropping horses they didn't own.

Bacchus
Mar. 18, 2011, 11:32 AM
From the TRF Facebook page:

The TRF disputes the allegations by Joe Drape about the OK farms. They are either untrue or mis-characterized. TRF is disappointed Mr. Drape chose not to talk with the TRF about the true facts of the horses' care, condition, inspections, complaint response, TRF finances and financial arrangements with farms. TRF president George Grayson and chairman Tom Ludt will make a further comment Friday afternoon.

It is interesting that they weren't really part of the story. I think there was one quote from Grayson? I'll have to re-read it.

Laurierace
Mar. 18, 2011, 11:32 AM
Exactly. TRF can and has turned down countless number of horses that I alone have inquired about donating. It's not like the ones they accepted were tied to the fence in the cover of darkness. A great many of them had a $2500 mandatory donation and/or a per diem accompany them. Aside from the obvious lack of care there is also breech of contract. I wonder if maybe a class action suit is in order?Get their insurance company to cough up some money to clean up this mess.

Bacchus
Mar. 18, 2011, 11:49 AM
Those photos don't show starving horses. The chestnut is ribby, but I know horses coming off winter who look like that, and they are perfectly healthy and have plenty of food -- just tougher keepers. His hips and backbone aren't showing. He's not starving, and who knows how old he is? (The leg is horrendous, but that's for another thread.) The pic of the horse with rain rot is no biggie, either. I have a friend whose horses are well-cared for and one of them got terrible rain rot last year. He looked a lot worse than that, and she was showing him! Again, he's a little ribby, but not starving by any means. I'd rather see a horse's ribs (not backbone and hip bone) than see one that's obese.

I'm not defending TRF, and I'm certain they've done something wrong, but I'm not sure that Joe has all the facts.

I'm going to hold off judgment until TRF responds.

I still believe that the farms that let horses die or starve (if that happened) should have a huge amount of the blame. If you know you can't afford to take care of more horses, don't take them. If you are having problems and TRF is to blame, get to a reporter, authorities, or whomever BEFORE horses start to suffer!

CiegoStar
Mar. 18, 2011, 11:53 AM
I don't think those horses look very good. Not the worst starvation cases we've seen, but not good either.

The photographer is not necessarily a horseman, and would not know "ribby" versus "starved." And I'll bet the worst properties wouldn't let a photographer within 10 miles.

Frankly, if I had been the vet sent by the Mellons, I would have been honestly scared to walk into that kind of situation over and over again.

Bacchus
Mar. 18, 2011, 11:56 AM
Media teleconference with TRF is at 2:00, so stories should start popping out soon after.

AppJumpr08
Mar. 18, 2011, 12:15 PM
No, the horses in the picture aren't starving. But clearly there is something very wrong - if there are farms that haven't been reimbursed for their expenses for years, starving horses or underfed horses, it's an issue that needs to be addressed. Now.



Last September, the T.R.F. owed Out2Pasture Farms in Jamestown, Mo., more than $43,000, The farm, run by two University of Missouri professors, Zachary and Robin Hurst-March, is one of the nation’s most highly regarded sanctuaries for thoroughbreds. When the couple pressed for payment, the T.R.F. asked them to reduce their per diem to $3 a day and eventually removed 13 of their horses.

“I was being emotionally blackmailed to lower my per diem, and was the subject of retribution because I questioned the care of the horses,” said Mrs. Hurst-Marsh, who is owed $10,000.

NCRider
Mar. 18, 2011, 12:59 PM
The problem is that no one wants to make the hard choice which is to put them down when they come off the track at age 3 or 4 broken unless the owner is willing to accept responsibility for the horse for the next 15-20 years.

Couple of other thoughts: 1-I wish the article was by anyone other than Joe Drape because the more I learn about horse racing the more I realize he's a complete sensationalist hack and doesn't bother with the facts most of the time.
2-It sounds like the Mellon Foundation is really trying to break the terms of the endowment and is playing hardball to do so. I'd be curious as to what they propose to do with the funds when they're released from the TRF committment.
3-What's going to happen to these horses now that no one is going to be sending any money to the TRF ever again? I guess you contact the placing owner/trainer and ask if they're willing to take them back and if not, you euthanize them.
4-Horses at retirement facilities are often kind of grubby/wild looking because they're basically tossed in a field and fed. Not unique to the racing industry.

Laurierace
Mar. 18, 2011, 01:08 PM
I am going to send a letter requesting complete disclosure on the whereabouts of all the horses accepted into their program over the years. Maybe a class action suit would be the best course of action. Get their insurance company to cough up some money that could be used to care for the survivors.

Brandy76
Mar. 18, 2011, 01:36 PM
Jlee- amen


I foster for ReRun, and they do a great job, but it's a coordinated effort, from all the trainers, the rescues, the fosters, etc.

We can't fix it overnight, but I just worry now how all this will reflect on the other rescues- they struggle enough without this bad publicity.

Barnfairy
Mar. 18, 2011, 01:37 PM
Barnfairy- very much agree with you on that one but I would have to say that I know quite a few trainers that have sent horses to the TRF and these are people that care about their horses and were trying to do the right thing.

Oh I know good and fine people who have sent horses to the TRF too.

I'm not condemning all race owners and trainers, nor am I defending the TRF. 'Just pointing out that the problem wouldn't exist if people would do the right thing in the first place for the ones that are truly crippled.

BoyleHeightsKid
Mar. 18, 2011, 01:40 PM
Heartbreaking story but maybe will increase donations. The animals certainly need it.

Or discourage people from donating... it's things like this that make it hard for the good ones, especially when it's TRF...

Jleegriffith
Mar. 18, 2011, 01:55 PM
Barnfairy- that is the crucial industry question. Every time I do a track visit, I come away with the same questions for horses that are injured. Even if they do have caring owners who are trying to do the right thing the question is then who will take this horse, who pays for it and where does the funding come from.

I actually had the founder of a very major charity organization related to racing tell me that there were plenty of trail/pasture homes for these horses:sigh: Where??? Those of us who are doing this work directly know that is not the case.

Nobody wants to talk about euthanasia as a viable option.

No_Really
Mar. 18, 2011, 01:57 PM
I have personally met Gayle England and Robin Hurst and have seen the extraordinary care they provide to the horses. I know they have thousands in unpaid bills from TRF, but their greatest fear was that the horses would not be properly cared for and would die. Sadly, I know that was confirmed for a least of few of the horses taken from them.

It's been a "dirty" little secret that no one wanted to speak up because of the fall-out that would probably happen to the effort in general to provide for these horses once they were no longer productive for the industry.

Meanwhile, most of the ALL-VOLUNTEER Thoroughbred organizations such as CANTER, Friends of Ferdinand, Exceller, Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program, Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue (and others whose names aren't springing to the top of my head) are operating on razor thin donations and still manage to put the care of the horses first.

However, every one of these groups cannot even get a blip of attention from the media and have a difficult time getting support from the industry. They don't have fancy fundraisers or paid administrators, and most of them fund admin costs out of their own pocket. I fear that those organizations are going to get painted with the same taint and may find it even harder to get donations and support.

**sigh**

Brandy76
Mar. 18, 2011, 02:02 PM
I have personally met Gayle England and Robin Hurst and have seen the extraordinary care they provide to the horses. I know they have thousands in unpaid bills from TRF, but their greatest fear was that the horses would not be properly cared for and would die. Sadly, I know that was confirmed for a least of few of the horses taken from them.

It's been a "dirty" little secret that no one wanted to speak up because of the fall-out that would probably happen to the effort in general to provide for these horses once they were no longer productive for the industry.

Meanwhile, most of the ALL-VOLUNTEER Thoroughbred organizations such as CANTER, Friends of Ferdinand, Exceller, Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program, Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue (and others whose names aren't springing to the top of my head) are operating on razor thin donations and still manage to put the care of the horses first.

However, every one of these groups cannot even get a blip of attention from the media and have a difficult time getting support from the industry. They don't have fancy fundraisers or paid administrators, and most of them fund admin costs out of their own pocket. I fear that those organizations are going to get painted with the same taint and may find it even harder to get donations and support.

**sigh**


This. I have heard that CANTER, RERun, etc, don't get a fraction of the donations the TRF gets. And the percieved "prestige" that went with TRF that has seemed to overshadow the others.

JLee- Once again, have to agree. One sees these horses and thinks "who will pay this horses' costs for the rest of their lives?" with a career ending injury that leaves them only possibly pasture sound for life? And the horse is 4?
Painful though it is, we must put euthanasia as a more viable, visible option.

Lady Counselor
Mar. 18, 2011, 03:57 PM
:no:
God this makes my stomach turn over. Has anyone heard about how the horses at Walkill Prison have fared? I brought a really sweet guy there for someone a couple of years ago.

He was already starved (and I DO mean starved) when I picked him up from the jackass who had him. He had regained weight, all his frame was covered, was lean but healthy and gaining when I dropped him at the TRF facility.
Dammitall! I hate stories like this.

ryansgirl
Mar. 18, 2011, 05:21 PM
Ray Paulicks reply:

http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/trf-no-easy-solutions/

tradewind
Mar. 18, 2011, 06:47 PM
They had horses in Montana several years ago that met the same fate..Some dude out there offered to board them very cheaply. Well, you get what you pay for. They have taken in way more horses than any organization could be expected to pay for on an ongoing basis. I have a cripple here that has been here since he was two. The organization I fostered for after 7 years decided they wanted him moved to a less expensive situation under the guise of consolodation. Ok fine, but I will take him as my own then. He was not a candidate for adoption and he was eating up dollars. Just say so..and then reevaluate the types of horses you take in and stop taking in cripples that eat up dollars and live just as long, but on the organizations dime not a new homes. There should be the discussion that responsible rescue, rehoming, whatever also means responsible euthanasia. If the owners and trainers cant suck it up and do it, then the retirement/placement/rescues should. There is a finite number of homes available for horses of any kind. All rescues should have a cut off number and a strategy for dealing with chronically unsound individuals.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:31 PM
Pics taken at TRF facility Nov 10, 2010

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/DarylsBirthday2WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/DarylsBirthday1WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/Khastan3WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/Khastan2WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/Khastan1WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

Photos taken by concerned citizen of horses at a TRF facility on Jan 6, 2010

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010027.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010023.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010022.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010015.jpg

TRF Horse photo taken 3/2/2011

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GOLDSTAR1.jpg

AppJumpr08
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:41 PM
OTTBLuvr - where did those pictures come from? The photos from November 10th, 2010 are of the same two horses, are they not? The chestnut is certainly the same horse.

While those horses are absolutely in terrible condition, there is nothing in the photos to indicate *where* they are, and *who* they are.


I would love to know details.

kcgold
Mar. 18, 2011, 10:44 PM
good question...there are a lot of accusations being made back and forth, and these photos could perhaps resolve some of them, but the specifics are needed.

ETA: the photos from the first set are labeled "Windmill Ranch", where is that?

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 18, 2011, 11:00 PM
Charges of Neglect Bring Review By State Officials http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/sports/19horses.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

The foundation also was told last week that it was losing its funding from the A.S.P.C.A. Last year, the A.S.P.C.A. gave the foundation $175,000 from its Million Dollar Rescuing Racers Initiative. Jacque Schultz, senior director of the A.S.P.C.A. Equine Fund, said the foundation was told that to be considered for another $175,000, it had to obtain accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. “They didn’t make satisfactory movement on that front,” Schultz said.

In a statement, Schultz said, “The A.S.P.C.A. Equine Fund grants program seeks to award equine organizations who strive to achieve best practices, including exceptional equine care and innovative and robust fund-raising practices.”

Tom Ludt, chairman of the retirement foundation’s board, said it had failed to complete the paperwork for the application, but offered no explanation why. The foundation owes more than $103,000 to its farms."

