TRF: No Easy Solutions

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Four years ago, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was in turmoil. The country’s oldest and largest racehorse retirement charity was in poor financial shape because of decisions that allowed its herd of mostly unadoptable Thoroughbreds to swell from under 300 in 2001 to over 1,250 in 2005.

A half-dozen or more members of the TRF’s board of directors quit, and one was thrown off. Ex-board members were poisoning the organization through calls to the news media undermining remaining board members and management. One former TRF president told an editor at Blood-Horse magazine he bailed because the organization would soon be bankrupt.

It was troubling for me to watch, because though I had no affiliation with TRF other than having made a donation to the organization, I felt its work and mission were important to the Thoroughbred industry. So after hearing about all of its problems, I reached out to TRF founder Monique Koehler to see if there was anything I could do to help. I was elected to the TRF board of directors to fill one of the many vacancies created by those who bailed out.

Since that time, in 2007, I have been torn between my career role as a journalist chronicling the Thoroughbred industry and my responsibility to the TRF. I have said or written little about the organization publicly, but now, in light of the damning allegations by Joe Drape in today’s New York Times, I feel compelled to speak out. (Click here to read the New York Times article).

These are my own personal views and opinions and do not represent those of the TRF.


The allegations made by Drape – which I dispute as largely false and reckless — are painful. Though several TRF board members, in particular chairman Tom Ludt and president George Grayson (who stepped into the role when a former president resigned suddenly Jan. 17 of this year) have spent countless hours dealing with the issues raised over the past several months, this is not the time or place to get into a “he said/she said” debate over conflicting reports from equine veterinarians on the care of the TRF horses, the motive of the veterinarian that leaked her reports to the New York Times, the competence of some former TRF employees, or the relationship between the executors of Paul Mellon’s estate and the TRF.

The accusations are sickening and appalling to me, and I’m sure to everyone who cares about animals. No one affiliated with the TRF condones a single horse being abused or neglected, and in every instance where issues or complaints have been raised, I can say with confidence the TRF acted swiftly to investigate and take appropriate action. I dispute many of the assumptions stated as fact in Drape’s article but feel nothing is gained going point by point over those allegations.

From the time of my first board meeting until the present, the TRF has been severely underfunded, relative to the number of horses it cares for. It spends at least 85% of its revenue directly on the care of horses, using the remaining 15% for administration and fundraising (board members are neither paid nor reimbursed for their time or travel expenses).

In 2009, when the economy was at its weakest and charitable giving took a major hit, the TRF lost over $900,000.

Most businesses with excessive inventory would look for ways to reduce that inventory, but while Thoroughbreds may be dispensable to many owners and breeders, they are not to the TRF. Whether it was wise for the TRF board and management to admit so many horses into the program from 2001-05 — we are and were responsible for them.

Contrary to widespread belief and Drape’s New York Times article, the TRF does not have $7 million to spend from the endowment left by the late Paul Mellon. According to the terms of the endowment, TRF may spend no more than 5% of that endowment each year, approximately $350,000, about one-tenth of its total operating budget in 2009.

Late last year, the TRF board worked with the Mellon trustees to arrange an inspection of the entire 1,100-horse herd at more than 30 different locations. Any hints of problems TRF received from these inspections were immediately addressed.  However, for reasons unknown, the veterinarian contracted by the Mellon trustees chose not to share her reports with the TRF board but instead with the New York Times.

Some of the findings by the veterinarian contracted by the Mellon trustees were, in fact, contradicted by a second independent veterinarian. Drape was not interested in speaking with that veterinarian or with anyone who has worked on behalf of the TRF with the satellite farm operations to ensure the best care possible for these horses.

In recent months, the executors of the Mellon endowment have refused to meet with the TRF’s executive committee to discuss financial issues, have withheld funds from TRF, and directed the TRF board to make decisions that went beyond what I understood the realm of their authority to be, including personnel matters.

It was confounding to me, and I came to the conclusion that the Mellon trustees seemed to have a death wish for the TRF.

So almost exactly four years after the TRF’s internal problems came to my attention, the organization faces exactly the same challenges it had then. Too many horses, not enough money, and not enough people willing to act on behalf of retired racehorses.

The challenges of the TRF are merely a symptom of the greater problems the industry has faced and ignored for decades.
 
I don’t think there are any easy solutions.

» Read more at New York Times
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  • Rider17

    Disgusted. Ashamed. That’s what it feels like to be a fan of Thoroughbred racing today. Read the article in the NY Times and you will be disgusted and ashamed, too.
    The list of egregious episodes casting the “Sport of Kings” as the sport of scoundrels keeps growing. Trainers juicing their horses, getting caught, and doing it again. And again. Horses breaking down at alarming rates during races and morning work-outs. The Life at Ten incident in front of the whole world during the 2010 Breeders’ Cup, coupled with an interminable “investigation” that is long on blame but short on solutions. The complete lack of a unified, monitored and humane solution for the thousands of horses who don’t make it to the top echelons of the sport.
    Racing is about the horses. If we don’t take care of them there is no racing. The bettors think otherwise, but I’ve seen too many equestrian sport exhibitions packed to the rafters with spectators enjoying the beauty, athleticism and heart of horses to believe that nonsense. Betting is forbidden in Dubai; have you seen the crowds in the grandstand at Meydan?
    There’s so much hand-wringing about the demise of Thoroughbred racing. It’s not about marketing, take-out, admission fees, surly track employees, staging concerts and extravaganzas to attract a younger audience, or any of the dozens of excuses and schemes put forth by individuals and the NTRA. It’s about the horses.
    Until and unless the industry comes to its senses and starts to focus, laser-like, on the horses, Thoroughbred racing will go away. If we cannot be deserving stewards of these magnificent animals, maybe it should.

  • AB

    Seems once again people trying to make a business out of charity at the expense of the horses.”do what you say”

  • Erin

    The fact there are no easy answers doesn’t condone doing nothing…not paying on the care of horses to people contracted to do so, or paying an amount insufficient to properly care for them. The bottom line is these horses are TRF’s responsibility, and I cannot find a justifiable reason for so many to have gone with out support or oversight.
    Euthanasia isn’t an easy answer, but someone has to make the tough calls when there are more animals than there are resources to support them. It is TRF’s responsibility as caretakers to make those tough decisions, not to do nothing as horses suffer.

  • Barbara

    Ray, I think you do need to be more specific because it always is a gray area, not black and white, good or evil as it will be perceived by too many after reading Drape’s article. I think the TRF should utilize you, a media veteran who seems able to speak the truth, to speak clearly for them, and the horses, now. Please do so.

  • Burling

    I agreed with you, Barbara, get the truth out there. Protect the horses!

  • http://TomKeyser Tom Keyser

    Ray, I read Joe Drape’s story this morning and your response just now. Thank you.

    I’m curious about this: “Drape was not interested in speaking with that veterinarian or with anyone who has worked on behalf of the TRF with the satellite farm operations to ensure the best care possible for these horses.”

    Are you saying Drape knew about these people, especially that veterinarian, and refused to interview them?

    Thanks, in advance, for your elaboration.

  • Jef

    I am very upset at reading about all this. As a longtime contributor who actually has put TRF in my will, I have no prior knowledge of who hated whom, who couldn’t get along, the Mellon connection, etc., etc. I only knew that they were pairing inmates that needed a reason to live with horses that needed to live. Of course, there are too many horses to take care of. This is why the industry MUST STEP UP TO THE PLATE and determine from time of breeding that there will be a home for that foal once it stops racing or don’t breed the mare. I don’t care if breeders have to pay a big fee for this. As an individual who has followed racing for 50 years, I want my sport to do the right thing. Maybe somebody should check with the various prisons that TRF works with and see what their experience is with the organization. I am at the point of losing all faith and hope in the wretched, disgusting human race.

  • Steve D

    You know that Triple Crown season is approaching when Joe Drape starts writing things that will make people hate horse racing. I honestly don’t understand why anyone in the industry talks to the guy.

  • Brad Cummings

    Tom, I just spoke with Ray and he told me that indeed, Joe Drape was told about the second veterinarian who had conflicting opinions on the overall condition of the horses at one specific farm, and Joe said he had no interest in speaking with him. He also had an opportunity to speak with the sheriff in the county where Dr. Huntington’s complaint was filed and ask the sheriff why no charges were filed, but declined.

    What that says about Joe’s journalistic ethics is up to our audience, but it’s definitely an important part of this story people should know about when reading the NY Times piece.

  • Erin

    I don’t much care about agendas, egos, or the politics involved. I don’t trust Drape 100 per cent, but if his shining light on the subject means horses that aren’t getting cared for properly now have a chance to be, then the entire racing industry should be thankful. TRF needs to come forward with full disclosure of facts, full transparency and a full admission of their part, whatever it may be.
    I appreciate Ray addressing this but don’t love the focus being on Drape instead of the real problem. It appears undisputed that the TRF has been in trouble for a while now.
    According to their FB page, TRF will be making a statement sometime today.

  • dr j

    This is such a multi-factorial issue. It starts right now in the breeding shed. As a breeder myself with 4 “retirees” standing in my pasture through a long, hard winter ( 2 of my breeding, 2 “rescues) we have to get realistic about the sport. If are not in some way willing or able to provide lifetime care and supervision for a horse – don’t put it on the ground. How do we make this point? How do we make it stick?

    I think we also have to look at the very hard reality of the “pasture furniture” or “pasture cripple”. While in a perfect world all of these horses live in retirement facilites and hobble around happily until the end of their days, they are using resources that can be used for horses that actually can be re-homed and used. It’s time to get very serious about which horses non-profit organizations should be using their every more precious resources on.
    The whole equine industry is hurting. Sometimes the best solutions are found out of necessity and desperation. Maybe now is the time.

    I have given and will continue to give to the TRF. They are by far not the only rescue facing this problem. maybe just the most visible.

    Last but not least, everyone sit back and believe almost none of what you read and half of what you see from the “media”. The spin can be mind boggling and severely inaccurate.

  • Lynn

    I personally know some of the farm owners who were not paid by TRF. They dug money out of their own pockets to pay for care all the while watching TRF take in donations. When they complained too much, the horses were taken from them, leaving thousands in unpaid bills. The care providers feared that many of the horses would die from neglect and their worst fears were realized.

    But here’s the problem with Thoroughbred retirement/adoption efforts – VERY FEW in the industry want to help unless they can also make money. Ask ANY of the ALL VOLUNTEER GROUPS such as CANTER, ReRun, Exceller, Friends of Ferdinand, Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program, Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue, and so on – HOW DIFFICULT it is to get any support from the industry be it tracks, owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys, Thoroughbred media and it becomes clear that very few are interested in helping those who truly put the horses first – even ahead of fancy fundraisers and media coverage.

  • Josh

    Time for owners to take care of their horses after they leave the track. If you can’t afford the after care, don’t buy a racehorse. Owners with the money need to step up and support those (the horses) that make their hobby, business happen. I keep trying to get more friends into horse racing but instead I find myself going the other way. On weekends or some weekdays when I would watch TVG or other racing channels I now find myself watching NASCAR, MLB, NFL. I am tired of the select few on multiple boards and organizations not working together to better the sport or consider where the sport needs to be to survive. If not for the horse or the fans/horseplayers, these few would need to find new careers or hobbies.

  • Joe Drape

    I had this report from the vet Ray & Brad is referring to before they did. It clearly states that horses body weight were not in the optimal 5-6 range. The reason charges weren’t filed our two-fold: The TRF signed an agreement saying they would not prosecute. So the TRF did not file a complaint.
    (From Dr. Loafman) This morning (2-23-11) we loaded and transported 47 of the TRF horses from the 4-H ranch to Dr. Sam Crosby’s ranch near Tryon, Oklahoma. All of the horses made the trip without mishap. When we arrived at the 4-H, the horses were wet with sweat from having been run into the pens just prior to our arrival.

    One mare was very lame on one leg. Three horses were very thin – with one of them have ventral edema, distended abdomen and a body condition score of 1.5 – 2.0. The other two thin horses would score no more than 2.5 body condition. The remaining horses body condition scores are 3.0 – 4.0 with the majority being 3.0 – 3.5. They werethin. However, they all had good attitudes, were alert and bright eyed with no obvious sickness.

    When unloaded, they all trotted off to get hay and check out their new surroundings. So, while they are thin, they are not sick. (The lame mare was much better when she was unloaded).

  • buckin hard

    Was TRF late on support payments to the retirement farms or was TRF up to date on support?

  • Gail Vacca

    Folks high up in the TRF organization had a chance 2 years ago to stand up for funding that is rightfully OWED by the racing industry to its Thoroughbreds, however, they chose instead to jump in bed with the NTRA and turn a blind-eye to the fact that NTRA was accrediting racetracks despite the fact that these newly accredited tracks did NOT meet the Aftercare Criteria outlined in the NTRA’s very own Code of Standards! I was party to the very fist conversation with NTRA on this topic as was a representative from TRF. I refused to accept the fact that NTRA was accrediting aftercare delinquent racetracks and the TRF rather than stand with me and the horses, chose to give the NTRA/tracks a free-pass to continue to ignore this important issue. It came as no surprise when NTRA formed an “equine aftercare committee” the TRF was invited to sit on the committee and I in my capacity as President of the Illinois Equine Humane Center, was out.

    Had the TRF stood up then and demanded the NTRA hold accredited tracks accountable to complying with Aftercare criteria – complete with a permanent funding mechanism to assist in providing care for retiring horses, there would have been funding in place to ensure that the horses in the care of TRF (and other TB charities) have the vital supporting infrastructure that the horses both need and DESERVE.

    We have recently implemented such funding for our horses here in IL and while our program is young and imperfect, it is indeed a very positive step in the right direction. I would encourage all other racing jurisdictions to follow suit.

    The industry as a whole, simply MUST address the long overdue need to enact a sustainable funding mechanism to support its retiring horses. Turning a blind eye to this issue MUST end.

  • AB

    lynn comments are bang on.Back to my orginal comment.Seems once again people trying to make a business out of charity at the expense of the horses.”do what you say”

  • MED

    Ray, you’re throwing a lot of blame Drape’s way, but why is it that it took him to bring this to light while you were silent?

    What you wrote sure sounds like a lot of finger-pointing and cover up on your part. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.

  • M-D

    Actions speak louder than words: The thoroughbred breeding & racing industry is simply not motivated to & does NOT put the welfare of the horse first.

    In the not-too-distant past, some of us have literally been chased out of the back sides of race tacks around the country when we attempted to intervene directly to save the lives of thoroughbreds sold like slaves for slaughter.

    In the end, this is a question of morality.

    Striking out in anger at those who shine the light on moral transgressions is typical & indeed characteristic of those whose morally corrupt behavior has been exposed.

    Follow the facts…& the money!

  • Susan

    We should be willing to wait and get more of the facts, and maybe some truth, before we come to any conclusions. I am amazed that anyone even reads the NYTimes anymore, it is a dying newspaper, run by the liberal elite, full of bias, untruths and what has become inaccurate, shoddy, journalism at best. Why would anyone take anything they say about HORSERACING as the truth? It appears that Mr. Drape only talked to a few people and when he had the option to speak to others, he declined.That being said, if the TRF needs help, then they should re-organize and do what ever they need to do, to make things work. Now is the time for owners to take more responsibility for their retired horses, racetracks need contribute funds ( a small amount from each track would not be missed and would add up), and AWD Companies should contribute too. Who wouldn’t want to give a few cents out of every wager to help retired racehorses?

  • Gail Vacca

    A per start fee or a percentage of the purse should be set aside for TB retirement along with matching funds from each and every racetrack.

    Tracks that currently enjoy NTRA full accreditation and yet do not meet the NTRA’s Code of Standards with regard to “aftercare”, should have their status downgraded if not revoked.

    Time for everyone involved – breeders, owners, trainers, jocks, agents, bloodstock sales, etc. to
    pitch in their fair share to provide for the horses post racing career.

  • Ray Paulick

    Unfortunately, Joe Drape continues to misrepresent things. In the teleconference that just concluded with TRF president George Grayson and chairman Tom Ludt, Drape alluded to the veterinary statement from Dr. T.J. Loafman that he published above.

    In his comment on the teleconference, Drape said Loafman’s report said horses were “starving.”

    Absolutely untrue, as you can read for yourself.

    TRF has MAJOR challenges, and we are not happy with the condition of some of the horses at 4-H Farm reported by Dr. Loafman and Dr. Huntington. In my opinion, there is a big difference between “starving” and “very thin.”

  • Thoroughbred Lover

    Good point MED. Lot of finger pointing being done at Drape. Fact is, those on the board should take responsibility for the organizations’ failures. This is a very troubling report.

  • Kerry Fitzpatrick

    Unfortunately, the TRF has been caught in a squeeze between being responsible for the bills on many horse with a lot of years left to live and the fluctuations of year-to-year contributions. We all know what the economy has done to year-to-year contributions to not-for-profits such as TRF.

    The important thing that needs to be discussed now is how to solve the current problem, which is essentially a shortfall in revenues. I am sure that the TRF is working on this and hopefully they realize that unfortunately they can not add any new horses to their commitmets and that they need to do some serious fundraising. We all know that there are some very heavy hitters around that can help bridge the financial gaps and obviously those people are going to want to have considerable input into how the TRF operates and perhaps more importantly, what their mission should be.

  • MED

    Ray, the difference between a very thin horse and a starving one could be as little as a single day with no food. It’s a flimsy defense.

    Even if I accept that the majority of Drape’s facts are wrong, I haven’t seen any denial that the Mellon Foundation had to initiate this investigation from the outside. Why did it come to that??

  • Gail Vacca

    “In my opinion, there is a big difference between “starving” and “very thin.”

    With all due respect, Ray…I doubt that a hungry horse is likely to agree much with you. Horses are forager’s. They require forage 24/7. If you cant feed ‘em properly – dont own ‘em.

    Horses were reported to have died…were those horses just more “very thin” than the others or did they actually succumb to starvation? Would like to see that all facts are disclosed.

  • Barbara

    Ray, it is the Henneke body scoring system used by most vets (always open to some subjective interpreation) for all horses and very thin is a 2 with 1 as poor (or starving as you might think of it.) I don’t think defending the TRF by parsing the difference between starving and very thin is an improvement on Joe’s unbalanced reporting of the story.

  • Ottb123

    Ray, Diane Pikulski was paid a salary of $95K in 2009 and FAMILY MEMBERS of the BOD were paid approximately $67K for boarding fees in 2009 when no one else was getting paid. Come on now, you can think of something better than that. Sad amount of deflection going on here. If you knew of the mismanagement of the horses and money, why didn’t you speak up before now? As you said in your article that you would speak up now. Why wait until now. Completely unacceptable.

  • http://aol jan

    The part that bothers me the most is that the “administrative” expenses had been paid. Diana did not miss a meal.

