The Standardbred Transition Alliance (STA) has launched a new program to help ensure the safety of Standardbred horses that are retiring from racing.
Called the Placement Liaison Program (PLP), this initiative is fully endorsed by the United States Trotting Association (USTA) and is designed to streamline the process of placing retiring racehorses into quality aftercare programs.
The process is simple: the racehorse owner completes and submits three forms, which can be found on the STA website. An STA Liaison processes the paperwork on behalf of the owner and becomes the first point of contact for the transition process. The Liaison reaches out to STA accredited aftercare organizations to determine which would be a good fit for the retiring racehorse. The aftercare organization then takes the retired racehorse into their care with all paperwork in place and the rehoming process begins immediately.
“We are very excited about this new program, which is huge for the future of Standardbreds,” said Don Marean, chairman of USTA District 9, director of the Maine Farm Bureau Horse Council and the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association, and vice chair of the University of Maine (Orono) Board of Agriculture. “Having a point person an owner can reach out to who can physically walk them through the transition from racing is imperative to keep Standardbreds from ending up in trouble or in a kill pen. By eliminating the possible middleman, retiring racehorses have a significantly better chance for a quality life after the track.”
Jennifer Daniels, administrator for the Standardbred Transition Alliance, held various roles with the USTA before transitioning into Standardbred aftercare in 2013. Having worked both in the front-facing side of the industry and in transitioning retired racehorses to a new career, she was uniquely positioned to help the STA identify both how to make the rehoming process easier and how to help ensure a retiring racehorse doesn’t end up in a potentially perilous situation.
“Our main priority is to make sure each horse has everything it needs to enter an adoption program ready to find its second career,” said Daniels. “In addressing that, we also designed a program that alleviates many of the time-consuming, administrative tasks accredited aftercare organizations must complete. Programs are often stretched thin by having to do everything from hands-on care to office work to fundraising efforts. The Placement Liaison Program will allow adoption programs to operate even more efficiently by preserving their time and energy for screening and interviewing adopters, training horses and conducting post adoption follow-ups.
“The STA looks forward to assisting the horses and our accredited aftercare organizations in truly changing the face of equine aftercare.”
Learn more about the Placement Liaison Program by visiting the Standardbred Transition Alliance website.