TBs4Sale
Mar. 18, 2011, 11:51 PM
As someone involved with placing Thoroughbreds when their racing careers are over, I have had dealings with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. I have been concerned about their business model being unsustainable. The extremely constricting adoption policy and the policy of the horse being returned to the TRF could only lead to a budget busting operation. If you would like to read about Bits & Bytes Farm's response and suggestions go to: http://www.bitsandbytesfarm.com/newz/2011/thoroughbred-retirement-foundation-in-financial-need

lolalola
Mar. 19, 2011, 12:50 AM
Diana's sister and brother-in-law's farm is near my home, and for the record they take very good of their TRF horses. BIL is a STB horse trainer. An earlier post seemed to insinuate there was something wrong with her sister and BIL fostering horses, when they happen to be excellent horsepeople and have gone above and beyond to help both TBs and STBs.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 19, 2011, 01:51 AM
Taken on Oct 14, 2010 when loaded to go to TRF facility.

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GoldStarOct2010Before.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GoldStar10142010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GoldStar-2-10142010.jpg

Same horse as above after 5 months at TRF facility. Photo taken March 2, 2011.

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GOLDSTAR1.jpg

Another horse from same farm being loaded on Oct 14, 2010 to go to TRF

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/WesternSquireHeadOct142010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/WesternSquireBefore.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/WesternSquireBefore_2.jpg

He died on March 9, 2011 due to malnutrition. RIP

sarah v
Mar. 19, 2011, 08:04 AM
:no:
Taken on Oct 14, 2010 when loaded to go to TRF facility.

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GoldStarOct2010Before.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GoldStar10142010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GoldStar-2-10142010.jpg

Same horse as above after 5 months at TRF facility. Photo taken March 2, 2011.

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GOLDSTAR1.jpg

Another horse from same farm being loaded on Oct 14, 2010 to go to TRF

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/WesternSquireHeadOct142010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/WesternSquireBefore.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/WesternSquireBefore_2.jpg

He died on March 9, 2011 due to malnutrition. RIP

:( So very sad...

Hounds
Mar. 19, 2011, 09:18 AM
OTTBLuvr, can you tell us which TRF facility was involved in these photos? That would be helpful in shedding more light. Thank you!

War Admiral
Mar. 19, 2011, 09:20 AM
Wow, OTTBLuvr, that's just awful. Dang, I'd be madder than a hornet. So sorry for your loss, if horse was yours.

I guess my big question is, who are these "caregivers" who would let the horses get like this? OK, the $90/mo. stipend wouldn't even pay for a front set of shoes where I'm from, let alone feed, but nevertheless, if one accepts a horse, surely one is responsible for its care irrespective of whether the TRF is paying or not!

kcgold
Mar. 19, 2011, 09:25 AM
I guess my big question is, who are these "caregivers" who would let the horses get like this? OK, the $90/mo. stipend wouldn't even pay for a front set of shoes where I'm from, let alone feed, but nevertheless, if one accepts a horse, surely one is responsible for its care irrespective of whether the TRF is paying or not!

and if they were not receiving payments, why wouldn't they make noise about it...hire an attorney, contact the media, flood forums with photos and complaints, etc? Instead they just turned their backs on the horses and let them starve? This is horrible all around :(....

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 19, 2011, 09:50 AM
It seems my IP has been banned on the Ray Paulick Report blog or for some reason I cannot post so I cannot answer Dr. Hogan. If someone could relay the message that can post there I would thank you.


The photos I had previously looked at were from Oklahoma, so no they are not the same at all. I did look at your photos and had never seen them before or know where they are from. Did you make a complaint to the TRF or anyone else about this particular facility? I see the timelines include November 2010 as well as March 2011. I would like to know where it is so I can do something about it.

Dr Hogan - Please dig and ask the tough questions of your board. Ask Tom and Diana where these photos were taken and the circumstances, they can tell you because they were contacted numerous times.

Of course you never saw these photos because the person who took them was asked under no circumstances to email them to anyone or say anything about this. After repeatedly asking what the organization was going to do about it, this person decided to email these pics to the "right people". So of course, a complaint was made.

I admire and respect your work but I am also only for the welfare of the horse. I will speak up if I know something or have tough questions. I hope you will do the same and not follow and repeat blindly what you have or have not been told. Sometimes all is not as it seems and I hate to see the good people (like yourself) lie down with dogs and wake up with fleas.

VCT
Mar. 19, 2011, 09:55 AM
4-Horses at retirement facilities are often kind of grubby/wild looking because they're basically tossed in a field and fed. Not unique to the racing industry.

Uhm. No.

The retirees I have boarded here may be a bit muddy in spring because, no I don't have time to do a full out grooming of them all everyday, and I do that as a courtesy for my long distance boarders - they do not pay for it and the board cost certainly doesn't cover that kind of service.

However, they get baths in spring and summer and look shiny and very clean the majority of the year. AND even in spring when they may have some mud on them the *quality* of their coats is good.

One of my retirees lives out with a run-in and is 28 years old. He is nice and round and looks great. Another one is 18, lives in a stall and gets turnout daily and he is in good flesh too, a little too good actually - I've just cut his grain just coming out of winter. And when he arrived here from a "high end" barn he was SKINNY, his feet were bad and every little thing irritated or rubbed his skin. My theory was that he just wasn't as healthy and nourished as he should be and was in general 'weakened' due to that - and you know what - thats proven true, he is much more hardy now. Good quality hay and plenty of it goes a long way.

Sure retirees may lack some muscle in the shoulder/haunches because of lack of work and age.. but they should not be grubby or skinny. They are in their golden years and should be treated with some respect.

VCT
Mar. 19, 2011, 10:11 AM
OTTBLuvr, those photos make me so mad and bring tears to my eyes. They all look awful but the difference in Goldstar is just..... horrifying. :(

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 19, 2011, 10:13 AM
Pics taken at TRF facility Nov 10, 2010

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/DarylsBirthday2WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/DarylsBirthday1WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/Khastan3WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/Khastan2WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/Khastan1WindmillRanchNov2010.jpg

Photos taken by concerned citizen of horses at a TRF facility on Jan 6, 2010

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010027.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010023.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010022.jpg

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/jan62010015.jpg

TRF Horse photo taken 3/2/2011

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/pollyannaiamnot/GOLDSTAR1.jpg

I have been informed the incorrect dates were posted on the January photos. The correct year is 2010 not 2011 - January 2010. Sorry for the confusion. The story remains the same however.

The photos were taken last winter. The photos were sent to the TRF board. The farm continues to operate.

Whistling Dixie
Mar. 19, 2011, 10:24 AM
Has anyone had any luck confirming the current whereabouts and health status of an individual horse? When my elderly parents finally made the very difficult decision to sell their farm in 2005, they returned a mare to TRF which they had been fostering as a companion for their old QH gelding. She was taken to TRF at Blackburn in Kentucky, and the last word we ever got was that she was being shipped to Oklahoma. My parents loved this mare, felt very badly, but were reassured by TRF that she would be taken care of for the rest of her life. I have sent an e-mail to TRF and haven't heard back yet...has anyone been able to get word on their horses? If this mare has been neglected or died my mother will be inconsolable... :(

CVPeg
Mar. 19, 2011, 10:38 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/sports/18horses.html

If racing needs a unified system of regulations, the first should be one for keeping track of those retired.

I stated the above as when I read this article, I was so flabbergasted, I could barely speak - but with years of experience in the insurance and legal fields, my only thought at the time was if they can regulate hundreds of millions of cars, they should be able to make something work keeping track of TBs. And as KY has made a start trying to get the regulations centralized, could they include this issue?

Accountability, if nothing else, might force some to have to think of the horse first - not how their barn or organization looks to others, no matter who is really to blame.

I am constantly mulling over the whole TB racing crisis. I have been horse crazed my entire life - mostly riding/showing/ working to support a hunt seat life riding OTTBs when not detracted by family obligations. Now without those, lately have been thinking about putting together a partnership. Exited one where the principals ultimately proved themselves to really know nothing about horses. They had reputable trainers, could quote speed figures, race conditions, the names of old champions - and talk about their position as owners of a "farm" (on paper), but didn't know how to pick up a hoof. And they didn't know what they were doing when trying to make racing decisions yet remain accountable to their myriad partners.

The partnership model I've been discussing involves having the money up front not just for the purchase of the horse, and intial training, but also to include a large fund for "later". But I don't know how I can sell it out in the real world. The partnership I was initially involved with runs on scrapings from that month's cash calls. I ultimately found out their altruistic leanings towards "finding a home" were all double speak, with token donations, yet last minute flailing at retirement time. TG I was allowed to take mine when he retired, and turned him over to a friend who will do a fantastic job taking him to whatever direction he points.

It is all so difficult to resolve, and of course _the ecomony_ also has contributed to this - those who had the $$$s, or could refinance easily, now have no way to take care of what they've taken on.

I really feel for everyone who can't quite hold it together.

But ultimately, horse breeders, owners, partnerships, care givers all need to be accountable. I know the best could comply when asked, "so how is your horse doing?" If there was only a way to keep track...

Laurierace
Mar. 19, 2011, 12:00 PM
I had 1(one!) horse abandoned in my care last year for several months. Owner's phone was disconnected, certified mail came back undeliverable etc. I called and emailed anyone I could think of including tv stations and newspapers as well as animal control. That filly never missed one single meal but if there had been sixty of her or even twenty or ten I can't say for sure that I would have found a way to feed them all. I can say for sure that I would have made sure everyone on the planet knew what was going on in an effort to remedy the situation. If that meant getting a lawyer and suing them or taking out an ad in Tb Times, so be it. Lots of people dropped the ball here.

JanM
Mar. 19, 2011, 01:00 PM
I'm totally sick of this happening over and over. And it's always the same lame excuses about why animals suffered, and why the person responsibe shouldn't be held accountable. I don't see how this will get fixed either.

Apparently TRF doesn't have the money they need, can't afford to pay the people who actually take care of the horses (or in some cases don't take care of them), and I wonder if the people who placed horses with them will ever find out what happened to their individual animals. I can't believe someone who actually cares about animals can watch an animal starve to death, and still call themselves a human being. I think some of the farm owners were just in it for the money, and when it didn't turn out to be profitable the animals suffered and died since they were just a commodity to some people.

I hope that the directors of TRF won't be insulated from lawsuits that go after their assets, since they do seem to have profitted from the suffering of innocent creatures. And I agree that for some animals a humane euthanasia would be the better solution. I can't believe the animal with the injured leg in the original article picture isn't in pain.

ASB Stars
Mar. 19, 2011, 01:51 PM
What about the five million American Dollars from Mellon?

I'd love to know how the organization is set up. If they are heavy on top- and I have no idea if they are- then the trickle down- which should be the vast majority of the funds, IMHO, may be getting used in some manner which is not consistent with the mission.

Anyone know?

CVPeg
Mar. 19, 2011, 02:05 PM
Have just read an e-mail response to the NYTimes article from former partnership manager, saying "not to worry" - "even though we've donated, none of our horses is there."

So I now see another issue - that the existence of Thoroughbred rescue organizations give a false sense of security to those paper partnership managers, who really don't know what's involved, but feel justified that they've done enough when making token donations to the cause - glad they do, but it has also been used as self aggrandizing...

AppJumpr08
Mar. 19, 2011, 02:29 PM
What about the five million American Dollars from Mellon?

I'd love to know how the organization is set up. If they are heavy on top- and I have no idea if they are- then the trickle down- which should be the vast majority of the funds, IMHO, may be getting used in some manner which is not consistent with the mission.

Anyone know?

From the Bloodhorse (http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/61987/trf-leadership-defends-organization)


Ludt said there is a widespread misconception that TRF is adequately funded, ostensibly due to the Mellon financial support. He said, however, that TRF is restricted to being able to use a percentage of the Mellon funds, usually amounting to a maximum of $350,000 annually.


$350,000 won't go far when it comes to caring for 1200+ OTTBs - if you figure only on the $3/day rate, that many horses still run over 100k per month.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 19, 2011, 02:36 PM
$350,000 won't go far when it comes to caring for 1200+ OTTBs - if you figure only on the $3/day rate, that many horses still run over 100k per month.

No it won't go far but the point is that they never paid it. They paid themselves first.

merrygoround
Mar. 19, 2011, 02:50 PM
[quote]In a statement, Schultz said, “The A.S.P.C.A. Equine Fund grants program seeks to award equine organizations who strive to achieve best practices, including exceptional equine care and innovative and robust fund-raising practices.”