  • good gov’t

    non profits are great — there’s no profit because people take the profit

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    Mr. Drape – I feel I must address some of your comments with some real facts:
    1. The entire TRF board had the vet report you were referring to on February 23rd – the day it was written. Dr. Loafman was evaluating those horses at the direct request of the TRF/Mellon Fdn in order to insure accurate medical assessments and the safe shipping of all of the horses from that ranch. So yes we had that information way before you did and it was at our own request. I personally spoke to Dr Loafman at length and reviewed photos of the horses as well. I wish you had bothered to ask me about it.
    2. The TRF had been trying to gain access to that ranch for weeks and was continuously denied- even showing up and the gates being locked. The reason why an “intent not to prosecute” was signed was to allow us to have the cooperation of the ranch owner and get onto the premises ASAP. If we went thru legal avenues at a snails pace, we would have wasted precious time and resources rather than having the chance to immediately retrieve our horses and move them to another location. This also allowed us to send in a team of horsemen and a veterinarian to the ranch after we removed our horses, in order to personally inspect all 4000 acres and be sure there were no horses left behind or unaccounted for. We could not have done that in a timely manner otherwise. We were also advised by the sherriff’s department to proceed in this manner.
    3. As soon as the TRF board was made aware of what was happening, action was immediately taken to take care of the horses. That was our #1 priority. There was no cover-up, there was no hush-hush. If you had asked us for information, we would surely have given it. But the truth is, you did not ask. If you had written this article as an investigative piece, rather than in the tabloid-fashion that it was, then maybe we would have had some valuable journalism here. You took what information was presented to you on a ‘silver platter’ by a person(s) obviously with an agenda, and ran with it. The fact is you contacted the TRF the day before the story was to print, without so much as a desire to find out the facts. The TRF offered you many sources to check into and that didn’t happen. Give us a chance please.
    4. No one is getting rich here. The TRF is not a perfect charity and has made many mistakes and exercised poor judgement. But the intent was clear and well-meaning – to provide a place for these racehorses that no one wanted. The fact is the TRF feeds 1200/day every day of the year and is struggling, as are many rescues/adoption organizations. Of course they are behind on their bills – but what do you do? If you are running a business, you would cut your losses, lay people off, whatever. What can you do here when the very thing you cannot afford to do is to feed and care for a living animal that your whole mission is to protect? Where do you cut your losses? The books are open for all to see – there is little money spent on administration – most of the salaried monies are for farm managers. The rest is for horse care – and there is not enough of it to go around – plain and simple. This is not unique to the TRF – it is happening everywhere. Without an industry mandate, volunteer organizations are left to tackle this terrible problem essentially on their own.
    5. I work with many rescues/adoption organizations and I can tell you that they are all STRUGGLING to battle this problem attached to racing – there is a multitude of unusable horses,increasingly limited funds, and less and less opportunities for second careers. Almost everyone who is dedicated to these programs does so on a volunteer basis – even these “blue-chip board members” as you call them. We actually volunteer for this job- crazy as it is. Believe me, is is not picnic to give up hours and hours of your personal time, your own money, and expend efforts to help these horses, only to have someone like you have the ignorance and gall to paint this picture with such a broad,unflattering, and very midguided brush.
    I fear that there can be no good to come out of your article and the horses will only suffer even more. 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.

    Maybe you would like to throw a couple of bales of hay our way? Its the least you could do.

    Dr. Patty Hogan
    TRF Board Member

  • Superfecta

    It’s so, so sad that a foundation that was created to save horses from starvation, neglect and slaughter has allowed horses in its care to be in such poor condition. I have always felt that a $95K salary for Diana Pikulski was far too generous, and thus have always directed my funds to smaller rescue groups with volunteers. Money problems or not, the TRF should be ashamed of itself.

  • Barbara

    Right on Patty Hogan!
    Thank you for such a detailed and informed response.

  • AJJ

    How often did TRF’s BoD’s tour and inspect the horses at these satellite farms?

  • Gail Vacca

    Dr. Hogan…was TRF then up to date on its payments with the 4H Farm?

    Would you or someone else affiliated with TRF be able to provide us with information as to the oversight policies TRF has in place with regard to on-site inspections of its boarding/satellite farms?

  • Barbara Raitzky

    I saw one of the neglected horses posted on Facebook. Right now I’m more interested in what Joe Drape has to say than officers of TRF-MMSC. Too many people commenting with conflicts of interest. Too many TBs being bred by rank amatuers without sufficient funds to retire their horses. The finger must be pointed directly at the Jockey Club.

  • JoJo Zumwalt

    The basic mission of organizations such as TRF is commendable, but more needs to be done to monitor and assure compliance and the excellent care for these horses, who have NO CHOICE in their life’s path.
    It is up to all of us to continue to keep up on this and make sure that those who have taken on a responsibility are held accountable.
    I am a fan of horse racing but also appalled at the fate and after care of these athletes. I believe that a complete overhaul of this industry is in order; set up ONE COMMISSIONER to oversee the sport; set up a breeder’s fund to pay for THEIR horses coming into the sport and afterward. This has to start with the Breeders and owners. It is completely irresponsible to continue to breed thousands of TBs every year only to end up in horrible situations or slaughter bound. And then who is responsible for their care at retirement or if they are injured and cannot perform. this usually falls on under funded non-profits or private well meaning individuals.
    This is exploitation of a species in the worst kind of way and something more needs to be done.
    There are too many horses, not enough $$ put aside for their after care. This is a perfect opportunity to set up a mandatory fund for after care of horses that are racing. It just looks to me that there are a lot of very wealthy people making a lot of money off these horses and more and more of them are ending up in these desperate situations, and not enough is being put aside for their retirement or after care.
    I want to help find a solution and I support any organizations or anyone that is trying to work them out. I know that the majority of owners and breeders love their horses and want the very best for them, I just think that there is a saturation limit and an over-breeding situation going on in this industry and balance will never be found if this isn’t part of the equation.

  • Lynn

    How about throwing some support for the unsung organizations that have no paid staff, no fancy marketing budget, and no media mouthpieces shilling for them?

    Shout out for CANTER, The Exceller Fund, Friends of Ferdinand, GEVA, Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue, Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program – How about it Ray?

    What about them?

  • ITP

    $500 retirement fee for each registered TB foal.

    The $15 million or so that would create each year plus donations, outside funding and volunteers should put a big dent in the problem if all the money was put in the right hands such as Caroline and Lynn.

  • http://www.johnhenry.com JohnHenry

    Terrence Collier (then “Chief Honcho”) put his midas-touch on the TRF years ago, promoting FT’s interests instead of his own. Unfortunately, the board couldn’t figure it out….

  • SweetCatomine

    An interesting question is: Does it matter if Drape’s reporting is shoddy and/or agenda-driven if it exposes animal neglect? I’m curious what the other reporters posting here think.

  • incredulous

    No easy solutions here, obviously. But, I fail to see how caring for 1,200+ horses is remotely sustainable – for the crippled and lame, euthanasia is the most humane and cost effective measure.

    Just today, we put down my wife’s lovely old horse – he was 29 and very arthritic. We could have maintained him on bute for another year but to who’s benefit? Certainly not the horse’s. A very sad day for us but it was the right thing to do.

    I’ve worried about the different rescue operations and what the true motives of some of them are. I would donate to a euthanasia fund if I knew it was going to be used for that purpose – but to donate money to care for a horse that didn’t have the likely option of a second career? No thanks.

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    Gail – to answer your questions – a veterinarian inspected the herd at the farm in March 2010 and all was found to be fine. The ranch was again visited in September 2010 by Mr Larry Taylor, who was the CEO of TRF and making the rounds of all the satellite farms in order to become familiar with the program. The TRF Herd Manager visited all of the Oklahoma ranches as recently as November of 2010 and found all of the TRF horses at the 4-H ranch to be in excellent condition. There were a couple who were not as full-bodied as the others but by no means thin. I reviewed the photos of this visit and there is plenty of grass and the horses look very well cared for.
    Between November and February 23rd is where the questions arise. The Oklahoma winter was very tough and the horses were out on a large tract of land. The TRF wanted to proceed with herd inspections at every facility but could not get on this ranch. This is where the difficulties began. At the time of the requested herd inspection, the TRF was behind 3-4 months in payments to this ranch.
    My summary is there was a perfect storm of tough environmental conditions, inadequate funding leading to lack of resources (supplemental food), and probably a decline in a sense of concern by the people caring for the horses – after all if one is not being paid properly for one’s services,it tends to lead to a lack of interest. I can see how that leads to incidences of “benign neglect”. But the situation was and is unacceptable and immediate measures were taken to correct it.
    But this just brings to light that we have alot of problems related to this issue that are nationwide, and we are trying very hard to make improvements. But I can’t lie – it is a very tough go right now. The TRF may be a very recognizable name, but it suffers from the same lack of funding and support that all retirement organizations do – it is all relative – just on a larger scale.

  • Joe Drape

    Ray these are your notes from Dr. Loafman:

    Dr. Loafman said this was not a case of abuse, but of possible neglect. “He (Hudgins) said he wasn’t getting paid,” Dr. Loafman told us, adding that Mr. Hudgins admitted the horses were not seen frequently enough. He speculated the horses with unacceptable body scores could have developed their condition in “a couple of months” of neglect.

    Dr. Hogan, This is the report Dr. Huntington filed to the Sheriff’s office on Feb. 25.

    I am a licensed veterinarian in Springfield, Missouri. I am under contract to the
    executors for the estate of Paul Mellon to conduct an inventory and evaluation of the
    herd of horses belonging to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. This is a herd
    of approximately 1200 horses that are being housed on several ranches and farms
    across the country. In the course of my contract to perform this inventory, I have
    made several trips to Oklahoma and evaluated several hundred horses. I am an equine
    veterinarian in Springfield and have acted as a consultant and advisor to the Greene
    County Sheriff’s Department for 5 years. In the course of working with Greene County,
    I commonly am asked to evaluate the animals and management schemes of current
    cases. I have served as an expert witness several .tlmes for the Sheriff’s Department
    in the course of prosecuting these cases.
    On February 25, 2011, I evaluated a herd of horses belonging to the Thoroughbred
    Retirement Foundation near the town of Cushing, Oklahoma. This herd of horses had
    been housed at Allen (sp?) and Janice Hudgins’ property until February 23rd
    , 2011.
    The Hudgins’ property is located in Okmulgee County close to the city of Okmulgee.
    The herd had been moved to the property near Cushing on February 23 at the mutual
    request and agreement between the Hudgins’ and the Thoroughbred Retirement
    Foundation (TRF).
    The inventory list for this herd stands at 63 head and I had been told as recently as
    Monday, February 21, 2011 that that was the number of horses I could expect to
    evaluate. The total number of horses that were gathered and moved from Hudgins’
    property numbered only 47 head. Tom Loafman, DVM supervised the loading of the
    horses at the Hudgins’ property on February 23, 2011. He notified TRF of the poor
    condition of the group and told them that only 47 horses had been recovered from the
    Hudgins property. No explanation for the missing horses was provided by the
    Hudgins’ at the load-out. On February 25, 2011, each horse was graded for body
    condition, condition of the hooves, teeth, skin, and eyes, and appropriateness for
    adoption. I agreed with Dr. Loafman’s initial assessment that the condition of the
    horses was very poor. Of the 47 head, 4 had BCS of 4.75-5.5, 16 had body condition
    scores of 4.0-4.5,22 horses were 3.0-3.75, 4 were 2.0-2.75, and 1 horse was1.5. All of
    the horses needed farrier care and many had long, split hooves. All of the horses
    needed dental work with 8 of them being considered to urgently need dental work. The
    horses were photographed from all four sides during the evaluation, blood was drawn
    from the horse with the BCS of 1.5, and fecal samples were collected to check for
    parasites. The horses are currently being fed a good quality of alfalfa hay but
    research has shown that horses with BCS of 2.5 and less commonly die during the refeeding
    process despite good care and monitoring. Because of the several horses that
    have a BCS of 3.5 and less, some deaths may occur.
    My intention in filing this report is to call attention to the poor condition of the horses
    that had been in the care ofthe Hudgins’ until just recently. I met with Chief Deputy
    Smokey Patchin after my evaluation on February 25, 2011.

    Stacey Huntington, DVM 2/26/20113

  • Stacey Ferris

    Dr. Hogan, or Ray
    Could you please find out if Limestone is ok?? He is in SC I donated him in 2004 on Behalf of the trainer

  • MED

    “after all if one is not being paid properly for one’s services,it tends to lead to a lack of interest.” Dr. Hogan.

    That’s a pretty big accusation to level towards people who took good care of the horses up until around November. I can’t imagine they didn’t care or they wouldn’t have offered their facility and services in the first place. The problems started when TRF wasn’t paying them. I suspect there was some agreement in place stating x number of dollars per month per horse from TRF. Gee, maybe they couldn’t afford to care for the large number of horses basically dumped on them by TRF?

    We’ll probably never know, but I bet the Hudgins contacted TRF that they were in trouble. I can’t forget that they left horses to die, but I wonder if they abandoned their farm in desperation. Is it in foreclosure proceedings by any chance?

  • Ray Paulick

    Incredulous,

    Of all the comments I’ve had a chance to read (and I am just now catching up), yours makes so much sense to me. I am a strong believer in euthanasia of horses with a poor quality of life. Early last year, the TRF unsuccessfully attempted to seek the assistance of a prominent equine veterinary association to help us in a herd-wide assessment of those horses most at risk.

    I have come across too many people in the horse welfare community, including some who wind up working for organizations like TRF in decision-making positions, who do not believe a horse should be euthanized. I agree with you 100%, and I appreciate you sharing your personal experience about your wife’s horse.

  • Ottb123

    I believe there are photos and documentation to back up all these allegations. What then?

  • Aunt Bea

    I’m witholding judgement here, but “tough economic times” sounds like a pretty flimsy excuse, especially in a space that aided the crucifixtion of E Paragallo for the same problem..

  • Ottb123

    Ray, regarding euthanasia, perhaps some of the $$ going to staff should have been spent creating a euthanasia fund for some of these horses instead of asking a vet to do it at no charge. Seems there was no problem getting a vet out there too little too late for a herd assessment.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    BETTER TO PUT THEM TO SLEEP THAN TO SEND THEM TO SLAUGHTER R ABUSE THEM…FACE IT FOLKS…LETS GET REAL HEAR…ty…

  • Bonnie

    TRF Board of Directors-

    PAY THE FARMS WHERE YOU BOARD RETIREES IN A TIMELY MANNER
    Stop trying to kill the messenger!
    You should all be ashamed.

  • Equine Vet

    “Early last year, the TRF unsuccessfully attempted to seek the assistance of a prominent equine veterinary association to help us in a herd-wide assessment of those horses most at risk.”

    Really Ray? I am floored.

  • Ottb123

    Frankly I am pretty shocked at the TRF board of directors biting the hand that feeds them aka The Mellon Estate. You should be ashamed, embarrassed and giving a huge apology to them as well as the horses that were neglected instead of going into CYA mode. There would be much more respect there and maybe a little more forgiveness in the donor’s eyes

  • Mathmatics

    It’s a matter of simple mathmatics. Don’t take in more than you can afford to feed and care for properly. Thoroughbreds are not herds, they are not cattle. They command the utmost respect and care!

  • John Merriweather

    Slash the salaries and pay the farms!

  • http://dghphoto.com dghphoto

    In 2008 I held a photography show to benefit the TRF. Together we raised a modest sum. I remain proud of my efforts to assist this organization.

    In time all the facts will come out. Certainly there have been problems but how can we throw the baby out with the bathwater? I ask everyone of you what has your contribution been? What has the industry’s contribution been, and even that of the average fan?

    It is short-sided reality to observe that these animals are wildly important until the age of 5, or 7 but then they are left to fend for themselves after such time. The fact that a single horse dies of neglect is more of a systemic problem with racing then the oversight of a single agency. Make retirement planning mandatory for every yearling registered with the JC.

  • Mary Johnson

    In response to Susan’s comment, I would like to add that the New York Times and TB racing have something in common – they are both dying industries!

  • Petey Green

    In my opinion there needs to be a complete shift in the sensibilities of breeding Thoroughbreds. Just last week, on the Horse Racing Radio Network, I heard a high-profile stallion manager boasting that one of his stallions was going to be bred to 175 mares this spring. 175 – for one stallion! Is that being a responsible steward of the industry? Of course not; it’s a practice designed to generate as much revenue through stud fees as possible.

    Of the resulting foals there will no doubt be a few high-profile sales horses, some useful runners and a whole bunch who will do nothing more than place a drain on the industry’s dwindling resources. It’s just plain irresponsible.

    I have been in the Thoroughbred business my entire life, but I’m becoming more and more disenfranchised with the business side of the sport. The sensibilities of too many stallion farms seems to mimic those of ‘puppy mills’ intent on producing as much inventory as possible. It needs to change.

  • Gail Vacca

    Dr. Hogan – thank you for addressing my questions. It seems reasonable to discern that the troubles began with the 4H farm and perhaps other TRF satellite farms when payments from TRF were not forthcoming that
    were needed by the farms in order to provide proper feed and care to the horses.

    Sadly, the funding troubles at TRF and at many other Thoroughbred rescues will never be resolved unless and until the racing industry steps up to the plate to implement a sustainable and permanent funding mechanism in EVERY racing jurisdiction. Given the current economic environment, John Q. Public just simply is unable to give to charities as they may have in the past. That said, John Q. Public should NOT be expected to provide funding for our retiring racehorses…that responsibility lies with each and every one of us involved in this industry. How much longer will the horses have to pay the price for our lack of responsibility?!?! Wake up people…demand that the industry take immediate action to address this issue once and for all.

  • Honestly

    the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions- you can’t save them all- and really is it our business to bail out poor owners- look at the dog and cat population- they just drop them off when they can’t afford them- owners currently pay into these types of organizations- but again we need to look at other options

  • Ottb123

    Charges of Neglect Bring Review By State Officials http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/sp…?_r=1&emc=eta1

  • Nancy

    So 63 (inventory list) – 47 (horses taken off the property) = 16. Anyone know the status of the possibly missing 16 horses on the OK property?

  • 990 IRS

    The IRS 990 exposes alot of problems with TRF.

    http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/133/133132741/133132741_200712_990.pdf

    $20,000. loans with 8.25% interest paid monthly to board members are just a start of the problems.

    As the Trustee of of another Foundation — I find it appalling that the TRF questions the Mellon Trustees.

  • Lynn

    Sadly – while the TRF may be able to weather this, there are a number of all-volunteer organizations that may be fatally damaged by the fall out. These organizations are run by people who pay expenses out of their own pocket time and again and never expect to be reimbursed, but they might get painted with the same broad brush.

    (No relation to champion and leading sire Broad Brush who passed away a couple of years ago.)

  • ratherrapid

    there are no easy solutions, as Paulick stated. If we provide cradle to grave care for all foals we’d be dealing with over a million of them.

    I think our charities miss the mark and need to rethink their goals, which might to be:

    quit looking to OTB as a solution. OTB is 75% abuse and neglect. Simply acknowledge reality that there are an insufficient number of caring 14 year olds for retired race horses.

    put the “rescue” profiteers out of business. anybody shuffling horses is not rescuing anything.

    quit interfering with owner life/death decisions. these are the same for any animal. that the horse was once a race horse is immaterial.
    after they retire they are livestock.

    the national policy ought to be–each owner cares for or disposes of their own horse. Racing is not a charity and cannot be at present.

    Do identify and support, and inspect those that actually do provide retired horse care. There should be a network for that, instead of “rescues”.

    Provide a charitable inspection program that scouts and reports abuse and neglect. and support for PETA, Humane Society, and other animal orgs in the animal care business. It ought to be our national policy instead of fighting with these folks.

    And finally, take a positive position on human slaughter and humane transport to slaughter that gives the abusing neglecting owner an “out”.

    Drape’s article was inevitable imo. That it had to do with Mellon Trust, a shame. He has focused attention on misguided rescue efforts and I’d think that would be long run good for the animal.

  • 990 IRS

    New York Times article March 18th
    “N.Y. Attorney General to Review Complaints About Care of Retired Horses”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/sports/19horses.html?ref=joedrape

  • http://www.paulickreport.com Paulio

    Those who make excuses are seldom good at anything else. –Benjamin Franklin

    Thank God for Joe Drape and his exposure of TRF, an organiztion that will not be saved from its incompetence.

    Imagine Ray Paulick sitting on the TRF board and then having the nerve to criticize Joe Drape. That’s a laugh. I mean what a butt-kissing hypocrite!

  • misses bee

    No easy solutions! What a sorry cop out. Sixteen horses are missing, many others are malnourished. I have an easy solution, feed your horses.

  • Stacey Ferris

    Dr. Hogan,
    I understand the need for you to defend the TRF but the bottom line TRF is responsible for those horses. I also have trouble believing you as a friend of a friend who called you to do double knee surgery on a horse she rescued of the track.. You said you would do the surgery for a very reduced fee but than you found out she was non Profit and than the Price went up to what full price. She than found a rescue to accept the horse and she would foster it you than said no .. So you say the only thing that suffers is the horses cause of Joe Draper? But you too put the that horse at the bottom of your agenda.. I wanted to email you on this months ago but now seems appropriate.

