Standardbred Retirement Foundations Mission Statement
SRF provides humane care and services for horses in need of lifetime homes, and in crisis, through rehabilitation, training, adoption, lifelong follow-up, or lifetime sanctuary; and offers therapeutic equine opportunities for children, and adults.
History of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation
The SRF was founded, and created in 1989 by Mrs. Judith Bokman, wife of a prominent Equine Practitioner in New Jersey, Dr. Stephen Bokman DVM. She contacted Mrs. Paula Campbell, wife of Hall of Fame Standardbred driver, John Campbell. She too realized the need and joined Mrs. Bokman.
Why SRF is NEEDED
Standardbred racehorses that are no longer competitive or unable to be bred, are sold to dealers. These dealers are generally from rural communities. Some are resold to ship for slaughter and some are resold for use as machinery or as transportation on asphalt streets, where they are most always asked to work beyond their physical ability, nearly all will live very hard lives. (Race horses are usually not retired if sound, therefore, it makes sense that they cannot perform this hard work.) People in these rural areas generally regard their animals as equipment. When these horses reach their mid teens they turn them over for fresh ones, as there is never a shortage of horses from the tracks. These used up trotters and pacers are then resold at livestock auctions. There, the primary buyer purchases them for slaughter in Canada or Mexico.
The few race horses ending their careers coming to SRF directly from the track usually need rest and rehabilitation These lovely animals often become wonderful riding, driving, eventing, police mounts, therapeutic riding or trail horses under English, and Western saddles and also compete once SRF rests and rehabilitates them and gets them under saddle.
Off The Track
Information on horses right off the track is compiled from the treating veterinarian and trainer so a proper placement can be made and no horse is asked to perform beyond its physical ability. Racehorse owners are asked to help, some provide a donation. More than 250 trotters and pacers no longer able to compete, retired from racing with injuries too catastrophic to allow them to transition into new careers are living out their lives with SRF. Although horse racing is a multi-billion dollar business, the Standardbred racing industry has made no provisions to support these grand horses when their racing careers come to an end.
Their Dire Situations
SRF has the wonderful help from a group of volunteers with a page on Face Book, Save Our Standardbreds From Slaughter (SOSS). This group learns of Standardbreds tagged to ship to slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Even young trotters and pacers are found in these situations. While a small percent are healthy and just unwanted, the majority are injured and sick. Many are emaciated; sick; have fresh injuries from overcrowded kill pens; fractures; nasal tumors; blindness. and other life concerning issues. The most common injuries are dropped suspensory ligaments from over stressing legs either from racing and or from being used as machinery in the rural communities.
Volunteers reach out to past relationships, owners, and the breeder to seek support for the horse, to take the horse back into their possession, and assist financially to prevent slaughter. While some help, much work is done to raise for all the the expenses. Expenses are shipping to quarantine, quarantine, veterinary care, farrier expenses, dental care, rest and rehabilitation, transport out of quarantine, assessment under saddle, saddle training, marketing for a home, screening homes, and SRF's guardian commitment for each horse adopted so no horse will be at risk again. This is how SRF differs. SRF's work has show an increase in the number of horses race horse owners take back into their care.
Since 2017, more than 3000 horses have been helped by this group and SRF together.
In 2021 733 trotters and pacers were rescued from slaughter by the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.
Sadly, due to pain or illness preventing quality of life, at the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, SRF submits to humanely euthanizing a horse by a veterinarian. Generally the cost for the veterinarian and renderer is $550.
Approximately 80% of its funding comes from donations. Less than 4% comes from harness racing organizations, less than 4% from grants, 12% from fund raising events. SRF receives just $250 annually from an endowment, one of the greatest needs it has to continue this work.
SRF is Different-How
SRF is the model program since 1989, but every program is different.
Horse ownership remains with SRF for life so no horse is ever at risk again. This also provides SRF with the freedom to step in if ever needed and remove a horse whose adopted care situation is lacking.
SRF also requires all adopted horses to have a Vet Follow-up Form submitted semi-annually. It recommends that adopters do this at the time of spring and fall vaccinations. This forms assures that the care remains adequate.
SRF welcomes questions and visits. The farms SRF uses are owned by individuals, SRF does not own a farm. A visit can be scheduled in as quickly as a day. These farms are located in NJ, VA, KY, NC, MN, NY, and at many foster homes around the country.
SRF's federal tax returns can be accessed on the internet or requested at any time.
WHY THE SRF DOES NOT SUPPORT The ASPCA and the Right Horse Initiative:
SRF's focus is not just helping Standardbreds off the track, but aiding those at the most risk, tagged for slaughter. The ASPCA and the Right Horse Initiative will not support this. https://www.aspcarighthorse.org/warmupringresources/
It also requires the ownership of every adopted horse be transferred to the adopter. Horses often need more than one home in their life, sometimes many homes. SRF remains the guardian for every adopted horse in order to protect their safety. The Standardbred is not a popular breed just yet
SRF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization donations are tax-deductible