Tom Ludt, chairman of the retirement foundation’s board, said it had failed to complete the paperwork for the application, but offered no explanation why. The foundation owes more than $103,000 to its farms."[End Quote]

That is absolute stupidity. Someone was being paid to do that but wasn't smart enough to realize that his paycheck depended on it, or it would have been done. Now I hope he loses his paycheck over it.

AppJumpr08
Mar. 19, 2011, 04:03 PM
No it won't go far but the point is that they never paid it. They paid themselves first.

And I'm not arguing that point for a second ;) as mentioned earlier in this thread, I'm still owed money by the TRF for a horse I fostered recently and it has consistently been a process to get paid for services I've provided over the past few years.

witherbee
Mar. 19, 2011, 04:12 PM
This is just sickening. Another bad thing for the horses that was supposed to be a good thing and help them. I have no idea what really happened, but bottom line IMO is that TRF did not have good enough oversight to check on these horses and pull them or pay for them or euthanize them before they got to this point. They got way too big too fast and did not forecast how much money was needed for over 1,000 horses.

I really hope someone can dig them out of this mess, but they will be hard pressed to make any money now at all with this bad press. So sad that Mr Mellon's endowment may revert back to some other function and TRF may be deisolved. Makes you wonder if some folks had another agenda and were hoping to get that money diverted. It's too bad they can't bail themselves out and slim down to the point where they can afford to keep a smaller number of horses.

I have also heard that some sound horses are sent to TRF with no plans to adopt them out - I would thinlk it should only be for the unsound or old ones, and for the unsound, should only be for horses with some quality of life and no pain or expensive vetwork needed for them long term. I know it's subjective, but still they should try to have some policy to help keep expenses down and still provide good care.

I really hope this gets straightened out to the horse's benefit, but am not optimistic. Those poor, poor horses!

Third Glance
Mar. 19, 2011, 04:15 PM
What about the five million American Dollars from Mellon?

I'd love to know how the organization is set up. If they are heavy on top- and I have no idea if they are- then the trickle down- which should be the vast majority of the funds, IMHO, may be getting used in some manner which is not consistent with the mission.

Anyone know?

It's an endowment. They are limited in how much of it they can use in any given year; they can't just dip into the fund whenever they need money.

But it's obvious the Mellon estate has been unhappy for sometime with TRF, or they wouldn't have launched the private investigation that led ultimately to Drape's story. And as per Drape, the Mellon estate paid the med expenses for any horse Dr. Huntingdon (their investigator) identified as needing "urgent care" during her investigation, to the tune of "tens of thousands" of dollars.

No_Really
Mar. 19, 2011, 05:47 PM
They got way too big too fast and did not forecast how much money was needed for over 1,000 horses.



This.

When rapid unsupportable growth happens in a physical body, do you know what it is called?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
It's called cancer.

And it is just as poisonous to a business (or non-profit) as it is to a person or animal.

Barnfairy
Mar. 19, 2011, 06:05 PM
This.

When rapid unsupportable growth happens in a physical body, do you know what it is called?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
It's called cancer.

And it is just as poisonous to a business (or non-profit) as it is to a person or animal.With one major difference: you don't get crucified in public for having cancer.

Have an unsustainable business model? It doesn't matter how good your intentions are. You will be fried for mismanaging funds.

Unless you are General Motors, in which case you also get a sizeable bailout.

If TB retirement is a cancer, then the TRF is finding out they can't cure the uncurable.

No_Really
Mar. 19, 2011, 06:06 PM
With one major difference: you don't get crucified in public for having cancer.

Have an unsustainable business model? It doesn't matter how good your intentions are. You will be fried.

Unless you are General Motors, in which case you also get a sizeable bail out.

You forgot AIG (whose bailout ultimately bailed out Goldman Sachs....)

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 19, 2011, 07:48 PM
Foundation Fires Vet Who Found Neglect.

The veterinarian who had been evaluating hundreds of former racehorses and found that many of them needed urgent care, were malnourished and neglected, some fatally, was fired Saturday by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/sports/20horses.html?_r=1

No_Really
Mar. 19, 2011, 07:59 PM
From the article:


The foundation told its farms to prohibit Huntington or any other unauthorized veterinarian from inspecting its horses unless it is the farms’ regular veterinarian.

This does not bode well.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 19, 2011, 08:28 PM
Wait. Didn't the Mellon Estate contract Dr. Huntington to assess the herd. Can the TRF BOD fire her if they hired her? That's just crazy!

AppJumpr08
Mar. 19, 2011, 08:40 PM
Wait. Didn't the Mellon Estate contract Dr. Huntington to assess the herd. Can the TRF BOD fire her if they hired her? That's just crazy!

Per This (http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/61987/trf-leadership-defends-organization) article, the TRF had "endorsed" the third party vet... but I agree, it does seem strange that they are now "firing" her, even if they wern't paying the bills.

While I am 100% sure there is a problem with finances and the situation at some of these farms, it's becoming more clear to me that Joe Drape isn't really doing a well-rounded reporting job on this story.
There's each side's version, and there's the truth...which is somewhere between the two.


IMO, being 24 and toothless IS NOT a reasonable excuse for why a horse is emaciated/extremely thin/how ever you'd like to phrase it... if they can't process their food anymore, they should be laid to rest. Especially when they are under the financial care of an organization struggling to keep up with it's financial obligations.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 19, 2011, 08:45 PM
I do know for a fact she was fired today. Not sure if that's where you are questioning the reporting or not.

FatPalomino
Mar. 19, 2011, 08:47 PM
It's a shame that the TRF didn't get this under control years ago, when they were notified of it.

It's not a new problem.

What it really sucks for, is all the horses in the future who won't be able to get into rescue, because no one will trust rescues.... if the biggest and best are corrupt, who can you trust?

It just stinks all around, mostly for the horses.

Third Glance
Mar. 19, 2011, 08:58 PM
I haven't seen any information yet that implies real corruption -- but plenty of managerial ineptness and an inexplicable disinclination to seek help.

Laurierace
Mar. 19, 2011, 09:18 PM
Corrupt signifies misappropriation of funds and such to me. This is a million times worse than corruption. This is breech of contract, betrayal of trust, negligence, abuse and neglect all rolled into one. If corruption is the cherry on top or not makes no difference to me and the horses that I and others entrusted to them.

TBs4Sale
Mar. 19, 2011, 10:05 PM
I stated the above as when I read this article, I was so flabbergasted, I could barely speak - but with years of experience in the insurance and legal fields, my only thought at the time was if they can regulate hundreds of millions of cars, they should be able to make something work keeping track of TBs. And as KY has made a start trying to get the regulations centralized, could they include this issue?

Accountability, if nothing else, might force some to have to think of the horse first - not how their barn or organization looks to others, no matter who is really to blame.

I am constantly mulling over the whole TB racing crisis. I have been horse crazed my entire life - mostly riding/showing/ working to support a hunt seat life riding OTTBs when not detracted by family obligations. Now without those, lately have been thinking about putting together a partnership. Exited one where the principals ultimately proved themselves to really know nothing about horses. They had reputable trainers, could quote speed figures, race conditions, the names of old champions - and talk about their position as owners of a "farm" (on paper), but didn't know how to pick up a hoof. And they didn't know what they were doing when trying to make racing decisions yet remain accountable to their myriad partners.

The partnership model I've been discussing involves having the money up front not just for the purchase of the horse, and intial training, but also to include a large fund for "later". But I don't know how I can sell it out in the real world. The partnership I was initially involved with runs on scrapings from that month's cash calls. I ultimately found out their altruistic leanings towards "finding a home" were all double speak, with token donations, yet last minute flailing at retirement time. TG I was allowed to take mine when he retired, and turned him over to a friend who will do a fantastic job taking him to whatever direction he points.

It is all so difficult to resolve, and of course _the ecomony_ also has contributed to this - those who had the $$$s, or could refinance easily, now have no way to take care of what they've taken on.

I really feel for everyone who can't quite hold it together.

But ultimately, horse breeders, owners, partnerships, care givers all need to be accountable. I know the best could comply when asked, "so how is your horse doing?" If there was only a way to keep track...

I have been thinking about how to expand the mission of Bits & Bytes Farm for many years. We have been retraining and finding suitable matches for ex-race horses for almost ten years. There are way too many horses and too little money --but there is technology. My "real" job is in technology and using it for marketing. I know we could use the technology to place and track horses. Photo updates and status updates on horses placed by rescue groups could be done by a "Facebook" like site dedicated to keeping track of all Thoroughbreds. Read more about our idea and lets use the new technology to solve a long standing problem of how to help Thoroughbreds when their racing careers are over. https://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=191552544207084&topic=1930

Elizabeth Wood
Bits & Bytes Farm
www.BitsandBytesFarm.com
www.Facebook.com/BitsandBytesFarm

Third Glance
Mar. 19, 2011, 10:29 PM
Dr. Patty Hogan's response to today's NYT article, from the Paulick Comments section:

Just to clarify a "sensational" NY Times headline once again...Dr. Huntington was not fired by the TRF because she was not hired by the TRF -she was hired by the Mellon Fdn Trustees. Dr. Huntington was told that she would not be permitted entry to any more TRF farms. The reasons being, 1.) the TRF fully cooperated and encouraged the herd evaluation back in December 2010 but has yet to see a single evaluation or report of each farm and herd. Instead the information seems to have gone directly instead to Mr. Drape. The goal is to fix any problems that currently exist and that kind of behavior does nothing to assist us in that process. And 2).the TRF would like the herd evaluated by multiple, objective veterinarians who have the same goal of finding the urgent and long-term problems with the entire herd and to advise the TRF on how to fix them. Release of that information to the public or to donors is not an issue at all - that is a valid request. But to bypass the TRF and release that information to the media for the purpose of creating drama is really not appropriate and does nothing to help the horses at all. What is/has happened to the horses is unacceptable - period. One horse is too many - and the whole purpose of the herd evaluations agreed upon in DECEMBER 2010 was to find these problems, fix them immediately,and implement new policies and procedures to make sure there is a valid safety net and that they never happen again.

Laurierace
Mar. 19, 2011, 10:44 PM
I didn't think it was possible but that response actually did make me feel a little better about his mess. I try very hard not to live in the past but have zero tolerance for repeating past mistakes, even with myself. Time to roll up your sleeves and get this fixed.

CVPeg
Mar. 20, 2011, 06:24 AM
I have been thinking about how to expand the mission of Bits & Bytes Farm for many years. We have been retraining and finding suitable matches for ex-race horses for almost ten years. There are way too many horses and too little money --but there is technology. My "real" job is in technology and using it for marketing. I know we could use the technology to place and track horses. Photo updates and status updates on horses placed by rescue groups could be done by a "Facebook" like site dedicated to keeping track of all Thoroughbreds. Read more about our idea and lets use the new technology to solve a long standing problem of how to help Thoroughbreds when their racing careers are over. https://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=191552544207084&topic=1930

Elizabeth Wood
Bits & Bytes Farm
www.BitsandBytesFarm.com
www.Facebook.com/BitsandBytesFarm

These are great ideas.

I was almost thinking of a broader basic database, overseen by the body which creates the newly proposed national racing regulations - wherein if a horse sets foot on a track, is ever used as breeding stock, or at the very least, runs his first race, he/she must first go into "Location Central", which keeps track of every transaction, sale, claim, etc. So it is somehow known where he/she is, or at least who is responsible for the racehorse at any point in its life. And that some kind of basic vet check, like a car inspection, be required to be submitted each year.

And an added benefit might be that original breeder/early-on owner, could add a note to "Mr. Please Don't Lose Me's" entry that they would be glad to take him back if needed!