  • Spencer

    It appears that for too long TRF has been on an unsustainable path of its own making. Being three to four months delinquent on board fees is grossly unfair to the farms providing care, particularly over the winter when costs in areas like OK and KY would be higher. The TRF board’s position seems to be “Yes we didn’t provide our farms with the funds they needed to provide adequate care, and we are shocked that some of them were unable to make up the difference. We then spent months fighting with many of them over whether we could have access to see what level of neglect had occurred–so we could then remove our horses to a new location where the same cycle will inevitably repeat itself.” The ultimate responsibility is with the TRF board to face the reality of its situation, to speak publicly about the crisis its poor judgment largely created, and to make the responsible choices about what level of care it can afford to provide. If that means reducing the number of horses in its care, that can and should be done humanely… what is not acceptable is to substitute wishful thinking for making the difficult choices that come with taking responsibility for the care of defenseless horses.
    The silver lining in this sad situation is that it demonstrates the extent of the problem of caring for OTTB’s…even the TRF, with its heretofore irreproachable public image of careful stewardship and solid funding from the Mellon Foundation and other establishment sources, is not immune from the reality that there is not close to enough funds being devoted to care for the thousands of thoroughbreds that are added to the retired population every year. It also makes clear that the racing industry can not be let off the hook for its grossly inadequate response to a situation that it ultimately creates when it breeds 25,000+ new horses every year despite steadily declining demand and an unsustainable business model. The wishful thinking that characterizes the industry itself is just as futile and irresponsible as TRF’s.

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    Stacey – i remember the horse you are referring to you and there is much more to that story. Your impression is incorrect. Would you please contact me privately so I can explain the circumstances – this is probably not the forum to discuss it. Last year alone my practice did over $90,000 worth of work for 7 different rescues/adoption organizations. All of it was completely donated with no tax write- off whatsoever. Most of it was done on horses off the track

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    Stacey – i remember the horse you are referring to you and there is much more to that story. Your impression is incorrect. Would you please contact me privately so I can explain the circumstances – this is probably not the forum to discuss it. Last year alone my practice did over $90,000 worth of work for 7 different rescues/adoption organizations. All of it was completely donated with no tax write- off whatsoever. There is no tax benefit because of the way the tax laws govern services rendered. So you are either committed to the cause or not. Most of it was done for horses off the track in order to make them adoptable. That is really my objective – these horses need 2nd careers, and need to be useful.

  • lovethattb

    Underfunding or mismanagement of funds? I don’t know about all of that. I feed a mid-size herd of thoroughbreds, all retired racehorses; some are working, some are truly retired. If they just ate winter pasture grass without additional calories from concentrates, they will be thin!

  • Pete Freundlich

    Breeders and Owners need to take responsibility for their “children”. The horses I breed/own always will have a home here and their long term care is part of my retirement planning. Call it “cradle to grave” coverage, a Euro-socialist concept that I don’t like for people who can take responsibility for their futures. The animals can’t. The prior comment about Jockey Club charging a much higher amount to register a foal is a great idea. May discourage some breeders and that is okay. If you are not committed to the foal do not breed one! Likewise, another suggestion about portion of purses and handle going to horse retirement is helpful as this is an industry wide issue. Remember this: horses have short careers but long lives. This needs to be factored into the ownership equation, ROI, etc. Finally, it is great to see big names from Paul Mellon to currently Mike Repoli putting up their money to provide for the retired horses. If they and others can set such a good example why do we need owners and breeders who don’t?????

  • page hodson

    as a board member of the South Carolina committee of the TRF, i really appreciate and agree with much of your piece, i must, however, disagree with one of your final statements…i maintain that there is a relatively easy solution: money…why isn’t there a single line item fee on some document used at some exchange of funds during the life of a Thoroughbred that would go directly towards that horse’s retirment..easy as pie, but for some reason,no one seems to be willing to force those who spend millions annually, without a second thought, many of whom are worth billions to ante up a little chump change for the horses…!! what up with that?? it is beyond morally reprehensible that they do not wish to voluntarily offer the care, but it is unforgiveable that they are not forced to do it…with just a little bit of money, relative to all the other money spent by Thoroughbred owners, most, if not all, of the problems of the retirement of our Thoroughbreds would be easily solved.

  • maredoc

    No easy solutions is of course, true. The problem of unwanted anything (horses, dogs, cats, even people) comes down to will and finances. In my opinion, for animals, the issue is suffering, not existence. Alot worse things can happen to a horse than euthanasia, in whatever form it takes. So, I’d like those individuals who stridently opposed horse slaughter to reflect on our inability to care for the horses we have. Improve the processing system, especially transport. Use the carcass to feed the big cats, and take the cash from the french and japanese to save the others. Recognize reality. Do better by the horse.

  • spartan stables

    to Dr Hogan, just a quick note to say thnak you for your support and your (lifetime) of efforts in providing care for our horses. Your talents were put on this earth for a reason and please don’t let those who don’t know the facts here obstruct your future contributions.
    From myself and the many horses you have helped and saved, God bless you.

  • KTQ

    I’d like to make a few comments.

    First, I am a bit surprised in that Ray did not recognize the need to put the financial troubles out there in the media. One can not fix a problem until it’s at least admitted and acknowledged. I wonder – if this had been blogged long before, maybe it would not have gotten this bad. And I love Ray and what he has done to expose light on the negatives in racing (would there have been a LAT investigation if it had not been blogged for 50 days?).

    Second, the root of this problem is that racing is NOT taking care of its horses. I would like to say that you could trust that owners/trainers would automatically make sure their horses have a good life. But that’s like saying pure capitalism with no government oversight works. That companies would forego pure profits for the safety of operations (see BP). We must make it mandatory that registrations, purses, handle all carry a piece to fund caring for these animals. Sadly, racing is so desparate for participants, they’ll let anyone in (see Michael Gill).

    Lastly, I woke up today so grateful that I went back and saved the horse I lost in a claiming race, and ended up running low level at Finger Lakes, collapsing on the track. Today, he’s the love of the stable he resides in!

  • Flyinghorse

    The overage of inventory can be addressed by humane euthanasia. Some of the horses in the care of the TRF have long term medical problems. Humane euthanasia is painful as though you were sending them on a long hellish trip to slaughter. The decision is not an easy one to make but not making any decision is harmful and painful to some of the horses. The ‘do whatever you must to keep them upright’ approach is not working for many rescues and it does not work as a solution for many horses. How long should one skinny mare with a tragically malformed right front leg pictured in the news story, suffer? We should never burden our animals with our own emotions and by not allowing some of these horses to be free of their painful futures contributes directly as a form of neglect and abuse.

  • Brad Cummings

    Ray is traveling today but we received a question about our comment policy. It has been our policy to block commentors on this story and others who post multiple comments under different aliases with the same IP Address. We have always been a place for open commentary but do not feel it is appropriate or fair to our readers for one or two people to create the illusion of a crowded field that doesn’t exist.

  • Stacey Ferris

    Dr Hogan yes I will contact you I have had the outmost respect for you and what you do.. But when that situation arised I was very upset. This being a public forum I did not maybe include all the facts

  • Steve

    “It spends at least 85% of its revenue directly on the care of horses, using the remaining 15% for administration and fundraising (board members are neither paid nor reimbursed for their time or travel expenses).”

    Ray, can you please provide documentation on this claim. I looked at this angle a few years ago and found that less than half of TRF budget was actually used to pay for care of horses, ergo, more than half was administrative. Granted, categorization of some of the expenses wasn’t very clear….I really thought that made the administrative angle EVEN higher.

    Perhaps you’re massaging figures by saying “% of revenues” because apparently revenues don’t equal expenditures so none of the administrative costs are being paid? That’s cherry picking to be sure.

    Can you provide a link to financial documents?

  • Lynn

    @ratherrapid –

    Can you clarify this comment:
    “And finally, take a positive position on human slaughter and humane transport to slaughter that gives the abusing neglecting owner an “out”. ”

    Because a Thoroughbred racehorse is NOT fit to enter the human food chain. Most substances given to racehorses to keep them running are BANNED for use in animals intended for human consumption. Read the FDA ban on Phenylbutazone “bute” as well as the number of veterinarians and cattle ranchers that have been fined over the use in dairy and beef cattle.

    Do you think people should be eating the meat of a mare that had been on Regumate?

    I talked to a representative of Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Dog Food to ask if they used horse meat in their products. The rep said they do not because the meat was too contaminated for them to use.

  • BigRedFan

    @S

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    IF THINGS STAY THE WAY THEY R & HAVE BEEN N THE T-BRED BREED N INDUSTRY WE BETTER FIND A BUNCH OF DR. JACKS…PRONTO…ty…

  • BigRedFan

    @Spencer: Out of every single thing I’ve read on this situation, which is a LOT now – both content and comments – (I’m a fast reader and good Net researcher), your statements are the most succinct, most thoughtful and IMHO, the most CORRECT. I agree with you 100%. I sincerely hope the TRF listens.

  • Troubled

    #1 It does seem someone was getting rich or at least well paid and that would be Diane Pikulski & co.?

    #2 Kudos to Drape. The word of starving TRF horses in Oklahoma has been circulating since the summer of 2010 and the TRF’s abuse of their farms even longer than that.

    #3 EVERYONE needs to reevaluate who you think is a “good guy” and who you think is a “bad guy.” I think if Drape digs (and the Times legal department okays it) we will find a lot of ugliness.

    I love horse racing and I doubt that Drape’s TRF story is big enough to sound the wake up call, but we need to clean house. There needs to be a more powerful governing body. There needs to be take-outs and fees for retirements and there needs to be a better policing of backside activities. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Javagold

    Ray killing the messanger !! Never thought i would see that …..

    I bet the Humans in the TRF got their money first…The Bush DEPRESSION has made everyone DESPERATE

  • paulio

    @brad. . .Let’s be honest about it, you and Paulick would have been glad to ignore this important story and are now attempting to explain it in a disingenuous and misleading way. Problem is we’re not stupid at all. And we’re certainly not as incompetent as those running TRF.

  • OpenYourEyesAgain

    Regarding the comment policy, that’s baloney. I was blocked two times, hence the different name.

  • http://www.5RRacehorseCF.org Angelika Hala

    A lot of finger pointing and a defensively written rebuttal, Mr. Paulick. Your conflict of interest is apparent and, sadly, internal problems of the TRF appear to have been covered up at the expense of the horses. Four years and nothing changed? Why has the biggest rescue and retirement operation with support from some of the industry’s biggest names (and wallets) not been a loud voice in making changes? No, there are no easy solutions, and if the industry from breeding to rescue and retirement has been run and ruled by the same incompetent leadership I have to think that the fish stinks from the head. And I am glad that there are journalists who do NOT have a conflict of interest by being actively involved in the industry to still be able to write about its ills – not to forget the many great positive stories on horse racing that came from passionate journalist fans of horse racing like Mr. Drape.

  • Jocko Fatolla

    As a donor to the TRF, I make it my business to know a lot about the organization and have just read and would like to comment on Drape’s heinous article. It was Drape’s choice to present a pure and simple pre-meditated distortion of facts, for what ulterior purpose I have no idea. Why the left-wing fools at the Times splashed it on the front page is another issue, given all that is happening in this crazy world. Maybe they were angered at the elitist racing industry, and there they have a good point.
    Based on all that I have read in the news and on the Paulick Report, it appears that 4 of 47 horses on one Oklahoma farm were in trouble and that one of those was a 23 year old horse. The other three were thin but will be OK. If those stats hold up when applied to 1,200 horses under their care, the TRF is doing just fine for over 99.6% of the horses in its care. What ever happened to the “glass is over 99% full” crowd? The cynics with apparently nothing better to do are ignoring the 1150-90 horses that are probably doing well. How the hell do all the bloggers forget this, when calling idiotically for mass resignations, cutting salaries of TRF’s Fund Raisers to zero and making other wild and irresponsible suggestions?
    The Mellon donation generates only $350K per year, as I understand it, approximately 13% of an annual budget of approximately $3 million. Do the bloggers think $2.6 million of those funds will come in like manna from some heavenly benefactor? Staff volunteers are not exclusively relied upon by any successful national charity of which I am aware. The TRF must have professional staff and pay-rates must be at eleemosynary industry rates, or you’ll get low quality staff and compound the problems.
    The TRF has been caring for horses for over 25 years, and I personally hope it becomes financially stronger, gains more industry backing and stays around forever. To those who shout “pay your damn bills”, I’d point out that even General Motors, Citicorp and all the other big banks quite had some problems staying afloat in our recent and unusual economic climate, not to mention Greece, Iceland and Ireland. To whom can the TRF turn to for help in a crisis but its constituents – its present benefactors, historical donors, its board, its vendors (including the farms) and the racing industry?
    I gather from listening to the NTRA conference call and reading all that is available, that the TRF has in fact cut salaries, restructured Fund-Raising, restricted herd intake without financial commitments, and that it is now at or close to break-even. Their hay bill of $1.3 million (in 2009, per the form 990 – publicly available) is bound to be higher today, but if board costs at the farms are being held in line, staff has been trimmed by eliminating the CEO and other positions and other salaries have been cut, maybe things are headed the right way?
    Indeed, the fact that prominent and caring individuals such as Dr. Patricia Hogan have recently chosen to accept invitations to join the Board, is a testament to their vision for the TRF and its potential to lead change on important issues that will lead to transitioning more thoroughbreds to second careers, and to caring for those who cannot have such careers, but can be maintained with a reasonably good quality of life. It is shocking to me to see idiots such as the bloggers spewing lies and insults such as “Paulio”and “M-D” attack Dr. Hogan and the TRF, though they obviously must get some twisted kick from doing so.
    In reading through the 75+ comments on Ray’s primary article and 42 under the Response from Dr. Hogan, there were a few bright spots and wise comments, including “Ellen” in post #25 under Response from Patty Hogan” and “Susan”, poster of #20 under No Easy Solutions.
    A number of posters who are fans of the “ma and pa” and local rescue organizations may not know that many of them actually have turned to the TRF to take their horses when they are short of funds, and that quite a number of them – over 6% of the herd- reside at TRF farms even today.
    Finally, I am surprised that a number of bloggers automatically accord to the Mellon Trustees the credibility of Saints, whereas they, too, are only humans and capable of the full range of positive and negative every-day human failings. Even the Pope puts on his underwear one leg at a time, and the Mellon folks (his former secretary and a lawyer) are no different. If they have gotten into disagreements with the TRF Board, which, after all, consists of some highly respected individuals, might there not be two sides to that?
    To close with one last reference to the vindictive and irresponsible vermin Joe Drape and his dreary and factually-challenged newspaper, which elevated it to front page coverage, had Drape accepted the offer of the Board, described on the NTRA conference call (which is open to all until midnight tonight by dialing (719) 457-0820 and then entering the passcode 6927088 #), he might not have done a disservice to both his newspaper, the public, the TRF, the horses in the care of the TRF and other horse rescues which are also struggling for funds and are bound to be negatively affected by his article.

  • http://WWW.ARCI.COM ED MARTIN

    IS THE $3/DAY PAYMENT OFFER FOR BOARDING A RETIRED HORSE ACCURATE?

  • MED

    Jocko, you forgot to count the missing horses. There were originally 63. What happened to the rest of them?

  • ratherrapid

    #92 it is a nice job of argument, but flies in the face of Joe Drape’s rebuttal with the sheriff’s report. good lesson here to have the cash before you have the horse.

    here is a nice articulation of the basic problem that I stole from another board:

    For the most part, “rescues” are comprised of bleeding heart know-nothings who have nothing better to do than “saving” horses by slow starvation. Most haven’t a clue in the care and feeding of livestock. To them an occasional carrot or peppermint has far more nutritional value than clean hay and oats.

    Trainers must, at least, pass some sort of proficiency test to become licensed but these “rescues” are made up of mental defect hoarders and overzealous nuts that mark their “saves” much like charlatan preachers mark up their converts.

    This should not be a black eye for horse racing it should be a black eye for “rescue” organizations. It is about time we rethink horse slaughter in the US, since the alternative promoted by these same slimy “rescue” groups have proved to be a total failure. Humane slaughter is always better than starvation.

    Another side of the coin is NEVER TRUST A NY TIMES STORY:
    http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/TRF-member-disputes-report-1199454.php/quote

  • Jocko Fatolla

    From what I hear, the farms were not reporting deaths with regularity and were continuing to charge per diem in some cases, and there were documentation gaps when they were transferred in between 2001 and 2005.

  • Jocko Fatolla

    The $3 per diem is accurate and voluntary, and barely profitable, but profitable, por so I am told by one farmer who has their horses and takes $3 per day.

  • Jocko Fatolla

    Troubled: I don’t know what these people did to you, but you are damaged in the brain. Check their blooks, which are wide open, as I have done. All their financial stuff is freely available to all of us at Guidestar, under Form 990.

  • Troubled

    Jocko you are without a clue.

    You cannot care for the average thoroughbred on $3 per day. The TRF has been on a serious downward spiral for quite some time. I suggest you pull your head out of the sand. As a donor, I don’t know from where you’ve gotten your information, but if you give much money you should haul your butt out to Oklahoma and take a look for yourself.

    How many horses must suffer and die before we reform our industries — both racing and rescue?

  • Lynn

    @ratherrapid – when you say
    “umane slaughter is always better than starvation.” – who do you envision will be eating the meat of racehorses?

    Check out the links to the FDA regulations on medications that are commonly used on horses, including racehorses:
    http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/prohibited-drugs.php

    Are you going to sign up to be first in line to sink your teeth into THAT?

  • http://thoroughbreddailynews.com Sue Finley

    Congratulations, Ray, on a very well-done defense of a wonderful organization. I think it’s a fascinating aspect of human nature that so many people who have never done anything to help can sit back and throw stones at the one organization who has. It’s not as if the industry was throwing millions at the TRF and they misused it. Let’s be honest–we can count on one hand the few organizations and individuals who have truly stepped up to help save the horses who provide them with their living. By and large, the TRF board members and staff do not own, buy, breed, sell or profit from racehorses in any way. All they do is save them. To have them be the ones to be the ones criticized in this manner is nothing short of grotesque. I was a TRF board member for 12 years, and I raised millions of dollars for the organization–asking friends and business associates to give their money to a cause that is by and large overlooked by the Thoroughbred racing industry. I will have no qualms about doing so in the future, and will redouble my efforts to see that this one-sided piece of shoddy journalism does not sound the death knell for thousands more deserving ex-racehorses.

  • Jock Fatolla

    Wrong, Troubled. We also breed, buy and race thoroughbreds. I will agree that $3 is rock bottom, and probably too low for Oklahoma and certain other places. Those farms should not accept the horses if they do the math and decide ii’s not enough for them. Maybe the TRF people should move the horses to climates/terrains with better natural forage where $3 might be something they’re happy to be paid? Or, when and if the TRF stops losing so much money, which it seems to be close to doing, maybe they will raise their per diem a little, and request that the farms give them high quality hay and grain in the difficult winter months?

  • Aunt Bea

    I’ve supported TRF in the past, and probably will again, but every defense of the current problem brought to light by the NYT, by two current board members and others, admits major managerial problems of not months but years of duration.
    These defenses simultaneously voice vitriol that Drape’s article has it all wrong.
    It’s a tough situation for sure, but if you can’t pay to feed the horses some hay, seems to me you are indefensible unless you’re witholding information for some reason God only knows. He quoted the Prasident of TRF in the article, why should he chase down Patty Hogan?
    Am I missing something?
    And what the hell is TRF doing with a 24yo with no teeth anyway, not to mention that was an excuse for him being “skinny”?
    Can’t people just say we ****ed up?

  • Jack

    Incredibly, the TRF fired the messenger [aka the vet hired and paid for by the Mellon estate] today.

