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TRF in NY Times - "Ex-Racehorses Starve"

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  • TRF in NY Times - "Ex-Racehorses Starve"

    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.
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

  • #2
    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
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      You can't fix stupid-Ron White

      Comment


      • #4
        Heartbreaking story but maybe will increase donations. The animals certainly need it.

        Comment


        • #5
          $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+!
          -Jessica

          Comment


          • #6
            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?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by monalisa View Post
              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.
              -Jessica

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              • #8
                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.
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OTTBLuvr View Post
                    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.

                    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.
                    -Jessica

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That is beyond brutal. The Board of Directors should be charged with abuse. Jerks.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                            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.
                            "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OTTBLuvr View Post
                              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?
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                              • #16
                                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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  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.
                                  Author Page
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                                  Steampunk Sweethearts

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Barnfairy View Post
                                    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.
                                    "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Bacchus View Post
                                      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:

                                      Originally posted by CVPeg
                                      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.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

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