Third Glance
Mar. 20, 2011, 09:39 AM
Dr. Stacey Huntington replies to Dr. Hogan (at the Paulick site):

I have read many of the comments posted in tbe past 24 hours. I was hired by TRF to provide them with ALL the information i could gather by evaluating the different farms. As Tom Ludt said at the time he recommended to the Board that i be hired, "Let's get it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly." i am still completing my reports, sending in names of horses for the Mellon trustees to provide emergency care for, compiling discs of pictures. No one, and i mean NO ONE, has seen all of my reports. I did not institute Joe Drape's investigation although i did warn George Grayson it was going to occur in a conference call after the horses came up missing from the the one TRF farm. I have not given Mr. Drape any materials nor have i had any extensive conversation with him. Although i was fired from doing any more evaluations this morning, i hope and believe that the evaluations that i have done will serve to ultimately help the horses regardless of the fact that some people are feeling very uncomfortable right now

Comment #121, http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/trf-no-easy-solutions/?commentStart=120#Comments

Hillside H Ranch
Mar. 20, 2011, 11:00 AM
I know, for a fact, that the report on the horses' condition from the Missouri farm was sent directly to TRF, and not to the Mellons. Our practice was employed to be the "independent vet" for that farm, and one of our doctors was there as well as Dr. Huntington. At the time, we had no idea this whole situation was brewing; we were contacted by a rep from TRF in regards to examining all of the horses on that property. That was carried out and our reccomendations and findings were sent directly to our contact at TRF. They also paid our practice for the work done, and the check came directly from TRF. I can't speak to the other farms, but to say no report was received by TRF, in that particular case, is simply not true.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 20, 2011, 12:59 PM
I know, for a fact, that the report on the horses' condition from the Missouri farm was sent directly to TRF, and not to the Mellons. Our practice was employed to be the "independent vet" for that farm, and one of our doctors was there as well as Dr. Huntington. At the time, we had no idea this whole situation was brewing; we were contacted by a rep from TRF in regards to examining all of the horses on that property. That was carried out and our reccomendations and findings were sent directly to our contact at TRF. They also paid our practice for the work done, and the check came directly from TRF. I can't speak to the other farms, but to say no report was received by TRF, in that particular case, is simply not true.

Thank you Hillside Farm for stating this. I just don't understand how and why the TRF is doing what they are doing, it is incomprehensible. They are digging the hole deeper and deeper. Someone needs to take the shovel from them and they just need to face the music and fix it. IF (and a big IF) that can even be done. Horses are dead and no one can bring them back. The damage is done.

FatPalomino
Mar. 20, 2011, 02:20 PM
^^^^^ I concur.

It's time for TRF to grow a set, admit there's been massive mistakes, stop the lies and half-truths, and change what the TRF has been doing, because it obviously isn't working well for the horses. Many people have known about this (I know board members of the TRF that have known for YEARS) and they swept it under the rug, and now the pile is too big to hide.

Do the right thing, TRF, for the horses you have now and all the future horses that need a place to land.

AlleyOop
Mar. 20, 2011, 07:43 PM
The news of such a large, prosperous organization letting horses slide through the cracks is discouraging to say the least. I have spent the last year or so observing horse rescues via the internet to try to safeguard my anti slaughter beliefs. My family is in the cattle/horse business and has been for generations and they are pro-slaughter. I have stood alone with my anti slaughter beliefs, but now, after reading this, I am not so sure where I stand.

The largest point of my families pro slaughter argument has been confirmed with this debacle. There are simply too many horses for rescues to absorb and private homes are few and far between. The end result is horses starving in record numbers. I know that the number of horses going to slaughter has not changed, but I conceive that more diasterous stories such as this one have appeared in the past couple of years than in prior years. Nobody has a solution.

**OTTBLuvr** I want to thank you for posting the links to the pictures. They speak volumes about the people who were entrusted with the care of these horses and it really brought home the reality for me. Your pics have actually helped me to consider my families pro slaughter arguments as valid. Before this happened, everyone believed that this orgainzation was reputable and took great care of the horses. Now I wonder how many other rescues and orgs out there are getting a firm pat on the back, but are actually covering up the fact that they have horses sliding through the cracks? Who can be trusted any more? It looks like those who can be trusted today, can't be trusted tomorrow. Someone mentioned policing rescues. Well who is going to trust those who are "policing"? Before this happened, I was pretty generous with contributions to couple of horse rescues, but not anymore.

It's pretty darn sad when you realize you have to "choose" between starvation or slaughter.

TBs4Sale
Mar. 20, 2011, 09:08 PM
These are great ideas.

I was almost thinking of a broader basic database, overseen by the body which creates the newly proposed national racing regulations - wherein if a horse sets foot on a track, is ever used as breeding stock, or at the very least, runs his first race, he/she must first go into "Location Central", which keeps track of every transaction, sale, claim, etc. So it is somehow known where he/she is, or at least who is responsible for the racehorse at any point in its life. And that some kind of basic vet check, like a car inspection, be required to be submitted each year.

And an added benefit might be that original breeder/early-on owner, could add a note to "Mr. Please Don't Lose Me's" entry that they would be glad to take him back if needed!

That's a great idea! The Jockey Club makes you return the papers if you don't want the horse raced but then the horse can be "lost". How many stories have you heard about people wanting to learn more about the past of their OTTB? A chip could track the horse just like the vets use for lost dogs. It could be scanned and the information could automatically be put into the system.

We need a "CarFax" for Thoroughbreds. This would be the database that would record sales and injuries. The Jockey Club already tracks all the races and sales numbers. A database could easily trigger an e-mail to someone wanting to track a horse and a small fee could be charged to access information to help pay for the system. There are several systems in place right now that do this if you are tracing a horse that is racing. You get e-mails automatically when the horse works out, enters a race or races.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 20, 2011, 09:31 PM
That's a great idea! The Jockey Club makes you return the papers if you don't want the horse raced but then the horse can be "lost". How many stories have you heard about people wanting to learn more about the past of their OTTB? A chip could track the horse just like the vets use for lost dogs. It could be scanned and the information could automatically be put into the system.

We need a "CarFax" for Thoroughbreds. This would be the database that would record sales and injuries. The Jockey Club already tracks all the races and sales numbers. A database could easily trigger an e-mail to someone wanting to track a horse and a small fee could be charged to access information to help pay for the system. There are several systems in place right now that do this if you are tracing a horse that is racing. You get e-mails automatically when the horse works out, enters a race or races.

All great ideas. I found out something last year that I didn't know when I spoke to the JC about getting papers for my OTTB. Some people write "DO NOT RACE" on the JC papers. This does no good whatsoever like some people think. It is considered defacement and the new owner can get a new set of papers and race the horse tomorrow.

Also if you breed a JC registered TB to another JC registered TB, you don't have to have JC papers in your hand and the horse can be registered as a TB with the JC. I was quite astounded at these revelations. The lady was very patient and kind answering questions for me.

kbean
Mar. 20, 2011, 09:55 PM
The TRF has been caught neglecting their horses, falling behind in paying their farms/caretakers, ignoring repeated warnings about the worsening conditions on their farms and instead of taking responsibility they are choosing to deny, deflect, do anything but stand up and do the right thing for the horses they VHOSR to take responsibility for. How dare they? Sure, they're having financial problems but has anyone seen a plea for help, a real plea for help from the TRS? I haven't. I've seen lots of warm and fuzzy bullsh*t from them and their exec director Diane Pikuskli or whatever her name is. Horses are dead, emaciated, horses that were in good shape only a few months ago (check out FB - there's a tribute to Gold Star). Horses are missing and presumed dead. PRESUMED DEAD? WTF?!? I guess the TRF hasn't figured out that you have to feed a horse, especially an OTTB, and especially during the winter.

Ray Paulick was complaining about former board members trying to "poison" thr TRF a few years ago. Well I got onto google and read what was written in the BloodHorse (when Paulick was editor btw) and it sounded like those board members who left, including their former president and the one who was "removed" made A LOT of sense. Hell, the truth hurts doesn't it? If they were trying to poison the TRF then why did Paulick print it back then - right before he joined the group.

And firing the vet to hire a "prominent" vet? How about a vet who knows how to evaluate a horse? Does Dr. Hogan know how? Bet not.

The whole thing reeks of coverup. The TRF is screwed up. Period. They'll probably never admit it now. Hopefully the AG's investigation will shut them down and someone who gives a damn will step in. In the meantime let's hope tje horses get what they need.

And they ARE choices besides starvation and slaughter. Taking in only as many horses as you can afford to support. Humane euthanasia. Breeding and owning responsibly.

If the TRF continues they need to get rid of everyone, board., management, and start over so they can be trusted. They suck.

kbean
Mar. 20, 2011, 10:03 PM
The TRF has been caught neglecting their horses, falling behind in paying their farms/caretakers, ignoring repeated warnings about the worsening conditions on their farms and instead of taking responsibility they are choosing to deny, deflect, do anything but stand up and do the right thing for the horses they VHOSR to take responsibility for. How dare they? Sure, they're having financial problems but has anyone seen a plea for help, a real plea for help from the TRS? I haven't. I've seen lots of warm and fuzzy bullsh*t from them and their exec director Diane Pikuskli or whatever her name is. Horses are dead, emaciated, horses that were in good shape only a few months ago (check out FB - there's a tribute to Gold Star). Horses are missing and presumed dead. PRESUMED DEAD? WTF?!? I guess the TRF hasn't figured out that you have to feed a horse, especially an OTTB, and especially during the winter.

Ray Paulick was complaining about former board members trying to "poison" thr TRF a few years ago. Well I got onto google and read what was written in the BloodHorse (when Paulick was editor btw) and it sounded like those board members who left, including their former president and the one who was "removed" made A LOT of sense. Hell, the truth hurts doesn't it? If they were trying to poison the TRF then why did Paulick print it back then - right before he joined the group.

And firing the vet to hire a "prominent" vet? How about a vet who knows how to evaluate a horse? Does Dr. Hogan know how? Bet not.

The whole thing reeks of coverup. The TRF is screwed up. Period. They'll probably never admit it now. Hopefully the AG's investigation will shut them down and someone who gives a damn will step in. In the meantime let's hope tje horses get what they need.

And they ARE choices besides starvation and slaughter. Taking in only as many horses as you can afford to support. Humane euthanasia. Breeding and owning responsibly.

If the TRF continues they need to get rid of everyone, board., management, and start over so they can be trusted. They suck.

lolalola
Mar. 20, 2011, 10:55 PM
Patty Hogan is my friend and neighbor. She has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of surgeries to TBs and STBs rescued by many organizations and some individuals. She has several rescue horses of her own. I know she will get to the bottom of this situation and find out what happened. She also emphasizes promoting horses for second careers after racing, which does not seem to have been a TRF priority.

FatPalomino
Mar. 21, 2011, 12:43 AM
Dr. Hogan is certainly a great vet and has done great things to help horses in need. She's also an equine surgeon with a very good practice, and odds are, very little spare time. I'd strongly suspect that the TRF horses most in need of help and evaluation aren't in central NJ or close to there, where Dr Hogan is.

The horses in the middle of nowhere, that's the ones I'd worry about. And, I know for a fact, that's the ones that people have been telling the TRF about for YEARS to go look at.

If Dr. Hogan has time to drive to 57 miles left-of-the-Cottonwood-tree in Oklahoma tomorrow, that'd be amazing. There is no doubt that she would do the right thing by the horse. But I am sure there are many, many other qualified vets that can get there tomorrow, take pictures, access general conditions like shelter, fencing, and quality of feed, and can do so objectively.

I agree with Dr Hogan that

Donations are already so hard to come by in these tough economic times, and the less people are inclined to trust and give, the less horses that will be cared for.
It's just a tragedy to me that the TRF, the leader in the industry, couldn't get this problem under control sooner. It's only going to hurt many more horses, besides the ones that were already killed.

Robin Hurst
Mar. 21, 2011, 07:31 AM
Our Out2Pasture farm is the Missouri facility that was mentioned in the NYT article. We have served TRF for over 10 years specializing in those retirees that do not thrive at strictly turnout facilities and need extra care.

In December of 2009, a representative of TRF contacted us to say that unless we immediately reduce our per diem from $5 (the original rate that we started with TRF in 2001) to $3, that the horses residing on our farm would be moved to other TRF facilities that “could provide the same level of care for less money”.