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

  • http://na donna

    one of the biggest problems with the TRf is, and has been, a lack of desire to network with other TB rescues across the country. Diana Pikulski is to blame for this . She has never wanted to “brainstorm” with other legitimate Tb rescues and rehoming organizations, she has never been open to the idea of creating a viable rehoming facility within the TRF, and she has never been willing to single out thoses tracks and horsemen who dump the most horses into the slaughter pipeline.Part of the reason is because she is so worried that “partnering” with other organizations will take a chunk out of her coveted donors. Part of the reson is because she is too busy travelling around the country trying to put together benefits, and part of the reason is because she is a backyard horsewoman who really has no idea how to rehab a racehorse. The TRF facility in Montpilier is a beautiful piece of property that TRF got for free. Ther is even a stable and riding ring for the horses. Howvever there is no man power to ride the horses and so the fields keep filling up with salvagable horses that never get marketed to the public as riding horses. There are so many gyp tracks in the US right now that its amazing we still have racing. What type of people make a living off of TB’s that run for $3,500.00 in the middle of winter in the middle of the night in a race that is written for horses that have not won a race in over a year for $3, 500.00? No wonder people spend all thier time in the casinos putting their money into one arm bandits. And all these poor broken horses, who have been passed through the ranks from one low life trainer to another end up hanging from a meat hook so that the racing industry can continue to repeat the same irresponsible behavior year after year. Like they say in baseball, “throw the bums out” of racing and maybe the industry would have some credibility.

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    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.

  • Lynn

    @donna
    A number of the other organizations are working on networking and creating viable plans. Let me know if there are any message boards where I can send you a PM to discuss further.

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    Donna – one of my goals as a board member was to do as you say, and make a more unified approach to this problem of racehorse retirement. My focused objective is really that of racehorse “transitioning” – I think our goal should be that these horses have a 2nd career and be useful. To that end, we are creating an Equine Veterinary Alliance that the TRF will head and organize for the most of the other adoption/rescues dealing with TB racehorses. Many veterinary practices and hospitals across the country have agreed to provide pro-bono professional services and at-cost only care for these horses – they sign up for a 2-year committment and the TRF’s role is to be the liason/organizer for those in need to those who can provide care, and to acknowledge/promote the veterinary profession’s committment to “giving back” to the horses that provide them with a livlihood. Even though many vets do what they can behind the scenes, it is the first organized effort to get this done and has been a long time coming. But it will do alot of good for all and we have had a great response thus far. We are planning to launch it by the summer of 2011.

  • AJJ

    Sue, Have you forgotten that Lansdown Robbins actively serves on the BoD of TRF and until very recently John Murrell both Thoroughbred race horse owners.

  • maggi moss

    I have stayed very quiet as a former TRF board member, who resigned. I can tell you that whether you call it “firing” or not allowing Dr. Huntington on farms “looks very bad” I dont know all of the “truth” but that feels very chilling and retalitory to me. Now Ray, arent you proud of me? I withstood all those nasty comments about me and my defense of Johnnie V; all the wonderful people accusing me of of everything from “All my trainers use drugs”, to being a bad lawyer and a worse PR person but really, so far, the only thing that really gets me througout the past week, is deciding to ban Dr. Huntington from anymore work. Wasnt she just doing what was asked and giving her opions as a licensed vet?

  • AJJ

    Sue, Were you aware that Legal Consent the stallion retired from Saratoga last summer and owned by TRF BOD Lansdown Robbins was recently and quietly removed from a neglect situation in IN? Legal Consent was sent to a ‘horse dealers’ farm to stand his first season at stud. Had it not been for two very concerned but unknown private individuals who drove 16 hours round trip from Ohio the day after Christmas to photograph the horse and note his condition, Legal Consent most would have died. This stallion was a body score of 3! Mr Robbins was contacted several times by those concerned and yet he choose to travel to Florida for the winter holiday. Only AFTER photos were sent and several phone calls did Mr Robbins and his agent decide to act.
    If the some TRF BODs are slow to act in looking out for their own horses what hope is there for the rest?

  • Mary A Matthews

    Ray with all due respect, I think it would have been best if you had said nothing in this sitaution. Obviously the TRF is in trouble, we certainly didn’t need you to tell us this NOW at this late point but perhaps if you had earlier on, horses may have been saved or kept from suffering. The TRF looks bad enough and now IMHO you have made them look even worse with your defensive attitude.

    From the bloodhorse article did state: “We’re current through the end of the year, and we’re not proud that we haven’t been able to keep these farms current because it is a financial strain on them,” Ludt said. “Now, due to its financial strictures, the TRF is restricting the number of horses that it accepts into its retirement program, according to Grayson and Ludt.

    How stupid does this sound? In one sentence they admit that they have failed but they are going to restrict the number of horses that they help? How about rstricting that number to a BIG FAT ZERO!

    And if that isn’t bad enough, you now are comenting (I think #22) that: “In your opinion, there is a big difference between “starving” and “very thin.” Are you serious Ray, because I certaily hope not! I am upset at this commet, outraged, almost hurt and very angry. You better get yourself together and take a step back and take a real good look at this situation. A very thin horse is the same as a starving horse Ray. Lack of food is the cause for both. There is NO difference so I am certainly glad that this is “just your opinion”

    The fact that the TRF has now fired the vet just goes to show that they are guilty and if they are not, they cerainly need some good advice on how to handle PR situations like this in a better way. Firing the vet is certainly a huge mistake and will only cause donors to stray away.

    Well I am sorry Ray but there is no excuse for dead or starving horse. The TRF should have spoken up before it got to this point as well as the farms that keep the horses. In the end, money was the only thing that seemed to have mattered to anyone and unfortunately this is an all too familiar situation where the horses are suffering.

    Now what I fear the most now is that we have 1200 horses that are already jeopardized due to lack of funds and it is th attitude that you have just shown us that will later cause a greater lack of funds to the TRF and then the horses will suffer even more. Perhaps the TRF should allow heads to roll, suck it up and say they are sorry and then at the very least, beg for help!!!

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    Lack of money is absolutely no excuse if these accusations are even partly correct. If TRF management isn’t capable of doing things as simple as managing intake based on available budget or performing simple follow-up with new or existing boarding locations, then it is a poorly run foundation. I have no idea what politics are in play here and don’t really care…there is no excuse…period. You agreed to do a job and it is irrelevant how hard you work, etc……YOU AGREED TO DO THE JOB! Do I absolutely appreciate the work done by rescue operations and also donate services / money to several? Yes! But my appreciation and financial donations have nothing to do with poor management, infighting and whatever issues led to the core mission of this foundation not being followed.

    No one wants to hear the CYA “we inherited these issues” BS. If you cannot sustain the model than make the hard and painful choice and put a percentage of these poor horses out of their misery and regroup. The alternative obviously isn’t working and whining about not having money isn’t going to resolve the issues.

    I don’t buy the fact that the “truth” will come out but would be more than happy to admit if I end up being wrong for posting negative feedback against TRF management.

    A lot of good ideas about the industry raising funds are posted in this thread and I support several models. But again, this has NOTHING to do with the current accusations!

    No excuse, disgusting and I hope a criminal investigation follows.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    Lack of money is absolutely no excuse if these accusations are even partly correct. If TRF management isn’t capable of doing things as simple as managing intake based on available budget or performing simple follow-up with new or existing boarding locations, then it is a poorly run foundation. I have no idea what politics are in play here and don’t really care…there is no excuse…period. You agreed to do a job and it is irrelevant how hard you work, etc……YOU AGREED TO DO THE JOB! Do I absolutely appreciate the work done by rescue operations and also donate services / money to several? Yes! But my appreciation and financial donations have nothing to do with poor management, infighting and whatever issues led to the core mission of this foundation not being followed.

    No one wants to hear the CYA “we inherited these issues” B..S. If you cannot sustain the model and have no immediate alternatives than make the hard and painful choice and put a percentage of these poor horses out of their misery and regroup. The alternative obviously isn’t working and whining about not having money isn’t going to resolve the issues.

    I don’t buy the fact that the “truth” will come out but would be more than happy to admit if I end up being wrong for posting negative feedback against TRF management.

    A lot of good ideas about the industry raising funds are posted in this thread and I support several models. But again, this has NOTHING to do with the current accusations!

    No excuse, disgusting and I hope a criminal investigation follows.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    ???

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    New posts not being displayed?

  • Mary A Matthews

    @Maggi Moss, Amen to that and yes it looks very VERY bad that they fired the vet. Any donor is going to be fearful to give money to a rescue or foundation that would state that there is a big difference between a starving horse and a very thin horse. So as a donor I guess I would be more than happy to hand over the cash and pray that the horse isn’t too thin or better yet, debate the condition of a starving horse? That makes a ton of sense,sure that is where we all want our money to go.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    Lack of money is absolutely no excuse if these accusations are even partly correct. If TRF management isn’t capable of doing things as simple as managing intake based on available budget or performing simple follow-up with new or existing boarding locations, then it is a poorly run foundation. I have no idea what politics are in play here and don’t really care…there is no excuse…period. You agreed to do a job and it is irrelevant how hard you work, etc……YOU AGREED TO DO THE JOB! Do I absolutely appreciate the work done by rescue operations and also donate services / money to several? Yes! But my appreciation and financial donations have nothing to do with poor management, infighting and whatever issues led to the core mission of this foundation not being followed.

    No one wants to hear the CYA “we inherited these issues” nonsense. If you cannot sustain the model and have no immediate alternatives than make the hard and painful choice and put a percentage of these poor horses out of their misery and regroup. The alternative obviously isn’t working and whining about not having money isn’t going to resolve the issues.

    I don’t buy the fact that the “truth” will come out but would be more than happy to admit if I end up being wrong for posting negative feedback against TRF management.

    A lot of good ideas about the industry raising funds are posted in this thread and I support several models. But again, this has NOTHING to do with the current accusations!

    No excuse, disgusting and I hope a criminal investigation follows.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    OK, my post is being filtered for some reason so I will break it up into several parts…

    Lack of money is absolutely no excuse if these accusations are even partly correct. If TRF management isn’t capable of doing things as simple as managing intake based on available budget or performing simple follow-up with new or existing boarding locations, then it is a poorly run foundation. I have no idea what politics are in play here and don’t really care…there is no excuse…period. You agreed to do a job and it is irrelevant how hard you work, etc……YOU AGREED TO DO THE JOB! Do I absolutely appreciate the work done by rescue operations and also donate services / money to several? Yes! But my appreciation and financial donations have nothing to do with poor management, infighting and whatever issues led to the core mission of this foundation not being followed.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    No one wants to hear the “we inherited these issues” nonsense. If you cannot sustain the model and have no immediate alternatives than make the hard and painful choice and put a percentage of these poor horses out of their misery and regroup. The alternative obviously isn’t working and whining about not having money isn’t going to resolve the issues.

    I don’t buy the fact that the “truth” will come out but would be more than happy to admit if I end up being wrong for posting negative feedback against TRF management.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    A lot of good ideas about the industry raising funds are posted in this thread and I support several models. But again, this has NOTHING to do with the current accusations!

    No excuse, disgusting and I hope a criminal investigation follows.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    A lot of good ideas about the industry raising funds are posted in this thread and I support several models. But again, this has NOTHING to do with the current accusations!

  • Brad Cummings

    Stewart,

    Your comment was stuck in moderation because it had a moderated word, yet not in the context which it would be monitored. I have approved the comment.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    No excuse, disgusting and I hope a criminal investigation follows.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    Thanks…then you might as well delete the redundant posts that follow.

  • Stacey huntington

    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

  • Jack

    From what I can tell from the varying stories, here is the bottom line:

    1. Of horses in the care of the TRF, 1 is confirmed dead of starvation, 16 are missing and assumed dead of starvation, a majority of a group of 47 were starving, and 34 horses of another group were in poor or emaciated condition.

    2. The TRF has known about these problems for months if not longer, and has not reached out publicly for help in the form of funds (paid directly to the farms if necessary) or adoption of horses.

    3. The response by the TRF has been to attack the people who have been proactive in ending the abuse, namely Drape and those working on behalf of the Paul Mellon estate.

    4. What has happened here isn’t a whole lot different than what happened with Paragallo, and he is in jail and effectively banned from racing.

    The TRF has done fine work in the past and helped many animals. What happened here, though, wasn’t just inexcusable but also criminal. There must be full accountability and transparency if the TRF is to restore itself to the entity that Paul Mellon believed it to be when he donated his generous gift.

  • Lynn

    Responding to part of Dr. Hogan’s comment:

    “Many veterinary practices and hospitals across the country have agreed to provide pro-bono professional services and at-cost only care for these horses – they sign up for a 2-year committment and the TRF’s role is to be the liason/organizer for those in need to those who can provide care, and to acknowledge/promote the veterinary profession’s committment to “giving back” to the horses that provide them with a livlihood.”

    Dear Sweet Lord – PLEASE don’t tell me this means that TRF will have political say-so as to which rescue group might be able to afford vet services and which cannot.

    As alluded to in an earlier post, many organizations got trampled under by certain persons at TRF and learned the lesson that if you didn’t play nice-nice and tow the line, you were in danger of being crushed.

    And that is one of the sad legacies that the TRF has imprinted on the “smaller” groups.

  • Mary A Matthews

    Picture of horse sent to a TRF facility on October 14, 2010 and follow up pictures taken on March 2, 2011. Should we debate if this horse was “starved” or just “very thin?”
    http://forums.delphiforums.com/alexbrown/messages?msg=54833.75

  • Paulio

    I have some questions, all of them legitimate, for TRF board members, especially Ray Paulick and Dr. Patty Hogan, board members who have taken much time recently to defend and explain TRF points of view.

    1) Dr. Stacey Huntington and a group of local veterinarians were hired by the Mellon Foundation, and with agreement of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, to inspect facilities where TRF boarded retired race horses. Dr. Huntington and the other veterinarians inspected about 30 farms and examined approximately 700 horses, finding numerous problems with both the facilities and the horses. Many of these problems were reported by Joe Drape of the New York Times. Both Mr.
    Paulick and Dr. Hogan have said that Dr. Huntington leaked her report to Drape. Do you have any evidence to support this claim?

    2) George Grayson, TRF president, claims TRF no longer will use Dr. Huntington’s services claiming she is not objective. But given Dr. Huntington’s opinions regarding boarding facilities and individual horses were all agreed to by a second veterinarian, how many veterinarianary opinions will be required by Mr. Grayson before he admits he has received an objective opinion?

    3) In addition to Dr. Huntington, how many veterinarians participated in gathering information for the report on the TRF herd. Who paid them and how much were they paid?
    given
    4) Dr. Huntington and her associates found that approximately 25 percent of the 700 horses examined were in need of urgent care. Do you dispute this? What percentage, in your opinion, did need urgent care? Did some need care that was less than urgent, but still necessary? Can you point to cases where urgent care was provided but was unnecessary?

    5) Dr. Huntington claims education of caretakers and oversight of farms were poor. Dr. Huntington found one farm where caretakers were feeding horses cattle feed, which contains contents that can be harmful to horses. Does TRF offer any
    educational forums or materials for caretakers? Is the type or content of feed subject to contractual language and agreement between TRF and contracting farms? How often does TRF staff inspect contracting farms? How does TRF select
    boarding operations? What are the qualifications of these inspecting TRF staff members? Are reports prepared based on these staff inspections? Are reports prepared on individual farms?

    6) Dr. Huntington was not permitted by the owners of 4-H Farms near Okmulgee, Oklahoma, to inspect their farm or examine members of the TRF herd until TRF had paid a $20,000 delinquent bill and until a TRF representative or representatives had agreed not to seek prosecution of the farm’s owners. Who signed this agreement on behalf of TRF?
    Was it approved by a majority of the TRF board? Was advice of legal counsel sought before entering into this agreement? Was the local district attorney consulted? Why wasn’t a court order sought to gain access to the herd? What legal advice was given by TRF counsel? Will you make the agreement public?

    7) Had TRF settled previous bills with 4-H Farms? What was the total of these discounts provided by 4-H Farms? Did TRF settle bills with other boarding operations? What were the total amounts of these discounts?

    8) In September of 2010, did TRF owe Out2Pasture Farms of Jamestown, Missouri, $43,000?

    9) Did TRF ask Out2Pasture to reduce its per diem to $3. What was the per diem TRF had agreed to pay Out2Pasture?

    10) How many TRF horses die each year? Does TRF or its representatives seek to determine the cause of death in each case? Are reports prepared on deaths, including the deaths of individual horses? Will you make these reports public?

    11) TRF failed to obtain certification from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, a requirement for a $175,000 grant
    from the ASPCA. How did that happen? Do you think donors should be concerned about this lack of certification? Have other race horse rescue operations received this certification?

    12) Dr. Hogan, you seem to believe your examination of photographs of horses in the 4-H herd is superior to Dr. Huntington’s on-site, hands-on inspection of the survivors in that herd. Also recall that Dr. Huntington was accompanied by
    another veterinarian. Which is considered best practice by your profession, photographic examination by a single veterinarian or on-site hands-on examination by two veterinarians? And as a TRF board member with an obvious interest in
    giving the best evaluation possible do you agree you have a conflict-of-interest in this matter and cannot be objective? (Mr. Paulick, I am not sure whether you consider yourself a journalist or an industry promoter, so I will leave a determination
    concerning your potential conflict of interest and lack of objectivity to you.)

    13) What is being done by TRF to determine the whereabouts of the 16 missing, and presumed dead, members of the 4-H herd?

    14) Do contracts between TRF and contracting boarding operations contain language and agreement that allows TRF representatives to inspect TRF animals given adequate notice?

    As I have said, all of these questions are entirely legitimate and all have been raised, or are based upon, the reporting of Mr.
    Drape. You have done much to disparage Mr. Drape, but have not answered a single one of these questions. These are questions that potential donors may have and they need to be answered. I hope to be able to read your responses in the
    next few days.

  • Barbara

    I think the TRF might want to get their own house in order, pay their bills, care for their own herd, and make a change in executive leadership before they try to add a middle layer of administration for vet care that other smaller rescues already arrange with their local vets.

    Why did TRF not apply for certification that was required by ASPCA for a $175,000 grant? Isn’t that in the Executive Director’s job description? A better explanation than “we lacked staff” is in order.

    Regardless of the reason for letting Dr. Huntington go, it only looks bad for the TRF. While I certainly do find Joe Drape’s reports biased in tone, and clearly major politics are afoot…the TRF doesn’t seem to “get it” or have a sense of urgency or transparency.

  • Fran

    It is obvious there are problems internally with this organization. He said, she said, he or she didn’t. Frankly, if there is one “thin” horse, that horse is underfed and starving as far as I am concerned. I am not interested in petty things such as why a board member quit or left, however, I am concerned about the horses. I certainly can’t feed my horses for $3.00 per day here in California. This organization needs to get it’s act together and quickly because animals are suffering due to the inability of TRF to see the forest for the trees. Ray, you defend an organization, and I applaud you for that but. . . It is simply disgusting that the horses are suffering because of the mismanagement of TRF. There is absolutely no defense for poor management and starving horses.

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    Lynn – I am sorry that has been your experience but no, that is not my objective here. The ultimate goal is to bring more of these organizations together since the industry has no plans to provide a mandate or form any type of cohesive group in the near future from what I can see. The role of the TRF is merely to be the “meeting place” where organizations needing help can be matched with practices who want to help. For example, that may even include away to network with an expert about a certain injury when the rescue is located a thousand miles away. It just provides some structure. And in turn, I thought the TRF would have the connections to provide the publicity and exposure for the good results that may follow.
    I have no interest in playing politics – I have a keen interest in getting horses evaluated, treated for whatever problem they have, and move them on to transition into a 2nd career. We do that here with the Turning For Home Program at Parx Racing and we have fixed and adopted out over 400 horses in the past 2 years. Just by using an organized system of evaluating the horses, surgically or medically fixing their problems (or humanely euthanizing those that cannot have a comfortable existence), and then moving them on to a training farm where they are transitioned and then adopted out (with adoption agreements).Knee chips, limb fractures, throat problems, sinus surgery – whatever – we fix it and then they go on. So far it is the only large racetrack program that seems to work and we need more of them.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    NOE DIFFERENT THAN UNWANTED DOGS & CATS…”WE LOVE ALL CREATURES LARGE & SMALL”…”THE GAME” IS ON ITS WAY BACK TO THE TOP…SOE FACE THE FACTS HEAR…THERE WILL BEE EVEN MORE UNWANTED HORSES N THE VERY NEAR FUTURE…STAY TUNED…ty…

  • Azure

    So what happened to the missing 16 horses, no one has addressed this…surely someone at TRF is charged with tracking each horse that goes to a farm, no?

