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

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  • Standardbreds: After their racing days are over, what next?

    I just got a lovely horse this week through CANTER and it got me thinking...

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

  • #2
    Hooray for Standardbreds!

    'Not sure if there is an equivalent as wide-spread as CANTER, but
    in my area, we have the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of New Hampshire.

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

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

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


    • #3
      I know a few people who have them for pleasure driving. One in particular i know well is the safest, most kind little driving horse. The Amish use lots of them for driving, too (maybe they breed their own, but I'd guess they might buy some off the track, too). There was a thread a while back raving about the generally wonderful temperaments and bombproof attitude most Standardbreds have.


      • #4
        I don't know that much about them, but there is the Standardbred Retirement Foundation - http://www.adoptahorse.org/

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


        • #5
          The Standardbred Retirement Foundation is the biggest program for Standardbreds, they are based in NJ, and they do a pretty good job witha strong group of volunteers and a supportive board of directors. They run their organization is a very businesslike manner, hold good fundraisers, keep up with their many horses, and have a farm they lease where many of them are schooled as they await adoption. I learned a lot about the rescue and retirement business when I was their office manager quite a few years ago.

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


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


            • #7
              I've always kinda wanted to try driving one (fast, you know...) - it looks like a lot of fun!


              • #8
                Up here we have the OSAS. I do volunteer work for them. We just had our annual horse show



                • #9
                  Many in the east end up at Amish farms in PA or OH then taken to New Holland when they are done with them.


                  • #10
                    I know several that are pleasure driving and a friend of mine who is a repro vet uses the mares for recips. She says they make the greatest moms :-)



                    • #11
                      The last post reminded me that a vet once told me that Standardbreds are considered universal blood donors, and their calm nature makes them ideal candidates. She told me that some vets keep a SB gelding or two on hand for that purpose. The horses are well cared for and exercised, and when a horse comes in that needs blood for an operation, the SB can donate it with no problems.

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


                      • #12
                        Unlike the retired TBs, STBs can be safely marketed to beginners. They make good trail horses and all-around pleasure mounts. It can be a struggle to get them to canter - I've had my SRF horse for five years and he's only just now cantering consistently. He's got a very comfortable gait. In NJ, there is a STB show circuit, culminating in the National STB SHow at the Horse Park of NJ. Rerun had their show the day before, and they hosted a Battle of the Breeds. The STBs won three classes, and the TBs won three. The championship all came down to Ride A Buck, which was won by dressage trainer Lisa Basselini-Thompson on a TB. It was a great time.


                        • #13
                          I have one who is a very happy husband horse, takes care of my disabled niece, and is about to become a babysitter tomorrow as he's taken permanent post outside the weanling's stall. I LOVE him and if I had room, would take on a doz more
                          R.I.P. Barbaro
                          Good luck Nicanor & Lentenor !


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by furlong47 View Post
                            I love Standardbreds and wish there were a lot more rescues and rehoming organizations dedicated to them -- there are some (all I know of mentioned already in this thread) but not nearly enough. I grew up riding at a farm which used to be a big breeding and racing operation. Some of the guy's friends who were still actively racing would retire their geldings to his farm, and we would start them under saddle and use them as riding horses. When I get my own horse I plan to do the same... find one coming off the track and retrain for myself.
                            There is a functioning org in most every state of province that has harness racing.


                            • #15
                              Having done some horse rescue back in the day, I can say that most of the Standardbreds we got went on to be exceptional kids' horses. They reveled in the attention of a kid grooming and fussing over them. Most had an unflappable temperment and lots of them jumped and learned to canter. They were also really good show horses for kids to be able to learn to show on a calm horse in a busy environment.


                              • #16
                                I just wanted to add that I adored our STB lesson horse - he was AWESOME! We are hoping to adopt more.
                                "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                                • #17
                                  One of my clients, an adult ammy, has a retired pacer that has learned to trot and canter, trail rides, horse shows and loves to jump! He's a good boy, can't say enough good things about standardbreds.
                                  Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


                                  • Original Poster

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

                                    Someday I will get one that needs a home!


                                    • #19
                                      I've got one!

                                      He's the best horse ever. Sound and sane. And he is a very good jumper. He doesn't do flying lead changes, but if I'm careful, I can get the lead I want as we come off of a jump.
                                      Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.


                                      • #20
                                        If they are trotters that have the right way of going and are pretty enough they may show up at the Saddlebred/Hackney/Road Horse shows in the Road Horse classes being shown to bike, to wagon or under saddle. There are a few guys around that specializing in reckognizing potential Road Horses when looking at Race Horses.