- Published: Monday, 02 February 2015 21:37
All one has to do is look at the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s support of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and its own on-going assistance to local programs to know Maryland’s horsemen are committed to their racehorses’ futures.
Most recently, the MTHA made its 2014 contribution of $31,389 to the TAA. It marks the first full year of funding for the program in Maryland and represents an increase of $8,163 over its 2013 payment.
The horsemen’s commitment to the Thoroughbred’s post-racing career made both MTHA board member Chris Bricker, who oversees the program, and Maryland racing secretary Georganne Hale, who is on the TAA board of directors, proud.
“Our horsemen are the best in the country and I think that accounts for the way they care about their horses,” Hale said. “I think our horsemen make us one of the top-notch states in the country in terms of taking care of our horses.
“The MTHA’s donation to TAA is substantial, but they do much more than that,” Hale said. “They support the local aftercare programs throughout the year, beyond their TAA commitment.”
The MTHA is one of 43 organizations serving 130-plus facilities in 16 states and Canada. But in December 2013 it set up an arrangement with TAA that remains unique. The MTHA made sure its money would help its horses and its farms. The horsemen donate half the money it raises for aftercare to TAA, with the understanding the Maryland donation goes only to support horses that have run in Maryland and retirement farms in Maryland.
The MTHA also determined to keep the other half of its raised funds to support local farms that have not yet completed the TAA’s accreditation process. A farm has to have a 501(c) tax designation for three years before it can apply. Two farms thus far in Maryland are accredited: Thoroughbred Placement Resources in Upper Marlboro and MidAtlantic Horse Rescue in Chesapeake City.
Hale said a third farm, Foxie G Foundation in Libertytown, will be eligible to apply for accreditation very soon.
“I think it was very smart to set up our program with TAA the way we did,” said Bricker. “And I think caring for our horses is the responsible thing to do. The aftercare program encourages owners and trainers to think about retiring their horses while they are still healthy enough to have an afterlife.”
Bricker said the MTHA also is encouraging local non-accredited aftercare farms to become accredited. “It will give them more money to work with and that will enable them to do more for more horses,”
Bricker said. “Our Thoroughbreds are much easier to find homes for when they’ve already been trained for a second career.”
In 2013, the return to Maryland’s two sanctioned farms was from two to three times greater than the MTHA’s donation to TAA.
In 2014, Hale said, the return is four times greater. Besides its involvement in the TAA program, the MTHA works with several other groups, including the Retired Racehorse Project, dedicated to increasing demand for Thoroughbreds off the track, and the Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show, which showcases talented Thoroughbreds in other horse disciplines