  • Bonnie

    “I raised millions of dollars for the organization–asking friends and business associates to give their money to a cause that is by and large overlooked…” Sue Finley
    Sue- The horses all look forward to the “millions” that you will raise for their care in the future. Maybe at that time, we will not be arguing about the difference between a starving horse and a very thin horse.
    You really should be embarrassed of your defense of Ray and the “wonderful organization” of TRF.
    “Wonderful”??- One can only imagine how then poor organizations treat their retirees.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    THIS DEAL HEAR WILL B A BLESS N N DISGUISE!!!…OUT OF THE CLOSET SOE TO SPEAK…THANK GOODNESS…ty…

  • luke

    400 horses adopted out from Parx racetrack according to Dr. Hogan. Nice job. It would be interesting to determine the whereabouts of these horses now to see what types of folks are ending up with these retirees. Perhaps this would be a good case study?

  • Mary

    Solution – feed them or humanely put them down.

  • Jocko Fatolla

    For Steve- #83: Maybe you saw what I wrote in #92 yesterday. I went to http://www.guidestar.org and registered, as it’s free. Then you type in Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and maybe add NJ, and all their back IRS returns are there and can be downloaded for analysis.

    There you’ll see that only a small part of their $ goes to administration. That’s where I found out how much they spent on hay, board, vets, etc.

    So there’s your link.

  • Patrick Morell

    Do not blame Tom Ludt, he is doing the absolute best that he can under the circumstances. I worked for Tom for two years and he is a fine human being. Many of you don’t know how thin he is spread. He is on every committee and board known to the industry. He spends countless hours trying to help the industry solve difficult problems like this and is not compensated for it. Maybe all of the people who are upset about these so called allegations, should shut their mouths and open their pocket books, and make a real difference in a retired horse’s life. Quit blaming, start contributing! Our sport needs it now more than every. Hey Joe, write a check today!

  • Bill Landes

    I have personally supported the TRF over the years and have seen that Hermitage Farm tour fees were sent their way.

    Right now I feel that instead of pictures and feel good stories, I need to see how many $ are coming in and where and how much is going out.

  • KTQ

    Baseball never got serious about their steroid problem until Congress got involved. Maybe we need the same thing so that finally racing can get ONE commission to address ALL our problems including but certainly not limited to: starving unwanted horses, all owners/trainers fund a program to support post-race careers, situations like LAT, trainers with constant and consistent drug violations where penalties cross state lines….The list is endless and in the end, it’s the horse that suffers the worst..

  • Spencer

    I have great admiration for the amount of time and effort that TRF board members like Tom Ludt, Dr. Hogan, and Ray have devoted to trying to bring TRF out of the perilous situation in which it finds itself. They deserve our deepest respect for it. That being said, in the last three days, TRF’s situation has made a fateful transition from a private crisis to a public scandal. Once that happened, this became a fight for institutional survival. I don’t know enough about the underlying facts to know if TRF should survive, or if the Mellon trustees have given up on it. As a sympathetic supporter, I can say that actions like denying access to the farms by the vet hired by the Mellon people is potentially a deal-breaker for them. Attacking Joe Drape for bringing it to public attention is sadly conveying a level of cluelesness that undermines public confidence in the Board’s ability to manage its affairs.
    Please stop the stream of fatal mis-steps that are doing tremendous harm. This and other blogs are not the forum for announcing new initiatives like the vet network–it sounds so out-of-touch and so “lets change the subject”…Please shut-up and get professional help from an independent source with expertise in non-profit management. Please make the hard choice to admit that you need help, and listen to it, wherever it leads. Please stop the circular firing squad behavior that is very close to destroying everything good that TRF has every done.
    There are 1200 innocent horses who need immediate care and, God help them, they are still your responsibility.

  • Mary A Matthews

    @Patrick Morell.. I think you fail to understand that yes there are people that would be willing to open their pocket books in situations like these but I am afraid with the attitudes being shown, funds will decrease. It was certainly IMHO wrong when the following was stated: “Now, due to its financial strictures, the TRF is restricting the number of horses that it accepts into its retirement program, according to Grayson and Ludt. This is NOT what anyone wants to hear. What people want to hear is something like… We are sorry, we will try to fix the problem, we are dedicated the the care and welfare of the horses currently in our care and until we are 100% sure that they are well cared for, we will not be taking in anymore horses at all.

    And on top of that we have Ray Paulick (on the board of directors) wanting to debate the differece of a very thin and startved horse. I hate to tell you that no one wants to give money to a foundation where this would need to be debated. Most would much rather give money where there is no question and they can go see that the horses are cared for and fed. Transparency is everything!

    And just for the record, like many others here that are concerned, I give a GREAT deal of money to help horses and network to get horses to safety on regular basis. I am certain there are others here that have made comments that have done the same. There are many people out there like myself that ar willing to open our pocketbooks and help get a horse to safetly after an owner has decided the horse is trash. Last week I paid 500.00 for the transport of a horse that the racing owner wanted to get rid of in a big hurry,I don’t know this horse and have never met this horse and probably never will but he is safe now and being fed at a rescue unlike the situation that the owner left him in where he was being boarded and not fed which was probably because the boarding fee was not being paid. I don’t think you need to worry about the people who donate hard earned cash to horses that they never made a dime from and have no real responsibilty to. Perhaps worry more about the rescues and foundations where the money is ending up and whether or not the horses are benefitting from it. Unfortunately this has turned into one of the sitautions where we need to worry.

  • CV Peg

    Some keep mentioning the “wealthy horse owners” as those who need to put forth more. Frankly, “wealthy horse owners” is often a false stereotype of a large number of owners. There are many ignorant direct owners and partnerships who use self-aggrandizing speech while not having a clue what care of Thoroughbreds entail, especially after racing. Some of these have “learned” from other “racing experts” and continue to disseminate incorrect information as newly minted “experts”. Some think token contributions to Thoroughbred retirement and rescue foundations is enough. Frankly I hope this article and these subsequent discussions have at least raised awareness to those who continue to play an active part in Thoroughbred racing, but just don’t get it.

    Additionally, before the ballyhoo and overpopulation beginning in the 80′s, Thoroughbreds were the primary hunter/jumper/dressage/event sport horse used after retirement. The US is now flooded with warm bloods and other European breeds that have dissolved the Thoroughbred as a “less desireable” choice, let alone the changes in character and reputation drugs have played in Thoroughbred racing.

    Just some additional factors in this aforementioned perfect storm of issues.

    On another forum, we’re discussing adequate continuous registration for all Thoroughbreds who race or breed, with a minimal yearly accountability – perhaps some kind of database overseen nationally. How many racing Thoroughbreds have been lost track of, not having had TRF even to begin their retirement with. It should be included in any national racing regulations accomplished.

  • Mary Johnson

    I applaud the comments made by Donna (post #106)
    “And all these poor broken horses, who have been passed through the ranks from one low life trainer to another end up hanging from a meat hook so that the racing industry can continue to repeat the same irresponsible behavior year after year. Like they say in baseball, “throw the bums out” of racing and maybe the industry would have some credibility”.
    The TB racing industry is in a precipitous decline and I applaud that decline. This situation with the TRF is the tip of the iceberg and now everyone, including Patty Hogan, is in the “damage control” mode. There is NO EXCUSE for starving or neglected horses under any circumstances and the fact that some horses are missing tells me that someone wasn’t doing his or her job. The TRF needs to follow up on horses that they place in the care of others, and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon or vet to figure that out. Clean house NOW because the business model hasn’t been followed and isn’t being followed now. If you can’t feed a horse, euthanize. It is far better than starvation.

  • BigRedFan

    @Spencer, is there an APR after your name? Once again, YOU GET IT.
    @Mary, you nailed it:
    “What people want to hear is something like… We are sorry, we will try to fix the problem, we are dedicated the the care and welfare of the horses currently in our care and until we are 100% sure that they are well cared for, we will not be taking in anymore horses at all.”
    EXACTLY. Thank you!!!

  • ratherrapid

    yes, there is a (big)difference between a thin horse and a starving horse.

    it takes $1,000,000 a year to support 424 horses ($200/horse/month.) This org has 1200 horses. All the criticism needs to put the money where there mouths are. The firing of Huntington is mindnumbingly stupid. the basic problem is still there.

  • Mary A Matthews

    @ratherrapid blaming the donors that help support the horses never helps. Telling them that they don’t do enough is not the answer. It generally leads to less funds being generated for the horses. A very thin horse will lead to death so I fail to see what the difference is. In the end, they are not be cared for as they should be whether you call it starved or ver thin. That is the bottom line. Photos don’t lie http://forums.delphiforums.com/alexbrown/messages?msg=54833.75

  • Julia Householder

    Photos do not tell lies………..you should not tell lies…….no one can help these horses unless you all admit to your mismanagement.
    For every horse that has died there are TWENTY times as many suffering!!!
    Your words are those of denial. Your word are meaningless and will only attempt to delay the inevitable conclusion of the crimes committed against the horses. Ted Terry is a HERO to the horses that remain. Joe Drape is a HERO to the horses that remain.
    I know first haNd that horses left my care 4 months and 20 days ago. I have dental veterinarian records and I have digital photos on their day of departure, with Sallee Vans in the back ground. I have the bill of ladings and copies of the State Health Certificates and copies of coggins.
    Western Squire, 1997 gelding dead from starvation and neglect.
    Gold Star 1998 gelding, dead from starvation and neglect.
    Joe Drape has reported the truth after a long investigation by an independent AAEP veterinarian………
    You all refuse to take responsibility for your crimes against these horses.
    MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOU ALL,

  • ratherrapid

    #151 the original OP was that TRF has recognized it’s problems for months and is trying to find a solution to the problem of lack of available money to take care of horses on the ground. I fail for myself to understand withering criticism by anyone(other than donors) that themselves fails to anti up. Everybody wants to save the horses but with somebody else’s money.

  • Lynn

    Dr. Hogan – I want to believe you. I really do. But as the saying goes “Once bitten, twice shy.” You can talk about TRF being a meeting place for other organizations, but the same management is in place that has been telling these same organizations that TRF would bury them. The attitude was that TRF was the ultimate organization and no one else was needed.

    That attitude is still coming through in the official statements from TRF and from the comments made here by Ray and you.

    I honestly do not wish to see the TRF fail because the lives of 1200 horses hang in the balance. However, I do not think that TRF can maintain the same management, consultants and cronies that brought the organization to the point it was 4 years ago (as stated by Ray) and where it appears to remain today.

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com Stewart

    Ratherrapid and anyone else who continues to disregard comments from anyone other than “donors” and who say you should give money rather than complain…

    Your ignorance and arrogance is probably similar to the people managing the TRF. Anyone who loves horses or animals in general has every right to voice their opinion when a foundation tasked with caring for horses is failing to do their job. And as a horse owner who has spent a ton of money over the years finding good homes for my horses and also making donations to various organizations, I don’t really care if you think people have the right to complain or not.

    Management means you identify issues and make adjustments as needed. It certainly doesn’t mean you turn your back on ongoing issues and then blame lack of funds when horse abuse / neglect is brought to light by a 3rd party.

    Money doesn’t fix an issue if management is either incompetent or unwilling to openly admit issues and seek help due to an inflated ego or any other excuse.

    NO EXCUSE FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED!

  • Julia Householder

    Dr. Hogan,
    I applaud your most recent comment
    I hope the rest of the organization will follow your lead. We cared for 80 horses for the organization for over 11 years. It is horrific to me to have seen horses taken from us less than 5 months ago die from neglect and starvation. Ask the AAEP about my care for these animals, if anyone disputes that our care was the epitome. Our horses were used in AAEP dental labs for three years, and then after comments questioning the services these horses received, the executive director refused to allow the horses to be used. The last live continuing education lab using TRF horses in Lexington, KY was in September of 2007. The AAEP was proud to use our horses. Services and cash donations were the reward to the TRF. It was not appreciated by the Executive Director. All instructors, and Staff of AAEP were most impressed with our horses and their level of care.

  • Julia Householder

    STEWART, I AGREE WITH YOU!!!

  • ratherrapid

    Steward–i hardly am an expert on this. I am also other than on the “rescue”/anti-slaughter band wagon.

    only what i have read here. i respect everybody’s opinion. everybody that posts is interested in horse welfare. For myself, I applaud the TRF general goal of actually taking care of horses instead of shuffling them to riding “careers”, even if TRF may be mismanaged, which I am doubting from what I read. somewhere along the line prior directors took in more horses than $$$ coming in. that is the problem. and to me, if you want to criticize, donate.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    This is a question for Stephanie Huntington.
    You said in #127 that you were hired to provide the TRF with ‘ALL the information” you could gather by evaluating the different farms. You specifically acknowledged that Tom Ludt, the Chairman of the Board of the TRF, wanted all the information. Why didn’t you provide your reports to the TRF. As far as I am aware, they were only told of a few problems that were being addressed or were addressed immediately after they were informed. If there were so many instances of starvation and serious neglect, why didn’t you notify the TRF immediately so they could take prompt action. Why are there still reports that “no one” has seen. I believe that other vets are being asked to take over because you withheld critical information from the TRF that you admit you were hired to provide to THEM.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Stacey Huntington:
    I have been told that you evaluated 700 horses for the TRF. You admit that you have not provided reports on all the horses to any one. How many horses did you provide reports for, and how many did you give to the TRF?

  • Gail Vacca

    Julie…first let me express my deepest sympathy to you as I know you must be completely grief-stricken to have learned that the horses you once loved and cared for suffered and died from starvation. If this were to ever happen to any horse I’ve loved and cared for along the way, God help the people responsible…there would be NO place that they could hide.

    Could you please tell us if you are still caring for TRF horses? Also, why were these horses removed from your care?

    I had read that Western Squire had died from starvation, but wasnt aware that Gold Star had died as well. Are there any others that you are aware of that have died?

  • Azure

    Where did Western Squire and Goldstar get moved TO, after leaving Julia Householder’s property ?

  • Jocko Fatolla

    Stacey:

    If I hired a vet who was not giving me reports on my horses and who warned me that “a conversation was going to occur” with a newspaper reporter about the work she was doing for me, I would fire the vet on the spot. I wonder why Grayson didn’t toss you out immediately!

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Julie,

    I am very, very sorry about the deaths of Western Squire and Gold Star. I had seen the before and after pictures, but did not know that either had died. Did the veterinarian confirm that the deaths were caused by starvation? Did they have any physical problems that could have contributed to their poor body condition? Where and when were the “after” pictures taken? When did they start to receive medical treatment? Were they given medical treatment as soon as the problems surfaced?

  • Gayle England

    Julie Householder’s confirmation of 2 more starved and dead only supports that TRF had starving and dead horses on their watch. I lost two when TRF moved my herd to a cheaper farm, 16 are more than likely dead on the 4H in OK and people blog about the Board of Directors. The BOD were notified,each and everyone by email from me that because the farms were not receiving the necessary wormer, vaccines and pay that the horses were at risk. This is documented. Ray Paulick is among the board members to receive that email in November of 2009. TRF has sacrificed it’s newest board members on this blog to answer for a problem that has existed for a few years now. Additionally, I have lost another emaciated horse from the Rafter G Ranch that still has TRF horses.

  • Joel Reingold

    Your “spin” defense of the indefensible is shameless. The only error was taking on too many horses and not enough money? Thre Mellon’s made me do it?
    Have you absolutely no shame?

  • Joel Reingold

    What difference is there between you and the other board members and Ernie Paragallo? What difference is there between his defense and your’s?

  • lovethattb

    Patti Hogan, Ray Paulick,

    I want to know about Jim’s Rusty Gem. I want to adopt him from the TRF because I want to ensure his safety and well-being. I want to pay good money for that horse. I want my adoption fee to go towards the rehabiliative care of the others. I do not want my adoption fee to go towards salaries and administrative costs. Can someone contact me at [email protected] about adoption of this horse?

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Stacey Huntington
    Since you claim that you did not contact Joe Drape in #127, who did? The story that Joe Drape wrote featured information that you compiled. Since you never provided most of that information to the TRF (which I believe it was your job and responsibility to do), who did you provide it to? You admit that you knew the story was being written in advance, therefore, you knew the information was being provided to Joe Drape.

  • AJJ

    Luke and Dr Hogan,
    Two Turning For Home fillies were identified at a NJ feedlot last summer. While under the ‘protective’ contract of TFH and supposed to be at a contracted foster facility, somehow Kickin and Screamin and Loveable Lass were sold by the foster to a dealer the day before they should up at the NJ auction. I understand both mares were retrieved by TFH.

  • AJJ

    edit *showed up*

  • Joe

    TRF Sad Facts: Day 4

    Neglect and starvation: tragic.

    Dirty secrets, delays, cover-ups, gross mismanagement of animals, trashing of whistleblower and reporter: disgusting.

    Horse-slaughter-Pope Tom Lenz licking his chops and using the TRF story to preach the virtues of horse “processing” to his choir as soon as he can: barbaric.

    Are all TRF horses inside prisons safe? It has always bothered me that some horses are exposed to felons knowing the perversion, crime and violence that exist in many jails.

  • big dog

    what ever happened to the Operations Manager position at TRF that was advertised last year in the Bloodhorse ? Was that position ever filled ? I thought visiting the farms was part of this job ????

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    ty #140…PLAIN & SIMPLE…THIS SOLUTION IS WHAT WILL COME DOWN…SOON…PETA…HUMANE SOCIETY…& OTHERS(PEOPLE WITH SOME PASSION & COMMON SENSE) WILL GET N THIS FRAY SOON…& IT IS ABOUT DAMN TIME…IF THE JOCKY CLUB & OTHERS(HORSE PEOPLE THAT COULD CARE LESS) DON’T TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN HOUSE…OTHERS WILL DUE IT FORE THEM…TIME THIS PART OF “THE GAME” WAS EXPOSED FORE WHAT IT IS…ty again…

  • luke

    AJJ poster. Because this Turning For Home group gives up possession of the placed or adopted horses, I wonder how often the situation you describe occurs where a retired horse is “paper traded” until the kill folks get their hands on them? I hope this is the exception that fell between the cracks, not the rule. Still hoping if the TFH model actually works as published, and it can be proven horse by horse based on where all the 400 plus adoptees are now, let’s all get on board and duplicate what they do.

  • Stacey huntington

    I do not know who contacted joe drape. I believe that the info he got on the missing 16 horses and the condition of the others came from the sheriffs report i filed. It is public information. I dont where he got the info on the kentucky farm. I had reported it to my contact person at trf along with pictures which were requested.

  • Aunt Bea

    Geez, how come the more I consider the situation, Dr. Patty Hogan reminds me more and more of Sarah Palin?

  • Dr. Patty Hogan

    Stillriledup – I am very upset as well about the horses – like I said before – just one is one too many. There is no excuse whatsoever- I only meant that there were facts and much more to the story that was never reported and that these facts were important. This forum was helpful in trying to get some of the missing facts out there and to provide some information/transparency to concerned people.
    In any case, what matters right now is that this situation continues to be corrected and that it never ever happens again. Those measures began in December 2010 and continue as of this moment. Every horse in the herd is being accounted for and evaluated with any extra care that is needed provided. Going forward there will be major changes in organization, structure, and policy that will still provide for a viable safety net for the horses regardless of downturns in the economy, geographic location,day rate, or any other unforseen or unplanned-for scenario.
    I appreciate all of the comments and suggestions from all concerned, as tough as some of the comments were to hear for me. Joining this board recently has been a personal “baptism by fire” but I do sincerely believe this is a very important and good organization, as well as many of the other organizations doing this sort of service to our racing industry. We need the TRF and others like it – but we need major changes. And I feel confident enough to involve myself in it that we will be successful in turning things around and making a difference for the horses.
    I am signing off now and getting back to work but I appreciate any suggestions, constructive comments, etc as we go forward. Anyone can reach me at my practice or at [email protected]. Thank you everyone for your concerns about the horses – I promise they will receive the care they need and our undivided attention.