At the time of the call TRF was 7 months behind in payments but we continued to care for 44 TRF horses and NEVER allowed their care to diminish. We continued to provide quality alfalfa, grain, medications/vet, farrier, euthanasia and burial on our dime. The outstanding payments were secondary to our primary interest of the welfare of the horses and what would happen if they were moved to other locations.

I expressed my concerns to the entire TRF board beginning in December of 2009. I explained the horses at our facility do not thrive on strictly turnout facilities and I had serious reservations about the farms where they would be moved to. It should be noted that many of our retirees were sent to us BECAUSE they did not fare well in the turn-out environment of other TRF farms.

I wrote an additional series of letters to the TRF Board in January 2010 expressing that I was very disturbed by the current atmosphere of fear and intimidation that had arisen by asking all farms to go to $3 a day or less. This situation was pitting satellite farms against one another by awarding more horses to the lowest per diem-“he who charges less gets more horses”. That is not a trait that we should be striving for to care for our equine companions.

We also contacted various national animal welfare organizations regarding what was transpiring.

In November 2010 the first loads of TRF horses were removed from our farm to another TRF satellite farm in Oklahoma. We currently have 21 TRF horses remaining and all are in good flesh and have an excellent quality of life. It is our hope that this story prevents further shipment of our remaining horses, some of which we have cared for since 2001, from our facility.

Dr. Robin Hurst
Out2pasture.com

Laurierace
Mar. 21, 2011, 09:29 AM
That must be a nightmare for you Robin. I am so sorry. Thank you for doing what you can. My only hope at this point is that none of the horses who suffered and died did so in vain. Perhaps that was exactly what needed to happen to open everyone's eyes so we can work together towards a solution.

caffeinated
Mar. 21, 2011, 10:19 AM
Did Out2Pasture, or any of the other farms who were owed money, file a stableman's lien or other legal action?

Just something I was wondering about. It seems if one was owed for 7 months of care, that would be a reasonable course of action... just curious if any of the farms pursued that.

CVPeg
Mar. 21, 2011, 11:15 AM
Did Out2Pasture, or any of the other farms who were owed money, file a stableman's lien or other legal action?

Just something I was wondering about. It seems if one was owed for 7 months of care, that would be a reasonable course of action... just curious if any of the farms pursued that.

I can see why they wouldn't. If you're caring for dozens of horses, your main concern and expenditure of time is for them. Others in the horse world who have been ripped off by other horsemen just seem to move on, and take care of their own. Anyone familiar with running to attorneys often knows that the time and effort spent in litigation wastes even more funds, time, and especially mental health. Plus, you can't get blood from a stone. While it would have been rightly owed, the money taken from TRF for litigation would be money taken from perhaps other horses.

It is just so wrong that those with the best of intentions are those being taken advantage of. I'd like to see the board members who demanded care at $3 per diem be made to live on the same.

No_Really
Mar. 21, 2011, 11:20 AM
The other consideration in filing a stableman's lien is, what are you going to do if awarded the lien? Sell the horses for the money owed?

caffeinated
Mar. 21, 2011, 11:31 AM
The other consideration in filing a stableman's lien is, what are you going to do if awarded the lien? Sell the horses for the money owed?

Euthanize, or at least not allow horses off the property until the money's paid.

If (hypothetically), a lien was awarded, I don't think for a minute it would have helped recoup any funds. But the big issue here is what does a farm owner do when they don't have the money to feed a horse and can't sell it or euthanize it.

Like I said, I was just curious if any of the farm owners attempted this (my idle, wandering mind, basically).

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 21, 2011, 11:44 AM
I have begun to doubt any sort of "rescue organization" having seen so many in which the animals go from bad to worse.

Here's an interesting take on horse rescues:

http://www.dressagedaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6037:thorobred-equine-rescue-under-fire-how-to-make-things-better&catid=18:horse-health&Itemid=427

Bacchus
Mar. 21, 2011, 11:50 AM
That's a great idea! The Jockey Club makes you return the papers if you don't want the horse raced but then the horse can be "lost". How many stories have you heard about people wanting to learn more about the past of their OTTB? A chip could track the horse just like the vets use for lost dogs. It could be scanned and the information could automatically be put into the system.

We need a "CarFax" for Thoroughbreds. This would be the database that would record sales and injuries. The Jockey Club already tracks all the races and sales numbers. A database could easily trigger an e-mail to someone wanting to track a horse and a small fee could be charged to access information to help pay for the system. There are several systems in place right now that do this if you are tracing a horse that is racing. You get e-mails automatically when the horse works out, enters a race or races.

The Jockey Club offers very inexpensive chips for Thoroughbreds, but it's up to the owner to have a vet insert them. Unfortunately, today's chips can hold only so much information, but at least the horse can be identified. One of the problems is making sure rescues, etc., have a reader, and those can be a few hundred dollars.

Lady Counselor
Mar. 21, 2011, 12:23 PM
One thing I've found puzzling from the first is the per day rate of $3/head. Is that a rate that was bargained down to by TRF from a higher rate? (even 5/per isn't enough)
With the prospect from the very beginning of losing money, why then are some of these places dealing with numbers like 60 head? You know as well as I do they will be very difficult to maintain without money coming in.
Why would a place not limit the numbers to those they could handle if in a pinch?

Kyzteke
Mar. 21, 2011, 01:13 PM
Somehow, we as the horse community have to step up and help take responsibility. There are too many rescues out that are a front for money scams or for hoarders.

I hear too many times about "bail" for horses...and "please rescue from the kill buyer". There are worse things than death...slow starvation is one, needing urgent medical care is another.


Thanks you, thank you, thank you for stating this!!

In our misguided desire to have a Disney-view of life where no one ever dies we have created a system that simply DOES NOT WORK!!! When are folks going to get this?

Why in heaven's name people thought we (as a country) could afford to keep retired horses (some very young) economically when millions of dogs & cats are put down each year for lack of funds, is still a mystery to me.

For the amount of $$ put into this project we could have had several "humane" slaughter plants constructed and/or lobbied for much tougher laws regarding transport, both of which is a more workable solution than trying to keep every horse ever born alive for the next 30 years.

Re-train the ones who can be re-trained and offer end-of-life homes to aged broodies, etc.

But folks -- THEY CAN'T ALL BE SAVED!! Those are just the facts....

Yes, it involves very, very hard choices -- you bet -- just like the hard choices made by every small-animal shelter in this country. But that is Life.

As for "the industry making so much money off of these horses..." in general, I doubt that most of these animals were big $$-makers.

Either way, it costs way more than $90 a month to keep a horse -- heck, I charge $100 per month just for hay & regular worming. That is NO grain, NO farrier work, NO vaccines. All that stuff is extra. So whoever came up with that price was dreaming.

Extra funds could be generated by taking a chunk from the auction prices (see if you can get F-T or Keenland to go for that one :no:), but even with that sort of contribution, again I say:
You cannot save them all.

If the sport is to stay afloat, hard choices much be made. Period. If you simply cannot stomach the idea of humane slaughter, then have them put down.

But to just let them starve or be in pain for months and months (if not years)....THAT is true cruelty. Slaughter would have been a blessing compared to this sort of treatment.

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 21, 2011, 01:21 PM
I'm with you, Kyzteke!

A family member of mine got involved with a start-up rescue, and I was appalled to see that their first rescued horses were very aged and/or completely unsound. Those horses would suck up all available resources for many years, without being adoptable. So the rescue organization was not sustainable from the get-go.

Well intentioned rescues are becoming an irresponsible owners "retirement plan" for their horses. I know of several situations in which horses were placed in a rescue when the rider went off to college. One family gave the rescue a $1,000 donation to take the horse, which didn't even cover the vet bills as the horse was lame with a torn suspensory. The family was NOT of low income by any means.

Irresponsible owners like this, coupled with rescues that put "life itself" above productivity or even quality of life are the cause of the problem.

Tamara in TN
Mar. 21, 2011, 01:33 PM
[QUOTE=Kyzteke;5497921]
Either way, it costs way more than $90 a month to keep a horse -- heck, I charge $100 per month just for hay & regular worming. That is NO grain, NO farrier work, NO vaccines. All that stuff is extra. So whoever came up with that price was dreaming.

If the sport is to stay afloat, hard choices much be made. Period. If you simply cannot stomach the idea of humane slaughter, then have them put down.

UOTE]

if the price was set for run in sheds and nearly year round grass turnout in the midwest back in 2002,sure that was a fair easy price to pay and to be paid.

now not so much.

and it's not about the sport.It is in fact about keeping any equine for any reason in this day and age and economy.

We have not "needed" horses since 1925 in any large capacity,in the 1950 the drafts were almost totally extinquished.

The Sam Savitt type pony in the two car garage does not exist anymore,if it ever did.And the horse men are dying.Soon however,the horse havers will grow tired of their charges as well.

My personal opinion is that people should not be allowed to dump a horse on someone else.They should have to stand there and watch it's dead body hit the ground like all the rest of us.Grow up or go home,but don't cause misery to living things cause you're a coward.

There I said it.

Tamara Howard

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 21, 2011, 01:52 PM
[quote]

if the price was set for run in sheds and nearly year round grass turnout in the midwest back in 2002,sure that was a fair easy price to pay and to be paid.

now not so much.

and it's not about the sport.It is in fact about keeping any equine for any reason in this day and age and economy.

We have not "needed" horses since 1925 in any large capacity,in the 1950 the drafts were almost totally extinquished.

The Sam Savitt type pony in the two car garage does not exist anymore,if it ever did.And the horse men are dying.Soon however,the horse havers will grow tired of their charges as well.

My personal opinion is that people should not be allowed to dump a horse on someone else.They should have to stand there and watch it's dead body hit the ground like all the rest of us.Grow up or go home,but don't cause misery to living things cause you're a coward.

There I said it.

Tamara Howard

Amen.

Third Glance
Mar. 21, 2011, 03:44 PM
From The Atlantic Monthly:

http://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2011/03/thoroughbred-racings-off-track-scandal-somebody-please-save-the-horses/72723/

And more names and details now to attach to the horses:

http://www.examiner.com/equine-advocacy-in-national/horses-pay-dearly-for-trf-s-failure-to-pay-true-costs-of-their-care

Kyzteke
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:04 PM
My personal opinion is that people should not be allowed to dump a horse on someone else.They should have to stand there and watch it's dead body hit the ground like all the rest of us.Grow up or go home,but don't cause misery to living things cause you're a coward.[/b]


Double Amen!! I have some 6+/- horses & ponies buried on my property, all of which were not candidates for slaughter in that they were destroyed because acute illnesses/injuires. And I was there when each one of them hit the ground. Was it nice? Hell, no!

But Death is part of Life, folks. Grow up!

People these days are in such denial of Death & dying (I'm an RN who works mostly in geriatrics, so I've watched more people die than I have horses...:sadsmile:) and I could tell you stories, believe me.

The fact is, just being alive does not guarantee a "good" life to any of us -- horse or animal. Period.

Since the slaughter ban I have personally seen a marked increase in "toss-away" horses, badly run rescues and even horses just turned loose to fend for themselves. My vet regularly tells me stories -- in one case a "rescue" not only spent thosands on an elderly horse with a serious, inoperable leg injury (not to mention painful), simply because some moron could not stand to see this horse die.

Even my vet just shook her head.

We all have to earn a living in this world....or at least earn our retirement. I have 2 older broodies (ages 17 & 24) who will be with me till their quality of Life declines because they've earned it.

But if I had to chose between saving the life of a viable young horse with a future and that of one of the old broodies -- no doubt who I'd choose.

Maybe it's because this "horse rescue" is such a new idea, but some of these rabid "anti-slaughter" folks need to work at an animal shelter for a month or so. Take a look at the 55 gal. garbage cans overflowing with the dead bodies of cats & kittens, puppies & dogs. Lack of space and funds makes hard choices necessary at most shelters. Period.

So if we can't figure out the problem to funding a poodle who might live 12 yrs, how do you think we are going to fund a 1200 lb horse who might live for 30? Hello? Reality check, please!

