Stepping Up For Standardbreds

The United States Trotting Association has provided a donation through its ‘Support Our Standardbreds’ (SOS) program to the Starting Gaits Standardbred Transition program for the care of 22 Standardbreds of all ages horses in emergent need of care in Florida.

The horses’ owner was evicted from the farm where they were living and their condition is very poor from months of neglect. Their Henneke Body Condition Scores range from one to three; they need dental, farrier and veterinary care, and many months of careful feeding to regain good health. All 22 have ‘rain rot’ from exposure to the elements with no shelter.

The SOS donation will provide initial assistance in remedying long term neglect. These horses join 142 others previously given assistance through the USTA’s SOS program over the past five years.

Initial assistance was provided by the Neighbors’ Equine Assistance Team (NEAT) of Fort White, Florida. The horses are now being cared for on a volunteer basis by USTA members and Chrissy Daniel, her father George Haislip and horseman Mark Drummond. Daniel transported the horses to her farm in Bell, Florida and that of a neighbor’s, USTA member Steve Reisenweaver. They’re getting treatment for skin conditions and a careful diet to safely regain much needed weight.

The horses are expected to move to Starting Gaits’ farm in Xenia, Ohio, via a donated air transport by H.E. ‘Tex’ Sutton Forwarding Company on November 1. Company President Rob Clark has approved the flight, but details are pending scheduled transport of Breeders’ Cup horses at around the same time. Backup options for transport, preferably via air-ride equipped vans due to the horses’ condition, would be appreciated.

While the USTA donation covers initial expenses for professional care and feed, the horses’ recovery and eventual training and transition to adoption will take many months, well in to 2016. Daily costs for feed for the herd are expected to be about $85.

Those that might like to help support their recovery can do so in many ways. For the short term, assistance is needed in Bell, Florida with daily baths, grooming of long and tangled manes, feeding almost two dozen hungry horses, and donations of hay. “The horses are just now starting to trot around a little and knicker. Every day, more of them start to act a little brighter,” says Chrissy Daniel.

The basis of their recovery diet is free choice of the best alfalfa hay available, with eventual frequent feedings of high fat, higher protein feed. Those that would like to donate or sponsor a hay delivery can do so by calling or texting Starting Gaits CEO Mandi Cool at 937-417-5271 or email [email protected]. Donations can also be sent to: 1599 Ireland Rd., Xenia, OH 45385 or via paypal at [email protected].

New or used halters, from yearling to horse size, will be needed, as well as lead shanks, feed tubs and blankets of all sizes. Gift cards to Big Dee’s or Tractor Supply are appreciated and will help to provide the tons of grain necessary to restore them horses to good health. The Sweet Pro company has already pledged a donation of their EquiLix supplement. Sponsorship or assistance in providing ongoing dental and veterinary care is also welcome. All donations are tax deductible; updates on the horses can be seen on their Facebook page here.