  • Gayle England

    I’m absolutely amazed that so many think it was the hired vet who released everything. Given the circumstances, it’s quite possible that the satellite farms were reaching out for help in final desperation. Just a thought.

  • bob bright

    Sue Finley, The reason the entire sport is in decline not just the TRF is the result of your kinds terminal denial. Everything and everybody is just wonderful, There is no problem so lets just sweep it all under the rug and go to lunch. Madam you and your kind are the problem, to include this Ray fellow.

  • Gayle England

    Patty Hogan
    Does your parting comment mean to all the bloggers that everything is under control at TRF???

  • Joe

    All charitable dollars raised by the industry should stay in the industry.

    Charitable fundraisers organized by horse racing should exclusively benefit the welfare and safety of its participants, including racing and breeding horses, in particular those who become unproductive and are at risk of participating in illegal, barbaric activities and being sent to slaughter. Numerous changes need to be done to improve equine welfare and safety, reduce the unwanted Thoroughbred problem and make sure that all horses are handled humanely and with dignity. All these changes would also improve the reputation of horse racing.

    Pray for the mass-produced Quarter horses that have no safety nets that I know of and belong to the largest pro-slaughter organization around.

  • clark

    Stop breeding so many horses. Any so called sport that slaughters its participants needs to be shut down immediately. Fools.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Stacey Huntington
    Who was your contact person at the TRF? Of the 700 horses you evaluated for them, how many evaluations did you give to that person or someone else at the TRF? Did the report that you filed with the sheriff’s department say that nearly all the horses needed urgent care which is what Drape’s article claims? What was the response of the sheriff’s department?

  • http://aol jan

    “Going forward” should start with the resignation of everyone who mismanaged the organization – starting with Diane

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Gayle England #179
    There was information in Drape’s article that came from Stacey Huntington’s reports. And there was information in the article that Stacey Huntington never provided to the TRF. Why don’t you ask Stacey Huntington how many evaluations and reports she gave to the TRF of the 700 horses that she evaluated for them. As far as I know, for some reason, she never provided evaluations for the majority of horses she inspected. The Times seems to have more (and, in some cases, different) information than she gave the TRF.
    I believe that Stacey Huntington did not provide the info directly to Tom Drape, but someone who had her reports did. It did not come from the satellite farms. And, I do not know why she has not provided the TRF with all of her reports.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Aunt Bea #177
    How dare you compare Dr. Hogan to Sarah Palin! After reading your posts with multiple aliases, it is apparent to me that you are the idiot who once served on the Board, took too many horses into the TRF and moved them to Oklahoma without keeping accurate records. Shame on you!!!!!!!!

  • John McCain

    #177 about 1 hour ago by Aunt Bea
    Geez, how come the more I consider the situation, Dr. Patty Hogan reminds me more and more of Sarah Palin?

    Aunt Bea-
    This has gone far enough with all these terrible things people are saying about Dr Hogan but your comment is just flat out ridiculous and wrong. Dr Hogan is Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay HOTTER then Sarah Palin. Get your facts straight bizatch

  • KTQ

    This is clearly a very emotional topic for everyone. For me personally, this blog has highlighted the following:

    1. The past 2 years have been very difficult on ALL non-profits. Having served on a few myself, monies have been very hard to come by, and even worse for animal causes as people make hard choices. It does not surprise me that numbers are down and that the TRF are struggling to keep up with the demand.

    2. Sadly, TRF issues seem to extend far beyond the past two years, and therefore they are in need of an external intervention to determine how best to move forward and survive.

    3. PLEASE!!! Do not use this as an excuse to stop donating or supporting rescue organizations. Now more than ever, they need you.

    4. The bigger problem is that too many owners are able to walk away from their responsibility. If that were not the case, TRF would not be where they are.

    5. To many problems that racing has not nor will not address that created this mess.

    6. Horses run far beyond their physical limitations, to the point they are not useful anymore and become unadoptable.

    7. We drug our horses to run. Drugs create a physical breakdown. Again, we are back to unadoptable/usable horses.

    8. We reward trainers and owners with drug violation records.

    9. We have not instituted a mandatory fee for registrations/purse monies to go towards an equine social security program.

    10. When problems surface, we have learned that it is best to bring public attention asap. (Ray, you did such an awesome job with LAT, I’m rather surprised that the TRF was not brought up sooner). With that said, we are where we are, and hopefully we face it head on and do our part.

    FYI, I provide donation support to rescue organizations and have rescued two personally….

  • Jocko Fatolla

    Mrs. Fecate is onto something here – “Aunt Bea” (who may also post under “Paulio” and other aliases) sounds suspiciously like a disgruntled, miserable, angry former TRF Board Member, Leslie Hubbell, who was in fact responsible for herd intake at TRF years ago. I am told that it was she who brought in literally hundreds of horses who were at risk – in one huge operation, placing them all in Oklahoma. She is said to have assured the Board that she would raise the necessary funds, but she failed totally. Worse, she is said to have refused to supply documentation of the horses, which may be why TRF is having difficulty accounting for the 16 horses in question. What say you, Aunt Bea? Does it give you satisfaction to take pot shots at a prominent veterinary surgeon who only recently offered her services to the TRF?

  • Julia Householder

    #159 Mrs. Fecate, I am not trying to answer a question for Dr. Huntington, but I want to tell you first had about this situation, and numerous situations with this organization over the last 7 years. It is dysfunctional, manipulative, egotistical, egocentric organization. Their largest single supporter is probably exhausted with half truths, and blatant lies from the executive committee. A sub-committee that did not share all with the board of directors. I personally can assure you there is great truth to the mismanagement, twisting of arms, etc. down right bullying with in this organization. I truly believe that Dr. Huntington was also a recipient of these practices, and in order to protect the integrity of her reports and the lives of these horses was possibly unable to fully disclose her findings to the TRF.
    TRF had neglected horses in 2009 that they left at a location and did not properly address the issues. In 2011 horses were once again found to be neglected at that same facility.
    Dr. Huntington has taken an oath to prevent the suffering, as a veterinarian to protect defenseless animals from inhumane treatment. She has done this in my opinion where TRF ignored situations again and again.
    I applaud her courage, and hope to someday thank her personally for her high moral standards. No matter who is employing her, she did what was best for the horses…………..as part of her veterinarian oath!

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    SOUNDS LIKE DRAPE NEEDED TO DUE A BIT MOE RESEARCH…YA THINK…ty…

  • http://Out2pasture.com Robin Hurst

    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

  • Aunt Bea

    I didn’t think that was such a negative comment but I understand people are a little sensitive here.
    Look, I don’t give a damn about you peoples mitigating circumstances, your lack of funding, your disgruntled former supporters, your past mismanagement, your internal bickering, and I can understand your professional embarassment when a news organization exposes your charities problems (purportedly).
    But the bottom line is still that starving horses shouldn’t be happening here, period, and not one of you defenders will say that, until Dr. Hogan signed off.

  • Julia Householder

    In my opinion Dr. Huntington only upheld her oath to practice veterinarian medicine with the highest of moral and ethical standards. That is in putting the animals first. As part of the oath a veterinarian takes it is to alleviate pain and suffering of animals. The horses under the care of a dysfunctional organization needed her to speak for them.. She has gone above and beyond as as PROFESSIONAL to assist the horses that TRF has neglected. Regardless of who employees her she took an oath as a veterinarian to uphold a moral obligation. She has done that and now she is attacked. We should be thanking her and taking her lead to help these horses. It is obvious that TRF will not……Many are still in the care of those who neglected them.

  • Aunt Bea

    The only thing that pisses you off is how the NYT got the information? Well, I can’t even comprehend that attitude.

  • Gail Vacca

    Dr. Hurst – thank you for taking time to speak to this issue. Even at
    the original $5 per day, I’m sure that you would have to have been supplementing this budget with your own personal funds.

    At $3/day it is impossible to properly care for a horse. Surely the folks at TRF knew this and yet they chose to remove horses from farms where they were well-cared for to send them elsewhere “on the cheap.” The old saying you get what you pay for certainly rings true here – incredible that the horses were made to suffer as a result of this irresponsible decision.

    Do you know what the current status is of the horses that were removed from your care? Praying that they are okay.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Julie Householder: 191
    I am more interested in the welfare of the horses than the politics of the TRF. I find it hard to believe that you don’t believe the TRF wants to protect animals from inhumane treatment. They have been struggling for the past couple of years from too little money and too many horses, but I truly believe that they have been trying their best to help the horses in their care. They needed and sought help from veterinarians to evaluate the horses and provide proper care. I don’t understand how withholding timely information from them is in the best interest of the horses.

  • Julia Householder

    Robin Hurst……….I can say you speak the truth. as I sent you horses that did not thrive in my care!! I also was notified like you, and I also was not paid. I was not made aware like others, that TRF had financial issues. The boasting of large donations in media press releases, and hiring of numerous staff that received their weekly or bi weekly paychecks while we were forced to damage our credit in order to continue the standard of care for the horses. We as moral and ethical people provided for the horses unlike the “cheap” farms that have now neglected them. And NEGLECT is what the horses suffered. Horses were so emaciated I could barley recognize after 4 MONTHS and 20 days.
    TRF CONTINUES TO COMMIT CRIMES AGAINST HORSES WHEN THE TRUTH SPEAKS IN THE PHOTOS!

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    WE NEED A LOT MORE HUMANS LIKE DR. HURST THAT REEL E DO CARE ABOUT THE WELFARE OF UN-WANTED RACE HORSES…ty…

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Dr. Robin Hurst,
    I applaud you for your dedication to helping the horses who have special needs. I have personally cared for hundreds of animals with special needs, and I believe that every animal deserves the best care possible — forever. As a result, I will probably end up on line at the soup kitchen while my animals thrive in “five star hotels”.

    Unfortunately, life is not perfect. The TRF has too many horses and not enough money. When a business starts to lose money, it must cut expenses. I believe this is what happened to the TRF, and as a result they had to reduce their day rates. As you are aware, there has been a financial crisis during the past few years, and many businesses and individuals have been tardy in the payment of their bills or gone bankrupt. The TRF has been trying to survive and do the best they can for the horses in their care. As a result, they reduced salaries, eliminated employees and cut expenses. Some people suggested that all the horses with special needs be euthanized, and other people suggested that all the horses that were not adoptable be euthanized so the TRF has enough money to pay a higher day rate and pay their bills on time. I don’t think either of these solutions is the right answer. I don’t have the right answer, but I’m trying to understand the problems and the options in order to help the organization and the horses. I would appreciate any constructive help.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    ONE MORE TIME…NOE WAY WE CAN CARE FOR ALL OF THE UN-WANTED RACE HORSES @ THIS TIME…DUE THE RITE THING FORE THEM…PLEASE…LIKE WE DO FORE THE UN-WANTED DOGS & CATS…ty…

  • Jocko Fatolla

    It is increasingly clear that the farms and the TRF have got to get on the same team, rather than hurling insults at each other. Together, they might be able to shake up the Jockey Club, the Breeder’s Cup, the rich owners who ignore their horses when they can’t run fast enough and the racetracks and casinos who are getting casino licenses by promising to host horse races.

    It is inconceivable that either the farms or the TRF want anything but good care for horses in their care. Wasting time bickering won’t help raise the day-rates to where they should be IF money were available.

    Maybe you angry farmers should think twice about further damaging the TRF, call a cease-fire and engage in talks with each other?

    The horses would undoubtedly benefit.

  • AJJ

    What happened to Larry Taylor? He was appointed as the new CEO only last summer as part of TRF’s restructuring. According to the numerous press releases at the time, he was to oversee the TRF’s multi-state operation.

  • clark

    We need a law requiring horses that participate in any sport, be it racing, rodeo, showing, or trail riding in government-owned parks, be licensed. A license fee for every horse could be put into a country-wide fund for the care of the horses. Some states have put bills forth for such licenses, and are stopped by those who are afraid that other livestock would also be affected. The cattle people need to stay out of the horse people’s business, and let them enact laws such as licensing to provide funds for rescues and proper care of America’s horses. And the NTRA needs to be disbanded for not taking a stand against horse slaughter. Those in the racing community who ignore the public views of slaughter are the ones who are wondering what happened to their so-called sport. Greed is at the core of all of these problems.

  • Jocko Fatolla

    I listened to the NTRA/TRF conference call and on that call, Ludt was asked that question. He answered that Taylor was let go recently for “purely financial” reasons. My spies, however, have hinted to me that the Mellon people forced him out.

  • ridetolive21

    you all truly disgust me with your lack of care and negligence for these horses. no horse can be properly fed,shod,and veted for 3.00$ a day! the horses in kentucky that where taken from a local satalite farm the heard had to be split up!!! the envirement the were in was the best possible place they could have been in they were living out there retirement and never had to worry about missing a meal or if somone was going to put blankets on them or feed the older ones more off to the side so they could keep there strength. bottom line the trf is an embarressment to the horse industry, these horses would be better off being put down than have to suffer anymore than they already have!

  • Joe

    #199 Julia and #205 Clark well said.

    #203 Is Jocko guilty?

    Numerous photos of TRF horses are posted in The Chronicle of the Horse forum.

  • Joe
  • trackman

    to #205 clark: great idea to license the horses once they are born and EVERY time they change hands with the money going to a retirement fund (T.C.A).

  • Lynn

    @Mrs. Fecate,
    In regards to your comment:
    ” I don’t have the right answer, but I’m trying to understand the problems and the options in order to help the organization and the horses. I would appreciate any constructive help.”

    *********************************
    A number of the volunteer organizations are working on ideas and an overall constructive plan for the industry.

    It is my sincere hope that the TRF can be a part of that solution, but I think a thorough house-cleaning may be in order that results in an organization under new management and a new attitude that “ALL” of us need to work together.

    And no more talk about “burying” the other organizations. Yes – some folks from TRF did their best to imitate Khrushchev when talking to the other groups. There is no room for that kind of attitude in charity work. I know it exists, but it is counter-productive as we now sadly see.

  • ratherrapid

    those “number of groups that are working on the problem” unfortunately for the horse are primarily anti-slaughter never owned a horse types unable to see the forest for the trees in terms of what’s truly beneficial for the ex-race horse. Many of those have posted here on the usual assumption that everyone agrees with them, whereas the truth probably is that maybe 10% in racing agree with them.

    As has been noted and repeatedly ignored horses are other than cats and dogs and for most of them the pitiful truth is that there’s insufficient money by all but the super rich to support them cradle to grave. Nor are there but a tiny number of suitable OTB homes.

    So if you’re “saving” a horse or “shuffling” a horse the best you’re doing is putting off the inevitable with the horse suffering through the process.

    The idea of purse set offs for retirement is ridiculous or “licensing” as someone suggested because it costs to much to support a single horse for 20 years–$200/month is required for anything close to humane care.

    The first step in really helping horses is to come to grips with reality. Then it will be possible to achieve the most humane disposal methods for unwanted animals instead of having them rot away in 10×10 stalls for 15 years on a couple of flakes of hay a day or trying to survive on weeds on somebody’s 60 acres.

  • Lynn

    @ratherrapid – I stated in earlier posts about the fact that racehorses are given substances that render their meat unfit for human consumption. That is not my opinion, that is the directive from the FDA regarding those substances.

    I think it is extremely unethical to promote slaughter as an option when the meat is potential harmful to people.

    What DOES need to occur is a less fearful approach to euthanasia. There are horses at the track that suffer injuries that, while not immediately life threatening, result in a horse that will be painfully crippled for the rest of his or her life. An on-the-track euthanasia program would be a much better alternative for owners as opposed to handing the lead rope to the dealer whose on his way to deliver another full load to the auction.

  • Gayle England
  • Mary

    Gail, you beat me to it. This one made me cry. again.

  • Joe

    Dr. Patty Hogan:

    “Just to clarify – there is no dispute whatsoever that the condition of these horses is totally unacceptable. No question.”

    Humane euthanasia should be part of the solution and used with caution as the lesser of two evils, as long as funds are lacking to save, repair, rehab, retrain and place all dumped Thoroughbreds.

  • ratherrapid

    #213 for reasons below avoid interpret of my posts as impugn legit rescues that take care of horses(instead of shuffling them–this except those legits as Canter. some transition orgs are necessary!). Nor do I advocate sale as meat, although that is probably one alternative. bute and most race horse drugs leave the system quickly. the quality of meat issue is a sideshow.

    nor do i agree with advocating euthanasia as a public policy for horse racing. animal death camps and assassinations are hardly going aid the sport and probably also the horse. here is what i personally advocate:

    1. The TRF model–support charities that actually care for horses. Lessons being learned, obviously.
    2. Concentrate Horse Racing Organizational efforts on charities that promote care of living animals including avoidance of abuse and neglect for former race horses. That is what we ought to be doing full force and using this as a defense against those that say we fail to take care of horses. The issue is “horse care” instead of “anti-slaughter”.
    3. Promote the idea that most ex-racers can be taken care of without too much cost post racing by their owners. Many owner have a thought process–racing over/move the horse to OTB. Since we are essentially without OTB, that thought process needs to change.
    4. End those on track end of meet sales.
    5. Most important of all–restore the disposal methods for unwanted animals/quit interfering in owner life-death decisions/figure out humane slaughter–there are several/and transport. Those sales barns were there for a reason.

  • Lorie Hull Elverd

    Monday, March 21, 2011 at 5:02am

    Is It You Or Is It Me.

    Who is to blame? TRF? Paul Mellon’s Trustees? Joe or Ray? Breeders or owners? There are two sides, or more, always. If one argues against another his specifics need be revealed, and knowledge of that which has come to pass before him, explored.

    This whole thing sounds like the chicken or the egg story, to me. Did the trustees stop paying TRF first and then the horses suffered, or did TRF stop paying the caretakers first and then the horses suffered? Did we breed out our ass first, and then need TRF? Did we abolish slaughter, and then have no way to feed the countless and damaged living? Did we think slaughter was inhumane, and leaving a horse to know hunger, and disease, not? Can humane slaughter be regulated, enforced. How do you kill humanely.

    Maybe, all this controversy goes all the way back to the breeders. Maybe, there should be a license issued to allow a person to breed, where a test be taken to see who knows their pedigrees, crosses, conformation, and how a horse’s disposition plays into it. Disposition, is of first importance in my textbook. Maybe trainers, too, need to be tested on disposition so they don’t push a horse to uselessness. On conformation, plenty of crooked horses can and will, run their hearts out and not break down. Some of our most beloved and foundation mares and sires of years gone by, were the good ole sturdy hard knockers. I place conformation second in importance. As far as bloodlines go, horses of all pedigrees have their place, as do their trainers, and owners, riders, and race tracks.

    I question, how to breed for soundness when all too many a horse has spent their youth stapled and wired to perfection. Are they not going to still produce their own genetic make up, for the unsuspecting buyer? We wouldn’t need TRF’s or slaughter houses if so many were not bred strictly for resale with no consequences for those who alter the “goods”. Once the “sold” sign flashes on the board they are free and clear for anything that may come to be… discarded.

    TRF can’t feed all the dumped horses. If we do not come up with a way to raise money per competitor in the beginning of their career how can we expect a pleasant out-come in the end. Could such a thing even cover the bill. Someone will have to decide how many get to live, and which ones. Ugly proposition.

    If you don’t like the choices, send money. If you don’t think your money is going where it should, get out of your cotton pickin’ blue-blooded houses and shovel some crap. Hold-your-horses for the farrier and vet, lead ‘em from barn to paddock, and back again, day in and day out, rain or shine. Take some time to let each horse know that you are in their presence for a brief moment. How many people really know what that means, or how to get this done?