What the heck were people thinking anyway? I'll tell you what -- they were NOT thinking....and now so many animals suffer for it.

Would I send a horse to slaughter? No, but I WOULD take a horse to slaughter.

See back in my day, I lived near a so-called "humane slaughter plant." It was in VA. You could haul your horse there (make an appointment first), have it weighed, be paided and they would kill it right then and there. I watched 2 horses (one of which had a neurological condition and one of which was simply unsafe for anyone to ride) be killed right in front of me (using the bolt).

Back then, when gas was cheap, it was worth it. Maybe today, not so much. But it sure beats the crap o/o turning a blind eye to the situation while smugly saying "well, I helped ban slaughter, so now all the little horsies are safe and happy."

No, they are not. Instead, they are suffering twice as much...especially the ones being send to horrific places like Mexico.

Way to go, animal lovers! Great work! Maybe instead of making ignorant, impressionable people watch slaughter videos ('cause I'll give you guys a clue...Death is almost never "pretty," no matter how it happens), they should make these people watch videos of some poor starving horse living month after month in hope he WILL die and stop the misery.

Ah....don't get me started....

Just keep in mind a fact: just because you can't stand to watch it, doesn't mean it ain't happening.....

Tamara in TN
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:14 PM
See back in my day, I lived near a so-called "humane slaughter plant." It was in VA. You could haul your horse there (make an appointment first), have it weighed, be paid and they would kill it right then and there.
.

"Cavalier" perhaps? Are they now known as Valley Proteins?

Tamara

CVPeg
Mar. 21, 2011, 05:51 PM
[QUOTE]



the horse men are dying.Soon however,the horse havers will grow tired of their charges as well.

Tamara Howard

That's about the best description of the current state of affairs I've heard yet.

Kyzteke
Mar. 21, 2011, 10:21 PM
"Cavalier" perhaps? Are they now known as Valley Proteins?

Tamara

I'll be honest Tarmara, I don't remember the name. This was over 30 years ago and I haven't even lived on the East Coast (with horses) for close to that long. I remember my boyfriend went with me, back when I was young enough to have a partner I could call a "boy":lol:....and he and his family had used this facility several times.

They were farmers and livestock was livestock -- they were not cruel, but there were no free rides. They lived outside Leesburg, VA and this was about 2 hrs. from there.

Banning slaugher was one of the single stupidest thing this country ever did for horses, and that is because you are exactly right -- horsemen are no longer in charge of the industry.

I do not believe in a cruel death for ANY living creature (and that includes the pigs, sheep, cows & chickens that most of us gobble down daily), so the answer to me was stricter transport laws and MORE slaughter plants, so the animals don't have to travel as far. Have them designed in such a way to reduce stress -- it can be done.

But Death comes to us all, and (like I said) it is rarely a pretty, peaceful experience. Sometimes, but not usually. But it's better to suffer some for 12-24 hrs. then to suffer for months and even years like these TBs have done (and they aren't the only ones).

I've watched at least 12 horses put down "humanely" by vets and they all acted differently. Some struggled and fell and struggled and fell fought the meds the whole time. A quick bullet or bolt would have been kinder.

Personally, I think most of us are so far from experiencing Death that we just can't bear to see it....sad, because it waits for us all.

I honestly can't believe how many people bail when it comes time to put down a loyal pet or horse. They "can't stand to see it," so they take off and leave the dirty work to the vet. What kind of loyalty is that?

kdow
Mar. 22, 2011, 12:40 AM
I honestly can't believe how many people bail when it comes time to put down a loyal pet or horse. They "can't stand to see it," so they take off and leave the dirty work to the vet. What kind of loyalty is that?

I will argue this one point - I think it's better for the animal if you know you're going to be very upset if you're NOT there. Because most of the companion animals we have put down by vets (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) are sensitive to our emotional state - either by reading body language, tone of voice, smell, whatever. So better a vet and assistant who can do the entire process calmly and quietly than having an owner around who is going to get hysterical or be all freaked out and get the animal wound up.

That said - this is one reason why I always suggest that people TALK TO THEIR FRIENDS about this possible scenario - because that friend who might not be able to be there for the death of HER Old Faithful might have just enough emotional distance to be able to be there for yours, and vice versa. So in that way, the animal can have someone with them who is known to some extent - and if this is your plan, you should make time for the friend in question to establish a relationship with the animal also - but who isn't going to be getting the animal wound up.

Not everyone is able to be calm in that situation. I'd rather they faced that reality and made allowances for it (by bringing in a friend, by informing the vet so the vet can bring an assistant, whatever) than that they put off the deed because they feel like they should be there but can't do it.

(And by establish a relationship, I don't mean that they need to take your horse and ride it for weeks - but they can come over and do some grooming or help you around the stable now and then, and vice versa, or with a dog or cat maybe they pet sit for you. Just enough so that they're not a stranger to the animal when the day comes.)

I will totally fess up that I take a friend or family member with me when I have to take an animal to the vet, also, particularly one that's ill. It's a LOT easier for me to be comfortable that I'm doing the right thing if I can talk it over with someone else who also heard what the vet said, and maybe caught something I missed. I am willing to do the same for the people who go with me, when their animals need to go to the vet. It works out.

Tamara in TN
Mar. 22, 2011, 06:53 AM
one of the better spoken thoughts here in a long time.thank you for it.
tamara




I'll be honest Tarmara, I don't remember the name. This was over 30 years ago and I haven't even lived on the East Coast (with horses) for close to that long. I remember my boyfriend went with me, back when I was young enough to have a partner I could call a "boy":lol:....and he and his family had used this facility several times.

They were farmers and livestock was livestock -- they were not cruel, but there were no free rides. They lived outside Leesburg, VA and this was about 2 hrs. from there.

Banning slaugher was one of the single stupidest thing this country ever did for horses, and that is because you are exactly right -- horsemen are no longer in charge of the industry.

I do not believe in a cruel death for ANY living creature (and that includes the pigs, sheep, cows & chickens that most of us gobble down daily), so the answer to me was stricter transport laws and MORE slaughter plants, so the animals don't have to travel as far. Have them designed in such a way to reduce stress -- it can be done.

But Death comes to us all, and (like I said) it is rarely a pretty, peaceful experience. Sometimes, but not usually. But it's better to suffer some for 12-24 hrs. then to suffer for months and even years like these TBs have done (and they aren't the only ones).

I've watched at least 12 horses put down "humanely" by vets and they all acted differently. Some struggled and fell and struggled and fell fought the meds the whole time. A quick bullet or bolt would have been kinder.

Personally, I think most of us are so far from experiencing Death that we just can't bear to see it....sad, because it waits for us all.

I honestly can't believe how many people bail when it comes time to put down a loyal pet or horse. They "can't stand to see it," so they take off and leave the dirty work to the vet. What kind of loyalty is that?

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 22, 2011, 09:03 AM
But Death is part of Life, folks. Grow up!

People these days are in such denial of Death & dying (I'm an RN who works mostly in geriatrics, so I've watched more people die than I have horses...:sadsmile:) and I could tell you stories, believe me.

The fact is, just being alive does not guarantee a "good" life to any of us -- horse or animal. Period.
.....


In your line of work, denial of death is not an option. I'm not sure how many people are aware (or how many want to be aware) that there is a branch of philosophy/anthropology that deals with the denial of death and questions whether much of what makes us human grows out of our consciousness of death and how we deal with that. Fascinating work for those interested. The seminal work was a book called "The Denial of Death" by Eernest Becker (it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974.) For those who want a quick understanding of the principles, a film was made not long ago called "Flight from Death". Here are the links-

http://www.amazon.com/Denial-Death-Ernest-Becker/dp/0684832402/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300798845&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_43?url=search-alias%3Ddvd&field-keywords=flight+from+death+the+quest+for+immortali ty&sprefix=flight+from+death+the+quest+for+immortalit y

As one of the reviews describes the work: "The documentary is built around the ideas of Ernest Becker, a brilliant social scientist whose books "The Denial of Death" and "Escape from Evil" really drive the commentary of this documentary. In particular, the notion that a great deal of human striving and culture revolves around our denial of death and our yearning for immortality is the touchstone idea of the film. The lesser idea--that much of human evil derives from a neurotic ambition to make a mark, control others, gain monumental wealth and power--surely helps to explain many of the difficulties we see in our current world."

This theory might explain that rescue folks are often trying to cope with their own mortality by exerting "control" over animals on their way to slaughter in an attempt to deny death.

omare
Mar. 22, 2011, 11:04 AM
Along those lines it seems that the TRF should have had guidlelines on when to put the retirees down--per the article link, they shipped and tried to save a 29 year old. Maybe he was neglected but maybe he was in a real decline and the neglect was in the fact they did not put him down sooner.

This thread has been timely and comforting to me as I have a vet coming out next week to look over and arrange logistics on three of my old retirees who are looking their age and do not jump up from a roll anymore. Thank you.

caffeinated
Mar. 22, 2011, 12:27 PM
Along those lines it seems that the TRF should have had guidlelines on when to put the retirees down--per the article link, they shipped and tried to save a 29 year old. Maybe he was neglected but maybe he was in a real decline and the neglect was in the fact they did not put him down sooner.

One of the things Dr. Hogan mentioned in her comments on paulick report was the need to address euthanasia policy. I sincerely hope they do, as it seems they have not addressed this in a consistent or pragmatic way in the past.

I know that when euthanasia was brought up at the safety and welfare summit last year, the head of the TRF seemed very uncomfortable with that topic, to say the least. Not sure if that is clear on the video (downloadable here: http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/summitDisplay.asp?section=41)

I think development of a realistic and pragmatic euth policy, along with increasing efforts to rehome horses rather than just warehouse them, could be really good for TRF and I hope the current board members look into ways to improve those things.

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 22, 2011, 01:18 PM
One of the things Dr. Hogan mentioned in her comments on paulick report was the need to address euthanasia policy. I sincerely hope they do, as it seems they have not addressed this in a consistent or pragmatic way in the past.

I know that when euthanasia was brought up at the safety and welfare summit last year, the head of the TRF seemed very uncomfortable with that topic, to say the least. Not sure if that is clear on the video (downloadable here: http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/summitDisplay.asp?section=41)

I think development of a realistic and pragmatic euth policy, along with increasing efforts to rehome horses rather than just warehouse them, could be really good for TRF and I hope the current board members look into ways to improve those things.

Ah, but wouldn't people only send donations to a "no kill" shelter? ;)

Kyzteke
Mar. 22, 2011, 02:08 PM
I will argue this one point - I think it's better for the animal if you know you're going to be very upset if you're NOT there. Because most of the companion animals we have put down by vets (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) are sensitive to our emotional state - either by reading body language, tone of voice, smell, whatever. So better a vet and assistant who can do the entire process calmly and quietly than having an owner around who is going to get hysterical or be all freaked out and get the animal wound up.


Sorry -- just another self-indulgent cop- out. ANother perfect example of the focus somehow turning from the animal who is about to face Death to "how much it bothers me, me, ME." After all, you aren't the one who is dying (yet...your time will come, believe me).

What if it was your child who was sick or hurt? Would you just bail because you might get hysterical? Would you let your child die alone?

Heck, no! You are an ADULT (we assume) and have some control of your feelings do you not? So, even if it tears our heart out, in these situations we must step up to the plate and be a Man (in the metaphorical sense, of course).

Look, Death is never easy. And this modern society, where we try so hard to pretend Life is a merry dance and we will all live forever, has only made it worse. Kids are shielded from dying, people put their "loved ones" in nursing homes or hospitals where they die (often) alone or at best surrounded by strangers. Even the sight of an animal being slaughtered is abhorrent to us, no matter how quickly and "humanely" it is done. We are so separated from reality we never even think that the tidy little plastic-wrapped package of meat we bring home for dinner was once a living, breathing creature.

We are simply scared out of our living minds of Death, which is as stupid as being scared of Birth or Life. All three happen to every creature ever born...this is how it has always been, and always will be. And sticking your head in the sand or covering your eyes at the "icky" parts will not change this Reality.

