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OSAS Celebrates 25 Years

Published: July 6, 2021 2:34 pm ET

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Founded in 1996, the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021. The official adoption agency in the province for Standardbreds, OSAS has found forever homes for more than 1,000 horses to date.

Anita TenBruggencate is responsible for creating OSAS along with former Ontario Harness Horse Association General Manager Reed Lawson. Anita, an Early Childhood Educator who also worked as a harness racing caretaker, approached OHHA in the mid 1990s with the idea of establishing an organization to find horses a permanent, loving home once their racing careers were over.

Reed gathered several people within the industry to work with Anita and determine the viability of such a venture. It took some time to establish the association, obtain charitable status and appoint a board of directors who would craft the initial adoption placement agreements, guardian and foster farm responsibilities, etc. Over the years those have been changed and updated to reflect the current state of the industry.

Anita served as OSAS’s first administrator until she elected to stay home with her daughters but she continued to assist OSAS part time for a few years. For the past several years the administrative job has been capably managed by Joanne Colville who is uniquely suited to the all encompassing role.

As a Standardbred breeder for many years and past chair of Standardbred Canada, Joanne has a farm near Moffat, where most of the OSAS horses arrive before transferring to a foster facility. In addition, Joanne serves as the outrider at Mohawk where she interacts with horse people across the province on a nightly basis and she is also a board member of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association.

Every horse that comes into OSAS is given a thorough assessment prior to going to a foster home. Currently OSAS has several foster farms as well as two training facilities operated by Shelley Higgins and Susan and Bert Mollica. A horse’s secondary career (trail riding, competitions, companions, etc.) is based largely on their soundness and temperament. Once it is determined that the horse has completed its training and is ready for a new home, Joanne makes arrangements for potential adopters to visit and ascertain if they would be a good fit.

People wanting to adopt an OSAS horse are required to fill out an application on the OSAS website and a site inspection of their facility is done to ensure its suitability. After a horse is successfully adopted, guardians will continue to follow up with inspections and submit their reports to OSAS.

OSAS is guided by Joanne and a board of dedicated directors with a myriad of skills in the business - Jim Evans, Bill O’Donnell, Heather MacKay, Ian Fleming and Kelly Spencer.

25th Anniversary Projects

Ambassador Cards

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, OSAS commissioned noted equine artist Michelle Hogan to draw portraits of the four OSAS ambassadors: Hiltons Hot Stuff, Ruff Me Up, Reverend Hanover and The Painted Pony. Between them those four distinctive horses have introduced countless race fans to the beauty and versatility of Standardbreds through their appearances at Ontario tracks, participation in Meet and Greets with fans and the Drive With Us program.

Michelle’s portraits are stunningly accurate depictions of the four unique horses and she added another brilliant touch. “I deliberately incorporated a theme of versatility. One is in harness, one under saddle, one in hand and one at liberty,” she explained.

These portraits have been incorporated into note cards which were printed at First Line Printing and the entire project was sponsored by Ontario Racing. The boxes of note cards are now available for sale. Each box contains eight note cards (two of each horse) and envelopes. Please see OSAS’s website for details on how to order.

2021 Commemorative Logo
Kathryn Patchett, the talented graphic designer who created OSAS’s new logo and updated website recently, has tweaked the logo to reflect the 25th anniversary. That logo will be used on all of OSAS’s social media for the remainder of the year. Kathryn was also responsible for the design of the ambassador cards and the creation of ads for the OSAS Night at the Races.

OSAS at the Races
OSAS has reached out to every Ontario racetrack to request they host an OSAS night (or day) at the races to celebrate the 25th anniversary. It would be anchored by a race called the OSAS 25th anniversary race. With COVID protocols in place the celebrations will be restricted but still able to commemorate the significant milestone. These dates will be announced shortly.

OSAS, with the assistance of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, will be presenting the winning owner, trainer and groom of the OSAS Anniversary race with a cooler, ambassador cards and anniversary gear.

Celebrating Our Own
OSAS would not have survived through 25 years without many dedicated volunteers who assist in a wide variety of ways. Throughout the remainder of our 25th season, we will be releasing feature stories about these wonderful folks.

OSAS would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the first 25 years. One of the reasons OSAS has thrived is due to the tremendous support of the Standardbred industry and horse people in Ontario who recognize the importance of finding forever loving homes for our wonderful horses.

(OSAS)


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