    The racing industry feeds trillions of people, (yes, I know what that looks like, but do the taxpaying voters, know) and there are industries within industries within this game. Those who breed, train, and race, etc. employ so many. Those who write about the good and the bad, better it. Those who write the “story” behind an individual and its people, touch hearts of the newbie’s and enthralls the rest of us. And those who think up ways, or promotions to bring anyone to the tracks across the globe, raise our purses and make it plausible for all that love this industry, to survive it, especially the horse.

    We are all… all of us in this industry… “about the horse”. When I see a comment written, in response to racing, to stop all the “stories” about our racehorses, “the hype”, that they think “it should all be about the horse”… all I can say is, really? And this isn’t? And do you really not know that the horse gets off on all that attention, and sometimes applause? Is it really beyond your scope of understanding, that you do not know that all creatures prosper with purpose. If all you see is cruelty then you are on your soapbox for the sake of it. I have one question for those such as this: have you hugged a horse today? Better had before you bleed to death… that’s right, let go of that tree…

    Trillions would not have work, if the race horse were no more. Few love their work more than those whose lives breathe this in everyday. We are the keepers of this gift. It is a well protected gift. Horsepeople are a passionate, possessive, outspoken, sort, and can be self-correcting… Perfect example here within all these comments, above and before mine. It’s up to you, and me.

  • Lorie Hull Elverd

    Monday, March 21, 2011 at 5:02am
    Is It You Or Is It Me. Who is to blame? TRF? Paul Mellon’s Trustees? Joe or Ray? Breeders or owners? There are two sides, or more, always. If one argues against another his specifics need be revealed, and knowledge of that which has come to pass before him, explored.

    This whole thing sounds like the chicken or the egg story, to me. Did the trustees stop paying TRF first and then the horses suffered, or did TRF stop paying the caretakers first and then the horses suffered? Did we breed selfishly first, and then need TRF? Did we abolish slaughter, and then have no way to feed the countless and damaged living? Did we think slaughter was inhumane, and leaving a horse to know pain, hunger, and disease, not? Can humane slaughter be regulated, enforced. How do you kill humanely.

    Maybe, all this controversy goes all the way back to the breeder. Maybe, there should be a license issued to allow a person to breed, where a test be taken to see who knows their pedigrees, crosses, conformation, and how a horse’s disposition plays into it. Disposition, is of first importance in my textbook. Maybe trainers, too, need to be tested on disposition so they don’t push a horse to uselessness. On conformation, plenty of crooked horses can and will, run their hearts out and not break down. Some of our most beloved and foundation mares and sires of years gone by, were the good ole sturdy hard knockers. I place conformation second in importance. As far as bloodlines go, horses of all pedigrees have their place, as do their trainers, and owners, riders, and race tracks.

    I question, how to breed for soundness when all too many a horse has spent their youth stapled and wired to perfection. Are they not going to still produce their own genetic make up, for the unsuspecting buyer? We wouldn’t need TRF’s or slaughter houses if so many were not bred strictly for resale with no consequences for those who alter the “goods”. Once the “sold” sign flashes on the board they are free and clear for anything that may come to be… discarded.

    TRF can’t feed all the dumped horses. If we do not come up with a way to raise money per competitor in the beginning of their career how can we expect a pleasant out-come in the end. Could such a thing even cover the bill. Someone will have to decide how many get to live, and which ones. Ugly proposition.

    If you don’t like the choices, send money. If you don’t think your money is going where it should, get up out of your precious life and shovel some horse-by-products. Hold-your-horses for the farrier and vet, lead ‘em from barn to paddock, and back again, day in and day out, rain or shine. Take some time to let each horse know that you are in their presence for a brief moment. How many people really know what that means, or how to get this done?

    The racing industry feeds trillions of people. Those who breed, train, and race, etc. employ so many. Those who write about the good and the bad, better it. Those who write the “story” behind an individual and its people, touch hearts of the newbie’s and enthralls the rest of us. And those who think up ways, or promotions to bring anyone to the tracks across the globe, raise our purses and make it plausible for all that love this industry, to survive it, especially the horse.

    We are all… all of us in this industry… “about the horse”. When I see a comment written to stop all the “stories” about our racehorses, “the hype”, that they think “it should all be about the horse”… all I can say is, really? And this isn’t? And do you really not know that the horse gets off on all that attention, and sometimes applause? Is it really beyond your scope of understanding, that you do not know that all creatures prosper with purpose. If all you see is cruelty then you are on your soapbox for the sake of it. I have one question for persons such as this: have you hugged a horse today? Better had before you bleed to death… that’s right, let go of that tree…

    Trillions would not have work if the racehorse were no more. Few love their work more than those whose lives breathe this in, everyday. We are the keepers of this gift. It is a well protected gift. Horsepeople are a passionate, possessive, outspoken, sort, and can be self-correcting… Perfect example here within all these comments, above and before mine. It’s up to you and me.

  • Julia Householder

    198 Mrs. Fecate,
    tell me on March 2,8, or 9 two horses were euthanized at the KY Facility, one died, fell hit his head and just died………..Hum…. Why Mrs. Fecate do the balance of the 34 original horses remain at that location, and charges have not been filed against the provider of care??? If you can answer this question, then you may have solved the problem!!!

  • Julia Householder

    Dr. Hogan then why have you not done this for the horses that are currently suffering in KY? Why did horses shipped from me on 10-14-10 have to be euthanized in 4 months and 20 days?
    Before you answer, you may want to know, GOLD STAR, foal of 1998. Western Squire foal of 1997, and Intriguing Angle foal of 1995. All of these horses received dental care in April of 2010. A power float by Dr. Tom Daughtery.
    So how did this happen again????

  • Azure
  • John McCain

    Dr Hogan is and always will be WINNING… She also has tiger DNA

  • Lynn

    @ratherrapid – Re: Your comments:
    “nor do i agree with advocating euthanasia as a public policy for horse racing. animal death camps and assassinations are hardly going aid the sport and probably also the horse.”
    **************************************************
    Wait – you DON’T advocate humane euthanasia but you DO advocate sending the horse to slaughter? And how, exactly, does that improve the image for racing?

    Actually, there are a few initiatives right now that quietly take some of the racetrack “rejects” and have them humanely euthanized. It’s the 800 elephant sitting in the room, and racing needs to just grow a set and own up to it. Humane euthanasia is necessary for horses that become injured or infirmed from racing. I simply do not understand why euthanasia is such a taboo in racing circles, but slaughter is okay?

    And as far as the issue of Bute in the system, if it disappears from the body completely, why does the FDA ban its use in beef cattle and indicate it can only be used in horses “not intended for human consumption.” (Their words, not mine.) Why are vets and cattle ranchers fined if trace elements of bute show up in carcasses selected for inspection?

    There is definitely a need for transition organizations for TB’s to become OTTB’s. New Vocations and CANTER do a good job with that. There is also a need for retirement for SOME TB’s – say the old geldings who manage to knock out 50, 60, 80, 100+ starts and earn a piece of the purse almost every time out. Sadly, many of those old guys end up working for almost broke owners at the “cheaper” tracks or fair circuits, and those owners do not have the where with all to retire every old hard knocking campaigner that has descended down the ranks to them. But prior owners feel the horse is no longer “their” problem.

    There is no one single solution, and – as Ray stated – no easy answer.

    But the harping I see in this thread as to who “leaked” what to whom and when sounds very Junior High, and I think that may be an insult to Junior High students. Or – it feels like the excuses we heard for Wall Street when the entire financial system was almost wiped out over “toxic” assets and the huge default swaps (aka gambling) that took place. Right now, TRF is looking a lot more like AIG than it is a responsible charitable organization.

  • Lynn

    Here are the warning letters sent out by FDA over the use of Phenylbutazone in livestock.

    And here is the dirty little loophole – the FDA does NOT test horse carcases for Phenylbutazone (even when horses were slaughtered in the U.S.) because the FDA does not consider horses to be food animals.

    The slaughter plants aren’t testing for them either. So the unsuspecting consumer who purchases horsemeat for consumption by themselves and their families has no protection against the unethical peddling of contaminated flesh. And yet we get upset when manufacturers in China put melamine in pet food, baby formula and toothpaste.

  • Lynn

    The link didn’t show up – so trying again – FDA warning letters on Phenylbutazone use in livestock/slaughter animals.

    http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/warningletters/wlSearchResult.cfm?qryStr=Phenylbutazone&Search=Search

  • Kelly

    “I simply do not understand why euthanasia is such a taboo in racing circles, but slaughter is okay?”
    *****************************

    My guess… because “euthanasia” means “killing” and is a PR nightmare for racing (or at least, many people think it is). Shipping horses off to slaughter, on the other hand, is mostly under the table, and because it isn’t endorsed by anyone in the racing industry (think of all those “no kill buyer” policies that mean horses now ship “direct to kill” instead of through sales), it gives the racing industry something to point to and say, “see? we are against this and doing something about it! Look at our anti-slaughter track policies!” With slaughter – it’s never about an industry wide policy, but about a few shady or bad actors.

    Actively endorsing euthanasia policies is also a tacit acknowledgement that racing ruins horses, something no one in the industry wants to promote. BY saying “many horses are so damaged by this sport they have to be put down” it would be admitting the sport is cruel and too dangerous for the animals that are the center of it. And I think that makes many very uncomfortable. More uncomfortable than slaughter, which they can just say is a few “bad apples” who don’t care about their horses, or something, rather than an industry wide “policy” to kill animals.

    Solely my opinion.

    In this specific case… I hope more facts come to light, but also that the horses who are under the care of the TRF as of today are well cared for going forward. If there are not funds coming in to match the need – tough decisions like saying “no” to more horses, or re-examining the euthanasia policy (or working harder to rehome) will have to be made. And of course, re-examining the current business model.

    I would be curious to know how many horses were taken in by the TRF in the years between 2008-2011, while they were in such financial distress (vs. those who died or found new homes).

  • Lynn

    @Kelly – I completely understand what you are saying, and it is what I have suspected as well. Pontius Pilate would be proud.

  • clark

    Lynn #213: The reason that slaughter is chosen over euthanasia is simply GREED. There is no such thing as humane slaughter. Nick Zito once asked people to listen to the word–slaughter–does it sound like a humane option? Euthanasia costs money. Slaughter puts a few dollars back into the pockets of greedy non-caring people. The majority of Americans don’t want slaughter; there is no market for horsemeat in this country, and never will be. This argument won’t be resolved until the racing industry is gone–both thoroughbred AND quarterhorse. The AQHA has alot of blood on it’s hands too.

  • luke

    If there is a “best” scenario to deal with our great equine athletes post racing, I hope it surfaces and is implemented. All the positive ideas about caring for “retired” race horses I’ve read on this blog sound reasonable, but somebody needs to organize them in such a way that they are supported both by the industry Pu-Bahs and acceptable to the lawmakers that can put some teeth into our horse production and racing regulations. It seems the TRF has failed its mission, but the financial wealth of breeders and owners in this sport is tremendous, so I’m hoping to hear from those that can really make a difference, soon. Whatever the consequences may be to the aspiring low cost breeder or race horse owner thinking they can make a buck, but because they are forced to pay for end of racing career care , so be it. Overbreeding and running horses into the ground may stop. Think of the horse and its future first, then decide what you are able to do. The game will naturally shrink for the better of the horses and of those that can not afford to pay their bills. Ask around amongst your industry peers to get a real grip on how many folks are going broke, or waiting to win a race, or hit the lottery in order to pay their racing and breeding bills. Solutions please come forward, just as the wizard asked of Dorothy and pals to do so in the land of Oz.

  • Aunt Bea

    Sorry Mrs. Fecate, you busted me. Besides the crimes you have accused me of, I also am guilty of voting for Che Guevara for Prasident in 1972. And I once stole a bubblegum cigar from a Woolworth’s in Chicago.

  • Aunt Bea

    My Mom was really pissed about that, because I was wearing my CubScout uniform that day, and I honestly can’t blame her, I’m embarassed about the episode to this day!

  • Joe

    I didn’t read all the answers to Lynn, sorry if i am repeating what others have already written.

    Lynn, if more horses were euthanized in some organized fashion, on or near tracks and those that are not fatally wounded were euthanized due to lack of compassion and financial support by the industry, it would be hard not to count them as fatalities.

    Right now the official fatality count is only the tip of the iceberg. If all horses who die off-track following season or career ending injuries were counted, the figures would be so shocking and public outrage so deafening that horse racing would be shut down immediately.

    When unwanted (always wanted by match-racers, Mexican rodeos and killers) horses vanish through the track’ back door, no questions asked, these horses are not tracked and deaths unaccounted for. They are simply and conveniently gone and racing washes its hands off them.

    When some of those horses are spotted and identified at feedlots and kill-auctions by brave rescuers, owners and trainers pretend to be shocked that their horses did not go to a “good home”, injuries and all. A few offer some help or pay their bail and remove them from the slaughter pipeline.

    The stealth on-track killer network and trade is considered by morally bankrupt characters in horse racing as an expedient industry-wide purge and NIMBY solution to avoid facing the truth, answer some tough questions, drastic reforms, spending money on repairing, retraining and retiring horses, euthanizing others whose deaths would aggravate the official kill-rate and might cause loss of control and force major reforms.

    Treating horses humanely would be an excellent investment but horse racing fails to realize that.

    Meanwhile, hypocrites and cowards continue to hire expensive marketing firms despite the solutions being obvious and use secrecy and fairytales made for the Media to hide the ugly truth.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Julia Householder,
    You seem to have more information than I do. I did not know that Gold Star died, as you claim — I was told that he was doing better with alfalfa cubes. I never heard about Intriguing Angle, and while I now know that Western Squire had to be euthanized, I have not yet received information from the vet as to the reasons why. I have been told that the farm manager called the TRF quite a while ago to tell them that he was having difficulty maintaining the condition of some of the horses, and a vet was called in to help him (this was done before Stacey Huntington did her evaluation). I was also told that when the TRF heard about the problem, they visited the farm and provided some better quality hay. I never heard that there was any intentional neglect or abuse so why should criminal charges be filed?

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Julia Householder,
    You seem to have much more information than I do. I did not know that Gold Star died, as you claim — I thought he was doing better, being fed alfalfa cubes. I did hear that Western Squire died, but I have not yet heard about the vet report and the reasons why. I never heard anything about Intriguing Angle. I was told that the farm manager called the TRF quite a while ago to inform them that he was having trouble maintaining the condition of some of the horses. A veterinarian was called in to help (before Dr. Huntington ever went to the farm to evaluate the horses), an employee of the TRF went to the farm, and the TRF sent better quality hay to help the horses. I never heard that there was any neglect or abuse, therefore, criminal charges were not filed.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    You seem to have much more information than I do. I did not know that Gold Star died, as you claim — I thought he was doing better, being fed alfalfa cubes. I did hear that Western Squire died, but I have not yet heard about the vet report and the reasons why. I never heard anything about Intriguing Angle. I was told that the farm manager called the TRF quite a while ago to inform them that he was having trouble maintaining the condition of some of the horses. A veterinarian was called in to help (before Dr. Huntington ever went to the farm to evaluate the horses), an employee of the TRF went to the farm, and the TRF sent better quality hay to help the horses. I never heard that there was any neglect or abuse, therefore, c riminal charges were not filed.

  • Lynn

    @Joe #233
    Your post is sadly a true and sobering commentary about the mindset of many in racing.

    It is heart wrenching to look into the kind eyes of a Thoroughbred on the backside whose racing days are over and know the painful betrayal that will likely happen to him or her and not be able to do anything about it. While Pontius Pilate might be proud, Judas could probably understand.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    LIKE “ROCK & ROLL”…”THE HORSE” & “THE GAME” WILL NEVER DIE!!!…LONG LIVE THE KING BABY!!!…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    ps…”TREAT THE ANIMALS FAIR”…CAPTAIN BEEFHEART…ty…

  • Mary Johnson

    It seems that all is quiet at the TRF which is usually the case when an organization gets caught with their “pants down”. An organization’s culture starts at the top, whether that organization is for profit or non-profit. The TRF needs to “clean house” starting at the top. I have been involved with horses for over 50 years, and currently own six, two of which are OTTB’s. When I heard that the TRF was paying some foster farms $3 a day per horse, I thought that I was going to lose it! There is NO WAY that anyone can adequately care for a TB on $3 a day. Did Patty Hogan know about this arrangement? I doubt if she will respond because she is too busy performing “damage control”. Ray Paulick is now on Facebook asking for donations for hay for the TRF horses. I asked Ray to dig deep into his bank account and cough up some money to help these horses under his jurisdiction. I also found the fact that the vet was fired when she examined these poor horses to be reprehensible, but I’m sure it is business as usual at the TRF. By the way, the vet shouldn’t have been fired but the “hot shots” at the TRF needed to be gone yesterday!

  • M-D

    Well said, Ms. Johnson!

  • amfcf

    @Dr. Hogan: You repeatedly write your goal is to make OTTBs available for their ‘second career’. Are you serious? How many of these OTTBs have anything left for a 2nd career? Most of these OTTBs are ready for 27 years as a pasture pet. I know, I have one, I adopted him from the TRF years ago and have witnessed their modus operando for many years and it’s not impressive.

    My family is committed to taking care of this horse every month (which the TRF expects a farm to do for $3 per day!! simply laughable, but it’s not funny) for the rest of his life until the time comes to euthanize him. Do we really have $150 for him to stand there and eat grass? No, but it’s the respect he deserves as the glorious creature he is and b/c I respect the trainer’s decision years ago to give him to the TRF rather than the killer when his days were up at River Downs. I support the industry, I bet, and I’ll do my part. Too bad the TRF couldn’t do theirs…and they didn’t, despite what you and Ray Paulick seem to realize. They exist to support their payroll first and foremost, horses a distant second.

  • ridetolive21

    These horses do not deserve the treatment that they have been receiving from the TRF or the farms where they are located at. some people say that Euthanization is animal cruelty when the animal has the strength to keep living. But in the case of the horses from Kentucky. I would have rather seen them put down instead of suffering through the long cold winter with out care. because at least then they wouldn’t have been suffering.

  • Dawn Mancina

    Ray – I really think you and others should be advocating and INSISTING that the NTRA start taking care of their own … the horses. It is time for SOMEONE to enlist a comprehensive national aftercare program and the logical group to do this is the NTRA. The owners and breeders need to be made accountable for the animals that they breed, race and profit off of. Having an aftercare program, sustained by mandatory fees paid by breeders and owners would greatly elminate much of the current need for rescue organizations (like the TRF) to have to deal with the problem of what to do with these animals when their racing days are over. They should AUTOMATICALLY have a care plan in place for them!
    Individuals like me, who had no part in the breeding, raising, racing and collecting of winnings should NOT be the ones responsible for cleaning up the mess! I myself have rescued and placed many horses from the track who had NOWHERE to go and NOONE to provide for them when their careers ended. I have two OTTBs of my own now. I personally cannot fund anymore rescues!

  • http://aol jan

    TRF has really clamed up the past couple days – don’t they have anything else to say?

  • ratherrapid

    #244–your concern appreciated. with someone else’s money, though, instead of yours, right? mean to add reality to ur post instead of being unkind. there are so many misperceptions, unfortunately

    #213 Lynn–to me the difference between euthanasia and slaughter–the first is a direct act, the second a 3rd party act. nobody wants to kill an animal. Nor do I believe in any way should horse racing be associated with that idea.
    the modus operendi, as u well know, for the ex race horse is–shuffle it along as a “riding” horse. 3 months later the lady discovers she’s afraid to get on, shuffled again. Shuffled until the horse gets to a person without sentimental attachment. then, its a trip to mexico or outright abuse/neglect. the (humane) slaughter house serves as the intervenor and preventor of abuse/neglect or the Mexico trip. Even were I to take a horse directly to the sales barn, still a chance it may be saved. An “out” from abuse and very necessary imho. there’s a lot of folks out there with horses that are far less sentimental than what you see posted here.