So, if you are a TRUE friend to the animal which has been a friend to YOU for all these years, you owe them the comfort of your presence in the last minutes of their life. You owe them the fact that the sound of a familiar, loving voice telling them how wonderful they have been will be the last thing they hear as they slip away.

Is is hard? Oh, geeze, is it hard...

I remember many, many years ago, when I was much younger and my heart was still very tender....a beloved dog of mine got hit by a car. I rushed him to the vet, crying hysterically.

As he lay dying, with me sobbing over him, he raised up his bloody head, trying to lick the tears from my face. HE was comforting ME.

I tell you, I consider myself a pretty ballsy gal, but that dog shamed me...he just totally shamed me....

Now, if a dog can show that courage and loyalty, surely we humans (supposedly so superior) can reciprocate?

Let me just ask people one thing: do you think your dog would desert YOU as you were dying?

I rest my case....

PS to KDOW -- the "you" is not aimed at you personally, so please do not take it that way.

Kyzteke
Mar. 22, 2011, 02:19 PM
In your line of work, denial of death is not an option. I'm not sure how many people are aware (or how many want to be aware) that there is a branch of philosophy/anthropology that deals with the denial of death and questions whether much of what makes us human grows out of our consciousness of death and how we deal with that.

It is true that people who deal with Death on a regular basis (some nurses, hospice personal, funeral directors, etc) simply cannot go into that line of work and be in denial of Death.

And, from my experience, those people often have a richer, fuller out-look on Life as well. They see Death as our natural end, which of course it is. Some of our lives are very brief and sad, while others are long and well-lived, but the fact is, as Jim Morrison said, "None of us get out of here alive."

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross also wrote many books on Death & Dying (the title of one of her books) and her experiences and philosophys are taught in almost all advanced nursing programs in this country.

Oddly enough, none of this is taught to doctors in med school...

Way off topic, but there you have it.

Third Glance
Mar. 23, 2011, 08:48 AM
The most detailed, and balanced, story yet:

http://www.drf.com/news/thoroughbred-retirement-foundation-strains-mellon-estate-overshadow-key-issues-horses

The Mellon-TRF relationship looks to be beyond repair at this point.

Toadie's mom
Mar. 23, 2011, 09:37 AM
And the NY Times follow up from last night.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/sports/23horses.html?_r=1&ref=sport

I haven't read this entire thread, but I did read the 1st NYT article and immediately called a good friend who used to work for the TRF. She quit about 3yrs. ago due to frustration with management.

She emailed me last night and said she would not put anything in writing, except to say that Joe Drape is correct.

BTW, just personal opinion, I met the manager of Claybank several years ago and I was not impressed.

AiryFairy
Mar. 23, 2011, 06:41 PM
I will argue this one point - I think it's better for the animal if you know you're going to be very upset if you're NOT there. Because most of the companion animals we have put down by vets (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) are sensitive to our emotional state - either by reading body language, tone of voice, smell, whatever. So better a vet and assistant who can do the entire process calmly and quietly than having an owner around who is going to get hysterical or be all freaked out and get the animal wound up.

Or maybe, just make it "not about YOU" right now, because when your animal is in that situation IT IS NEVER ABOUT "YOU" - is everyone so self absorbed that they can't imagine something else might be more important than "YOU" getting upset and crying? Suck it up and get a grip on your hysteria, (which IMO is the height of self indulgence), pull on the grown up pants and do what's right for your faithful friend. I really don't get the people who can't stand to be there because they might get upset and cry. So what? WHO CARES ABOUT YOU? Goodness, that was rant-y......:(

Xctrygirl
Mar. 23, 2011, 07:04 PM
You know there are a whole myriad of reasons why your answer won't work. As with all animals, it's nearly impossible to have a "One way fits all" type of conduct.

For example... MY mother insists on being by her pets side when they are put down. I know her philosophy and I respect what she believes. I have only had to put down one animal, my dog of 10 years and I knew long before she got older that I would never be able to be in the same room when it was time. My vets and I spoke at length about it and we devised a plan that worked. I was present when they sedated my dog (she had a sudden injury that basically signed her death decree b/c of cancer complications) and once we determined she needed to be put down they did it while I cried my eyes out in the parking lot.

If I had been in the room, even knowing right from wrong I would have prevented the vet from doing it. My motherly insticts are very very strong. But somehow knowing I was there for the last moments of her consciousness was a way through for me.

Everyone involved with animals should have a good grip on what they can and can't handle. I think that in the end that's more valuable for all.


~Emily

Kyzteke
Mar. 23, 2011, 07:12 PM
Or maybe, just make it "not about YOU" right now, because when your animal is in that situation IT IS NEVER ABOUT "YOU" - is everyone so self absorbed that they can't imagine something else might be more important than "YOU" getting upset and crying? Suck it up and get a grip on your hysteria, (which IMO is the height of self indulgence), pull on the grown up pants and do what's right for your faithful friend. I really don't get the people who can't stand to be there because they might get upset and cry. So what? WHO CARES ABOUT YOU? Goodness, that was rant-y......:(

Yeah, it was rant-y, but you said in one paragraph what it took me almost a page to say.

Good for you!

kdow
Mar. 23, 2011, 07:45 PM
Or maybe, just make it "not about YOU" right now, because when your animal is in that situation IT IS NEVER ABOUT "YOU" - is everyone so self absorbed that they can't imagine something else might be more important than "YOU" getting upset and crying? Suck it up and get a grip on your hysteria...

My point was that some people CAN'T - they've tried before, they've been in other situations, whatever. Some people are just legitimately bad in high stress or emergency situations, and I have far more respect for someone who will admit to that and make arrangements accordingly so their animal can go peacefully than someone who can't get a grip but stands there anyway crying or practically vibrating from tension and gets the animal upset.

But like I said, there are things that people who know (or suspect) they're in that group can do beforehand to ease the way - like making sure that someone who CAN be there for the deed also has a good relationship with the animal, so when the time comes someone known can be there even if it isn't the owner.

(An example would be one of my mom's friends, if she thought she was going to have trouble - we've dog sat for him several times, and he's had 'play dates' with one of our dogs also, so if the time came, a member of our family could go be with him and he knows us and is comfortable with us. It might not be AS ideal for him as if his owner could be there and calm, but it's better than just leaving him with the vet and vet techs who are effectively strangers.)

(For the record, I am in the group that can 'suck it up and deal' - I fall apart AFTER the stressful situation is dealt with, if I'm going to.)

Note: This is not an excuse for people who can't make the decision to put Dobbin down and try to give him away or rehome him basically hoping someone else will deal with the mess. I'm talking strictly about people who recognize the deed needs to be done, and are willing to pay for it and make the arrangements, but just can't be there at the actual time of doing the deed.

If you can't make the DECISION, then you shouldn't be in a position of potentially needing to. Different kettle of fish.

rustbreeches
Mar. 23, 2011, 08:02 PM
My dad just had to put his 4 yo filly down today. After her last start two weeks ago (which she won) she came back ouchy. They did x-rays and she had two massive chips in her knee. The vet recommendation was that even with surgery she would only have a nodding acquaintance with soundness. Her breeding was average, and she had only won a MSW and nickel claimer. My dad made absolutely the right decision to keep this horse from a life of pain. She wasn't worth breeding and clearly the TRF isn't going to be able to help. I wish more owners could be that responsible. There is nothing wrong in letting a horse "go gently into that goodnight."

Jasika8745
Mar. 24, 2011, 05:14 AM
Heartbreaking story but maybe will increase donations. The animals certainly need it.



Yes they need it.

LauraKY
Mar. 24, 2011, 10:06 AM
Here's a perfect example of what needs to be done in the racing industry:

Dale Romans Racing Stable selects Second Stride to place 15 horses in his care so they can be transitioned to a new career (http://www.secondstride.org/romanspressrelease.pdf)

This is how it needs to be done. No hefty adoption fees (some waived in this case), but the adopter/purchaser is thoroughly vetted.

I really like Second Stride's philosophy on placing horses too. From their website:

"We do place to qualified resale homes, because our experience is they provide a better service to the horse. Even the kindest ex-racer can be young and impressionable, so how they are treated and trained over their first year away from the track influences the useability they will have for the rest of their lives. The best initial homes are experienced trainers who work with the horses for the time it takes to get them solidly started and going in a new career before reselling them. Our worst experiences have come from placing a racehorse directly off the track directly with an amateur rider who has overestimated their riding and training capabilities, or who do not follow through with trainer involvement that they promise. Such horses usually end up back in our program and take double the time to place as we untrain and then retrain them."

Bravo to Dale Romans! And bravo to Second Stride for a job well done, in the past and in the future.

As an aside, mention has been made of MMSC and the mice issue. Mice aside, I have never heard a whisper that the horses were not well cared or well fed. The same is true for the farms in South Carolina. They are the only TRF farms I am familiar with...so I can't make any judgments on the other. I do think (notice I said think...this is only my opinion) the TRF takes on too many horses with limiting injuries that makes them unadoptable or adoptable only to pasture puff homes.

When someone makes the statement (in defense of TRF, I suppose) that making this public hurts the horses is the kind of faulty reasoning that allows this type of situation to continue. Will it hurt some horses currently in the care? Yes, quite possibly. Will it stop this from continuing in the future with this organization? Most likely. It does sound like there are some serious problems that need to be rectified. Hopefully they will be. Hiding problems and sweeping them under the table ultimately does no one any good.

LauraKY
Mar. 24, 2011, 10:18 AM
In looking through the horses (on the Second Stride website) there is one "special needs adoption". Please note however, the race trainer is absorbing all the costs for the horses. Second stride will be vetting the homes. This is the way it needs to be done. Responsible breeders/trainers and responsible placement agencies.

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 24, 2011, 10:31 AM
I really like Second Stride's philosophy on placing horses too. From their website:

"We do place to qualified resale homes, because our experience is they provide a better service to the horse. Even the kindest ex-racer can be young and impressionable, so how they are treated and trained over their first year away from the track influences the useability they will have for the rest of their lives. The best initial homes are experienced trainers who work with the horses for the time it takes to get them solidly started and going in a new career before reselling them. Our worst experiences have come from placing a racehorse directly off the track directly with an amateur rider who has overestimated their riding and training capabilities, or who do not follow through with trainer involvement that they promise. Such horses usually end up back in our program and take double the time to place as we untrain and then retrain them."


Boy do I agree with that philosophy. A year with a trainer may also turn up any unsoundness (such as those tricky to diagnose back problems) that interferes with the horse's trainability.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 24, 2011, 11:43 AM
Here's a perfect example of what needs to be done in the racing industry:

Dale Romans Racing Stable selects Second Stride to place 15 horses in his care so they can be transitioned to a new career (http://www.secondstride.org/romanspressrelease.pdf)

This is how it needs to be done. No hefty adoption fees (waived in this case), but the adopter/purchaser is thoroughly vetted.

I really like Second Stride's philosophy on placing horses too. From their website:

"We do place to qualified resale homes, because our experience is they provide a better service to the horse. Even the kindest ex-racer can be young and impressionable, so how they are treated and trained over their first year away from the track influences the useability they will have for the rest of their lives. The best initial homes are experienced trainers who work with the horses for the time it takes to get them solidly started and going in a new career before reselling them. Our worst experiences have come from placing a racehorse directly off the track directly with an amateur rider who has overestimated their riding and training capabilities, or who do not follow through with trainer involvement that they promise. Such horses usually end up back in our program and take double the time to place as we untrain and then retrain them."

Bravo to Dale Romans! And bravo to Second Stride for a job well done, in the past and in the future.

As an aside, mention has been made of MMSC and the mice issue. Mice aside, I have never heard a whisper that the horses were not well cared or well fed. The same is true for the farms in South Carolina. They are the only TRF farms I am familiar with...so I can't make any judgments on the other. I do think (notice I said think...this is only my opinion) the TRF takes on too many horses with limiting injuries that makes them unadaptable or adoptable only to pasture puff homes.