  • Dawn Mancina

    #246 …. YES WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY! Those who SHOULD take responsibility for their animals!!! Why should I (and others like me) have to keep footing the bill to clean up their messes while they still breed and sell and race and profit and toss out their mealtickets like they are yesterday’s trash … just to make room for more? The breeders and owners SHOULD be the ones paying (whether it be for placement of their animals, or humane euthanasia … not a trip to slaughter). And the NTRA should be MANDATING that they do – or those that don’t want to participate can’t participate in racing either.

  • M-D

    Yes, Dawn Mancina, you are absolutely JUSTIFIED in demanding that the thoroughbred breeding & racing industry TAKE RESPONSIBILITY–cradle to grave, for EVERY SINGLE HORSE the industry proximately causes to be born for “use” in the thoroughbred breeding & racing industry/industries.

    As I note elsewhere on The Paulick Report:

    In the end,as I have observed previously, we need to dramatically reduce the number of thoroughbreds–& quarter horses (the American Quarter Horse Association regularly boasts that it registers approximately 230,000 quarter horse foals every year–& I cannot tell you how many thoroughbreds & quarter horses I see at New Holland & other slaughter auctions), that we breed in the United States.

    And furthermore, in my opinion as one of many people who is sick & tired of cleaning up the mess created by the thoroughbred breeding & racing industry, we need LAWS mandating care-giving & financial responsibility (from birth to death) for EVERY thoroughbred conceived & foaled in America.

    In the end, this is a question of morality.

  • Julia Householder

    Mrs. Fecate,
    First let me apologize I do not and did not have confirmation about GOLD STAR. Yes, I have learned that he may be alive. Unfortunately, I have seen a photo of him taken on March 2. He is emaciated beyond recognizability to how he looked on 10-14-10. I have confirmed that Intriguing Angle and Western Squire are deceased. Intriguing Angle from head trauma, and Western Squire from euthanasia.
    My point in these post is that TRF did not and does not put these horses first. They should have been honest and up front about their finances, instead of moving horses from loving and caring “HORSEMEN AND WOMEN” that were highly skilled in care and management. All of the people from the board of directors to the little hidden executive committee, hid financial issues, hired more staff, spend, spend and spend on anything except the horses.
    In January of 2009, I was running low on hay after previous falls drought. I had only enough hay to feed through January 2, 2009. Did TRF pay me or provide me with a load of hay???? No they did not, they also knew I would not let these horses go hungry. I paid sometimes $8.00 per bale for hay to feed them. My point no matter what TRF did I fed the horses. TRF has sent horses to places were they are not loved, not cared for and they are malnourished. The horses did not deserve this and TRF says it does not exist, IT DOES.

  • Julia Householder

    People should have enough self confidence to use their real name……….I do not fear TRF . This is about honesty and integrity, something vastly lacking in TRF. I totally agree with many comments here, one thing it does not do is make TRF come clean and confess they mismanaged, misinformed, misused funding, etc. Down right denied there was and is a problem.
    All of this blogging does not get the horses the help they are entitled to. I do hope it makes the TRF act responsibly in taking action to get these horses moved to where they will receive the care they need. I don’t see that happening, but it is my hope! It still does not change my opinion that TRF should be punished for their
    HORRIFIC CRIMES AGAINST THESE HORSES!!!!

  • Joe

    Dawn, M-D very well said.

    Julia, this is so sad. Do you know what caused Intriguing Angle’s lethal head trauma and Western Squire’s euthanasia?

  • prudery

    I would suggest the Hudgins family of 4h farm in Okmulgee OK be looked at with interest .
    The Bar 4H Cattle Company owned by the same Alan Hudgins may be why horses were treated like cattle there-left out on vast acreage, presumably unseparated for feeding .
    The same Janice and Alan that wanted 20,000 and immunity from neglect before they opened their gates to a vet.
    The same while horse disappeared and ” some died ” were out barrel racing and financaially supported the sport and horses they cared about .
    That they had time and money for .
    There is more, but all attempts to post this here have failed so far–let’s see Ray ..
    A little checking on my part.

  • prudery

    I would like to add that the 4Bar H Cattle Company is in Beggs OK and may be a company rather than a property, but the names remain similar and Alan Hudgins is the same . Beggs is very close to Okmulgee and 4,00 acres will touch other towns in rural environs .
    Janice Hudgins is quite the barrel racer, and it IS a common name–if this is an error, apologies . She is listed as from Depew which is not right next door to the above towns, however.

    It remains that Janice and Alan Hudgins were the caretakers, with the possibility that there MAY be others sharing that name but I suspect not until further notice .
    The damage to the horses is indisputable though .

  • ratherrapid

    #248 the problem with your argument that has caused so much harm to so many horses–and i feel pretty sure that though several of the posters would not know what that means, but I am also sure that you do– is that “taking responsibility” means different things to different people. you have of course self righteously taken slaughter out of the equation. good for you and your point of view. you might at least acknowledge that most people that own horses see right through this simplistic blather, and disagree with you, including most vets.

  • prudery

    Yes Ratherapid, responsibility is subjective, but MOST owners and vets do NOT consider slaughter to be responsible.

    It is however, more lucrative to the owner to slaughter than to pay for humane euthansia and some will unctuously justify its practicality and ” benefit ” to the horse .

  • ratherrapid

    #255–txs for posting specific details. i always feel compelled to argue because no one else articulates the race horse side of the slaughter issue.
    what the anti-slaughter group as evidenced by #248 knows very well is that for horse racing “owner responsbility” ends when the horse is transferred or sold. thus when this group wants horse racing to “pay” and get involved, what’s lost in that is that most of these horses no longer belong to the people that raced them. this being the case, you then get to the issue of “anti-slaughter” the result of which in practice has sent tens of thousands on those long trips to mexico in the slaughter trucks, and creates abuse situations all over the country because there are no more sale barns.

  • Mrs. Fecate

    Julie Householder
    The TRF should have told you that they were in a financial crisis when they asked you to reduce your day rate — I believe they would have gone bankrupt if they didn’t get their costs in line. The country was in the midst of a financial crisis, and donations were down. In order for the TRF to balance their budget, they had to reduce the number of horses in their care or reduce their expenses. The only way to reduce the number of horses was to euthanize them, which they did not want to do. As a result, they had to reduce their expenses and day rate per horse.
    I agree that $3.00 per day is too little, however, unless donations are made to cover higher day rates, this cannot happen. (The only reason that the TRF hired a few additional people was because a donation was made specifically to cover those salaries. Other salaries were cut, and no one was spending money foolishly.)
    When people make donations, they can specify what that money should be used for. If you would like to head a fundraising effort where the money will be used only to increase the day rate, I will support you and help you. When the TRF got started, fundraising meetings were held in people’s homes with coffee and refreshments. Perhaps you can get a number of people to do this again.
    Please believe that everyone that works for the TRF, and everyone who donates their time, wants loving and caring people who are highly skilled to take care of their horses. Unfortunately, choices are limited by financial considerations. All of the horses will suffer terribly if the TRF goes bankrupt.

  • Equine Vet

    ratherrapid,

    Do not even PRETEND to speak for the veterinary profession. The issue of invoking slaughter to deal with horse overpopulation is complicated and very controversial. BTW are you a licensed veterinarian?

  • http://www.racefund.org R.A.C.E. Fund

    The need for a national thoroughbred retirement and rehabilitation program that involves a diverse board and set policies and guidelines that everyone must follow that will fund, protect and monitor retired horses is needed now more than ever.

    The funding is within the industry; it is just that the industry does not view racehorse retirement as a priority and that mindset must change. Everyone involved with thoroughbreds should and must contribute to ensure the well being of the horses when they can no longer race.

    First it must start with the breeders for they are choosing to bring baby foals in to this world. The thoroughbred racing industry rewards owners and breeders for breeding horses by giving breeders awards and bonuses, but how may breeders associations have discussed a mandatory retirement/rehabilitation or euthanasia fee be paid to the association and placed in a special retirement fund for each baby foal that is born each and every year. Based on the Jockey Club Checkoff Program figures, breeders donated approximately $52,000 in 2009 by registering 32,606 horses. In 2010, approximately $43,000 was donated by breeders when 30,669 horses were registered. Folks, when I do the math, it comes out to $1.59 per foal for 2009 and $1.40 per foal in 2010. Is this the best the racing industry can do for the very lives they are bringing in to the world and people are making a living by? These figures are pathetic. A much higher and mandatory fee must be implemented and paid by breeders.

    Secondly, funding for racehorse retirement must come from a percentage of the purse money, whether that be a percentage from the gross annual purse structure at every racetrack, or at least a $10.00 mandatory per start and a set percentage each year from all HBPA affiliates in conjunction with a substantial matched amount from racetrack management/owners plus a mandatory fee taken out from jockeys for every horse they ride.

    Funding must be substantial and perpetual on an annual basis. The funding from a mandatory breeders fee and either a percentage of the purse money or mandatory per start fee could be used to fund the retirement and rehabilitation programs annually and the money from racetrack management and jockeys could be used to start an endowment to generate funds for horses that need long retirement and care and to create new accredited sanctuaries or expand existing facilities so there will be funds for long term horses.

    Voluntary funding does not work. I believe the Jockey Club Checkoff Program breeders’ contributions proves that. Racehorse retirement and rehabilitation is an ongoing process and needs ongoing substantial funding. We all owe it to the horses to make sure they are safe and are being taken care of when their racing careers have ended. No matter how much fundraising the TRF does, or the R.A.C.E. Fund, Exceller Fund, CANTER, ReRun, ILEHC, Equine Angels or any organization, it is not enough to cover the expenses of racehorse retirement and why shouldn’t the industry support the very creature that they make their living by.

    There must be lifetime monitoring of horses when they are retired and or adopted out. Our organization monitors horses every 6 months but we will be changing that to every 4 months. It is a lot of work but it is extremely important and vital for any horse’s welfare.

    Monitoring of all rescues facilities, sanctuaries, satellite and private farms is an absolute priority and must be done on a consistent basis. A national coalition of accredited, qualified and reputable rescues and facilities must be established and uniformed guidelines and rules followed to ensure every facility in each state and or chapter/region is trustworthy and doing right by the horses.

    There are many good organizations out there like ours that care deeply for the horses and their safety and well being. Racehorse retirement and rehabilitation, perpetual funding and having and creating safe and well run retirement facilities is doable now and in the future but it is going to take a lot of work and dedication from all entities involved in racing to make it work and we must all work together toward a common goal for the horses and the betterment of racing.

    There is always going to be three kinds of horses when their racing careers have ended, those sound enough to be rehabilitated for a second career and adopted, those that are healthy enough and pasture sound to live a comfortable life as a companion horse or long term retiree and lastly horses that have catastrophic injuries or in chronic pain and suffering that humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian is the most compassionate and humane thing that can be done for the horse and we as an industry must provide for all of them. Horses didn’t make themselves sore and lame and broken down, people did that and people should take care of them.

    TRF has helped many horses over the years and have done many good things but the current condition of many horses at satellite farms is absolutely unacceptable and unconscionable and never should have happened or ever happen again, it remains to be seen what the end result for TRF and its current leaders are. However, please do not let it discourage you to the point where you do not believe that horses can be taken care of properly or that there are not any good organizations out there because there are.

    The R.A.C.E. Fund organization has always advocated for a percentage of the purse money for racehorse retirement and rehabilitation and to work with like minded organizations and individuals that have the best interest of the horses at the forefront. The R.A.C.E. Fund has contacted the Jockey Club, NTRA, National HBPA and Breeders Cup in the past and they have yet to step up to the plate for the horses on the level that is needed. It is time for unity and working together to devise the best programs and solutions for the horses. Please contact us if you would like to work together and be a part of the solution.

    R.A.C.E. Fund. Inc.

  • AJJ

    Thoroughbred Foundation loses financing from Mellon Foundation for care evaluations

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/sports/23horses.html?_r=1

  • Julia Householder

    #251 – Joe, I do not know what caused his head trauma, other than he tripped and fell. The information I got.
    I can presume knowing the horse, he hated anyone to look in his mouth, and was horrible to worm. He was always tranquilized to float, and brought into the barn to worm, trim or vaccinate.
    My presumption is he was fighting someone, or something being either checked in his mouth, or someone trying to put something in his mouth. He was a pretty easy horse if you respected his dislikes and took your time. Upset, he would have exploded. I am a very skilled horsewoman, and know when to react. I have experienced those that are not so nice and have seen horses flipped or throw themselves down. The thought here is he was traumatized
    and by someone that was not skilled or used force. Again, knowing Intriguing Angle and his dislikes it is my opinion and not based on any factual information.
    Yes it is sad, in 2000 he headed a fundraising letter to a horse that was racing in the Derby. He was writing the letter to his buddy…………it was pretty cool. Had this guy a very long time. Hope he is a beautiful meadow in heaven now with a full belly!!!! My horses never knew hunger…..this is so awful….

  • Kellyrider

    While it’s heart-breaking to read that many horses have suffered because of human errors in the TRF, it’s good to learn that the problems are finally being brought to light. Wouldn’t the TRF’s general ledgers be open to public record since it’s a charity? I’m sure there is a paper trail of where all the Mellon money and other donations were spent for the past 10 years, right? Ray, can you find out since you are on the TRF board?

  • M-D

    No ratherrapid, you do not speak for licensed veterinarians…

    … & you do not apparently read & comprehend even straightforward English exposition.

    “Take responsibility” = financial responsibility for LIFE-LONG care for EVERY SINGLE thoroughbred bred for “use” in thoroughbred breeding and/or racing–irrespective of how much (or little) each horse “earns” in either breeding or racing.

    That is the standard I assert & reference & to which those individuals & orgnanizations, in my estimation, in the thoroughbred breeding & racing industries ought to be held.

    And, NO, killing (what you euphemistically term “slaughtering”) thoroughbreds (or quarter-horses) is NOT synonymous or commensurate with TAKING RESPONSIBILITY.

    One definition of RESPONSIBILITY = Ability to Respond

    If you have ANY involvement of any kind in thoroughbred breeding & racing, be it as a bettor, spectator, breeder, trainer, vet, food vendor at the track, farrier, groom or WHATEVER…

    …you have a primary & basic RESPONSIBILITY to provide for–on some level (in some financial amount) the care & well-being of each & every thoroughbred that is brought into the world of thoroughbred breeding & racing.

    This is the moral standard & framework I assert. Is that clear?

  • C. Hogan

    You write “this isn’t the time this is not the time or place to get into a “he said/she said” debate over conflicting reports from equine veterinarians on the care of the TRF horses, the motive of the veterinarian that leaked her reports to the New York Times, the competence of some former TRF employees, or the relationship between the executors of Paul Mellon’s estate and the TRF.why isn’t it the time to look into the questions raised by the NYTimes story.” When is the time, then? When all the horses in the foundation’s care have starved to death?

  • ratherrapid

    #263 when i transfer ownership of my horse, dog, cat, pig to someone else it is at that point the responsiblity of the transferee. Nor do i ever for any of my horses believe the responsibility for their care lies with some 3rd party such as racing. horses in my care are my responsiblity. what other’s should do with their horses is a political and moral Q that will continue to be debated. my position is that anti-slaughter is anti-horse. if u disbelieve this, get on one of those trucks to mexico.

  • M-D

    ratherrapid,

    Your linking of the issue of the cruelty of transport for horses, whether it be to Mexico, Canada, Pennsylvania, Ohio or any place where auctions–for slaughter or otherwise, occur is…

    …may I suggest, MISLEADING & UNRELATED to the issue & matter at hand, which is: Who is responsible for the life-long care of thoroughbreds brought into being for “use” in the thoroughbred breeding & racing industries?
    And it is also irritatingly distracting to attempt to define what is the principle of law underlying what you term a transfer of “ownership.” Your undersdtanding of “ownership” & the transfer thereof is…irrelavant, immaterial to the subject of this debate.

    Furthermore, what you do as an individual (vis-à-vis “your” horses) is immaterial to what I & others expect & demand of the thoroughbred breeding & racing industries with respect to the fundamental question of responsibility for the thoroughbred lives brought into being in service of the thoroughbred breeding & racing industries—unless, of course, you believe yourself to be the sum total of the collectivity otherwise known as the thoroughbred breeding & racing industries.

    Again, to remind you, we are debating who is responsible for the thoroughbred lives brought into being in service of the thoroughbred breeding & racing industries.

    Now, on the unrelated subject of the conditions of transport:

    I regularly attend auctions for slaughter (the largest of which is the notorious auction at New Holland, PA) on my own or with other individuals or with representatives of various horse-rescue organizations.

    At these auctions, horses are not the only non-human animal species that are transported & sold. In my eyes, the horrific conditions of transport & the treatment of the non-human animals at the auctions throws into broad relief just how barbaric, cruel, & contemptible humans can be & all too often are.

    Guess what? Many of the horses I see at these auctions–& on these trailers, are thoroughbreds & quarter-horses.

    On the subject of horses at these auctions: I observe the large, sometimes two-tiered trailers filled with pathetic & ill-treated horses either being unloaded or re-loaded–& afterwards they often drive on to other slaughter auctions (very often to the equally horrific Sugar Creek Livestock Auction in Ohio).

    In my estimation, the conditions of transport for the horses are immoral & unconscionable–& how the horses are handled during the loading, unloading, & transport is breathtakingly abusive & terrifying–& I have gotten into disputes & even fights with the individuals handling & loading/unloading the horses.

    The inter-state regulation of the transport of non-human animals, in my opinion, is—to put it politely, woefully inadequate. Of course, there are individuals, groups, & their lobbyists who argue that even this woefully inadequate regime of regulation (governmental oversight) of the inter-state transport of non-human animals is an egregious affront to the fictitious constitutional right & prerogative to do as one damn well pleases, irrespective of the suffering it may cause others, human & non-human alike.

    ratherrapid, if you are sincere in your objections to the transport of horses, specifically, to the conditions in which horses are transported (to whatever destination & for whatever purpose), I challenge you to do something about it.

    And introducing matters to this debate, here (on this Blog),unrelated to the ultimate question of responsibility for the care & well-being of thoroughbred lives brought into being in service of the thoroughbred breeding & racing industries does NOT, may I conclude, constitute an instance of doing something to address the barbarity of horse transport.

  • Dawn Mancina

    M-D You are right on!!!!!! If only those with their heads buried in the sand could see the logic.

  • ratherrapid

    fyi #266 what i personally advocate is model animal rights laws for all 50 states that would outlaw factory farming, etc. etc. etc. while everyone posting here is interested in horse welfare, the degrees of common sense that result in animal welfare unfortunately seem to have a ways to go.

  • M-D

    Please forgive me as this is off-the-subject but…

    …I want to tell you, Ms. Mancina (& I believe I have the right person), how much I admire what you did when you rescued & adopted Snickers the mare & Willie the foal, the two horses headed toward slaughter at the Cavel slaughter-house in Dekalb (IL),…

    …whom I very much hope are doing well.

  • Dawn Mancina

    (Continuing off subject) Why thank you! And yes, both are doing great. Willie’s 4th birthday is coming up April 17th. Snickers is still blind – but very happy and healthy nonethless. How many foals and mothers do you know that are together for life? I’m glad I was able to give them both that. Wish they all had the same ending as Snickers and Willie.

  • http://Derbydame Mary L. McCurdy

    Dear Mr. Paulick,
    I am glad I googled this and read your article – my brother mailed me the Joe Drape article from the NYTimes.I was upset about the article, I have a retired racehorse and I have tried to get my friends to adopt. But they all say why should we take on a rich mans reject. The Thoroughbred breeders, the whole industry must take on this problem. When a Thoroughbred is registered a small % of that money should go to the retirement fund. When a horse races, the entry fee, the winning purse – a small % goes to the retirement fund. It would be like social security for the horse. If a horse lives to retirement and he has contributed to the fund he goes to the retirement farm. If not the owner must make a contribution to the fund. The owners, breeders must take responsibility for the welfare of these horses.Racing does not need this negative publicity, it will not create new fans. I was disturbed by something Mr. Ted Terry said “Eventually we’re going to have to ask ourselves if we are throwing good money after bad.” If Paul Mellon put the money aside for the horses then it must be used for the horses no matter what the trustee feels.

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