When someone makes the statement (in defense of TRF, I suppose) that making this public hurts the horses is the kind of faulty reasoning that allows this type of situation to continue. Will it hurt some horses currently in the care? Yes, quite possibly. Will it stop this from continuing in the future with this organization? Most likely. It does sound like there are some serious problems that need to be rectified. Hopefully they will be. Hiding problems and sweeping them under the table ultimately does no one any good.

Thank you so much for posting this. I lurve lurve lurve this!

luvmytbs
Mar. 24, 2011, 11:53 AM
Here's a perfect example of what needs to be done in the racing industry:

Dale Romans Racing Stable selects Second Stride to place 15 horses in his care so they can be transitioned to a new career (http://www.secondstride.org/romanspressrelease.pdf)



I am absolutely thrilled to read this.

The article also mentions Tom Drury and Donnie Grego. Kudos to them as well. I have met Donnie Grego on several occassions, he is a wonderful person and used to jump ride himself so he is definitely aware of the potential of a TB off the track.

I hope others will follow in their footsteps.

Kyzteke
Mar. 24, 2011, 12:37 PM
I have only had to put down one animal, my dog of 10 years and I knew long before she got older that I would never be able to be in the same room when it was time.
~Emily

Well, Emily, what are you going to do when you have children? Say, (heaven forbid), one of them is hurt badly and needs medical attention.

What are you going to do -- leave them in the hands of a capable stranger while you go "cry your eyes out" in the parking lot? I doubt it. You will do what you have to do.

This IS easier to do (although maybe "easy" is not the best word) when you have been through it once or twice.

Just like a broken heart, Death is hardest to take the first few times...

caffeinated
Mar. 24, 2011, 12:46 PM
Well, Emily, what are you going to do when you have children? Say, (heaven forbid), one of them is hurt badly and needs medical attention.

What are you going to do -- leave them in the hands of a capable stranger while you go "cry your eyes out" in the parking lot? I doubt it. You will do what you have to do.

This IS easier to do (although maybe "easy" is not the best word) when you have been through it once or twice.

Just like a broken heart, Death is hardest to take the first few times...

You know, I have a lot of thoughts on this particular subject, but I'm confused at what it actually has to do with the topic at hand - mismanagement/issues at the TRF.

Kyzteke
Mar. 24, 2011, 01:04 PM
You know, I have a lot of thoughts on this particular subject, but I'm confused at what it actually has to do with the topic at hand - mismanagement/issues at the TRF.

At it's core, it has to do with "death not being the worst thing" -- but it is abit OT, I freely admit.

Of course, that has NEVER happened before here at COTH, has it?:)

LauraKY
Mar. 24, 2011, 01:11 PM
After looking at Second Stride's horses, it's a good thing my barn is full! We have two OTTBs of our own and love, love them.

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 24, 2011, 02:04 PM
You know, I have a lot of thoughts on this particular subject, but I'm confused at what it actually has to do with the topic at hand - mismanagement/issues at the TRF.

Because the TRF does not have a clear policy about when it will put a horse down. If money is tight, is it better to starve 100 young horses or put a few of the old, sick, lame horses down?

In my view, the latter. But in our "anti-slaughter" "no kill" culture, we don't want to think about the inevitability of death and so more horses starve or fail to get routine care (farrier, teeth) so that old horses with minimal quality of life can continue to live it out in misery.

THAT's what it has to do with mismanagement/issues at the TRF.

DLee
Mar. 24, 2011, 02:08 PM
I think it is pretty unkind to judge someone who has made the difficult decision to put their horse down for not being there holding the rope.
I just had my beloved CANTER cutie, Danny, put down on Monday. No matter what, no matter how 'it is time', it always sucks. Yes I am there holding the rope, talking in his ear the entire time. That is me and what I choose to do. I have done it with too many horses over the years.
My neighbor put down her little TWH last summer and chose not to be there. This little foundered horse had the best of care her entire life, was never rideable, no expense or amount of effort on my neighbor's part was spared to keep her comfortable. When that was no longer possible, who am I (or anyone) to fault her and call her self centered because she did not want to be there and see it?
I would have been there for her but she didn't ask me, I didn't know it was happening. Either way, it was her decision, the horse had the best life that horse could have ever had, and a quiet end on it's own farm. So what that she didn't hold the rope? It is just a non-issue to me, because people are so very different. It doesn't make anyone "less".

Tamara in TN
Mar. 24, 2011, 02:34 PM
You know, I have a lot of thoughts on this particular subject, but I'm confused at what it actually has to do with the topic at hand - mismanagement/issues at the TRF.

the sub thread started when someone <me?> noticed that people were dumping off OTTB that they no longer wanted back to TRF when they did not work out for them...

I said that sucks to dump horses like that and you should have to stand there and hold the lead rope,not just dump and run.Do I think that applies to decades long owners who "just can't" ?? I dunno

tamara

kdow
Mar. 24, 2011, 06:00 PM
I said that sucks to dump horses like that and you should have to stand there and hold the lead rope,not just dump and run.Do I think that applies to decades long owners who "just can't" ?? I dunno


When I talk about people who just can't be calm enough at the time to be there without making the situation worse for the animal (by virtue of the animal picking up that the person is upset and becoming tense/agitated/nervous) I am categorically NOT talking about people who use that as an excuse to dump said horse at an auction, rescue, or leave it to suffer to death in some pasture or stall rather than make the difficult decision.

Once you've gotten the vet out to do the deed, and made sure that there are sufficient people (friend, vet tech, whatever) for things to be handled safely and calmly, if you need to walk away and not hold the lead rope while the deed is actually done, imo you're still taking responsibility for the animal to an acceptable degree.

(People who take said horses to rescues or auctions so they can avoid making the decision, on the other hand, deserve all the scorn and contempt someone might like to heap upon them, because seriously. Take responsibility.)

No_Really
Mar. 24, 2011, 07:44 PM
(People who take said horses to rescues or auctions so they can avoid making the decision, on the other hand, deserve all the scorn and contempt someone might like to heap upon them, because seriously. Take responsibility.)

I can paraphrase the phone calls/e-mails that rescues receive from these people and it essentially goes like this:


Hi - I have a horsie that is broken that I can't ride anymore. Will you take my broken horsie so that I can get a horsie I can ride?

:no:

kdow
Mar. 24, 2011, 07:52 PM
I can paraphrase the phone calls/e-mails that rescues receive from these people...

Maybe a rescue should have a policy of only potentially adopting horses out to such callers if they come and do X hours of volunteering. And then give them the really horrible cleaning-gaping-wound jobs.

(I'm not talking about "cleaning a stall, ew" I'm talking about having to clean and re-dress a really nasty injury, hold other horses for the vet, stand there for half an hour in crappy weather because a horse needs to be soaked or hand-grazed... Basically, make them provide the care they should've been giving their own horse. If they survive that, then maybe they can have another one. Maybe.)

Laurierace
Mar. 24, 2011, 08:59 PM
Many years before the neglect came to like I had a big problem with TRF's lack of attention paid to adoption. They would adopt a horse to you if you banged their door down but they sure didn't go out of their way to get the horses "out there." The Secretariat Center was supposed to solve that problem but didn't make much if any difference in my opinion. While TRF was good about accepting injured horses that every other rescue turned away they weren't all injured. There was no need to warehouse them for years. You move them out so you can take in more. And euth the ones that need to be put down regardless of whether that ideally should have been done before the horse came to them or not. NO ONE said rescue was easy. NO ONE said it would be fun everyday. But you either do the whole job or you don't take the job in the first place,

MintHillFarm
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:59 AM
Many years before the neglect came to like I had a big problem with TRF's lack of attention paid to adoption. They would adopt a horse to you if you banged their door down but they sure didn't go out of their way to get the horses "out there." The Secretariat Center was supposed to solve that problem but didn't make much if any difference in my opinion. While TRF was good about accepting injured horses that every other rescue turned away they weren't all injured. There was no need to warehouse them for years. You move them out so you can take in more. And euth the ones that need to be put down regardless of whether that ideally should have been done before the horse came to them or not. NO ONE said rescue was easy. NO ONE said it would be fun everyday. But you either do the whole job or you don't take the job in the first place,

That about sums it up.

Who watches the watchers? Accountability has to happen on all levels.

No_Really
Mar. 25, 2011, 02:16 PM
Maybe a rescue should have a policy of only potentially adopting horses out to such callers if they come and do X hours of volunteering. And then give them the really horrible cleaning-gaping-wound jobs.

(I'm not talking about "cleaning a stall, ew" I'm talking about having to clean and re-dress a really nasty injury, hold other horses for the vet, stand there for half an hour in crappy weather because a horse needs to be soaked or hand-grazed... Basically, make them provide the care they should've been giving their own horse. If they survive that, then maybe they can have another one. Maybe.)

I'm not talking about people that wanted to adopt a horse, I'm talking about people that have an unsound horse, and they can't afford to keep both an unsound horse along with a horse they can ride.

So they want the rescue to take the unsound horse so they can go out and buy another horse and still feel "good" about the horse they are getting rid of. And no, they couldn't "afford" to sponsor the care for said horse at a rescue. I ticked off quite a few people when I suggested they euthanize the horse instead. Yep - I was a cold and heartless be-yotch.

animaldoc
Mar. 25, 2011, 02:18 PM
Many years before the neglect came to like I had a big problem with TRF's lack of attention paid to adoption. They would adopt a horse to you if you banged their door down but they sure didn't go out of their way to get the horses "out there." The Secretariat Center was supposed to solve that problem but didn't make much if any difference in my opinion. While TRF was good about accepting injured horses that every other rescue turned away they weren't all injured. There was no need to warehouse them for years. You move them out so you can take in more. And euth the ones that need to be put down regardless of whether that ideally should have been done before the horse came to them or not. NO ONE said rescue was easy. NO ONE said it would be fun everyday. But you either do the whole job or you don't take the job in the first place,

I agree - IMO the model of "take them all in for the rest of their lives" doesn't work unless there are unlimited resources (and when is that ever true?). Horses that can go on to second athletic careers should get the resources/care/retraining needed to be adopted. There are a limited number of pasture puff homes, and in this economy they are filling up (and going away) quickly....

laserRob
Mar. 28, 2011, 03:25 AM
Can anyone explain what the freak happened to TRF's Investment Income and Other Revenue?

Page 2 of the following:

2008:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments//2008/133/132/2008-133132741-054662e9-9.pdf

2009:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments//2009/133/132/2009-133132741-06a88570-9.pdf

Then check Part VIII......line 8c.

Anyone know? I got ideas.....but not sure.

PeteyPie
Mar. 28, 2011, 01:34 PM
"It's pretty darn sad when you realize you have to 'choose' between starvation or slaughter."

You could say, "choose between starvation and euthanasia." Don't let the spinners perpetuate that false choice of starvation vs. slaughter. It's like an advertising jingle, or that "when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife" metaphor that rephrases the complexities of the truth. People starve horses even though slaughter is available. Starvation has nothing to do with slaughter and it's not a one-or-the-other thing in most situations, including this one where people paid money to have their horses taken care of.

As for disposal, I'll never for a minute believe that those in the racing industry cannot afford to euthanize.

OTTBLuvr
Mar. 28, 2011, 01:53 PM
Can anyone explain what the freak happened to TRF's Investment Income and Other Revenue?

Page 2 of the following:

2008:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments//2008/133/132/2008-133132741-054662e9-9.pdf

2009:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments//2009/133/132/2009-133132741-06a88570-9.pdf

Then check Part VIII......line 8c.

Anyone know? I got ideas.....but not sure.

That's strange. Almost $700k.

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 28, 2011, 01:54 PM
By some reports, animal hoarding (by so called "rescuers") is the number one animal welfare problem in the USA.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_110268.html

When will we recognize this mental health problem in people who are attracted to rescue work? :cry:

Barnfairy
Mar. 29, 2011, 08:49 AM
By some reports, animal hoarding (by so called "rescuers") is the number one animal welfare problem in the USA.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_110268.html

When will we recognize this mental health problem in people who are attracted to rescue work? :cry:Sounds like you already do.

Quick! Call Animal Planet! I'd love to see the issue of thoroughbred retirement resolved in an hour long episode of Confessions: Animal Hoarding.