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Full Circle: Reuniting Horses With Former Owners

Published: August 23, 2021 11:04 am ET

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“Some horses come into our lives and quickly go, but others leave hoofprints on our hearts that will never fade.”

This quote couldn’t be truer for Heather Young of Guelph, Ont., and Standardbred Piece Of the Rock. Christmas came a bit early for Heather when she was reunited with Piece of the Rock in December 2020. Heather had groomed the horse for many years while he was trained by her father, Robert Young, and the pair developed a special bond.

Affectionately referred to as “POTR” (or “Potter”) Piece Of The Rock was purchased as a yearling in 2008 and was in the Young Stable through 2014. He was then sold and raced for several different stables stateside through December 2020 and his trainer at the time, Sasha Moczulski, decided it was time for the 13-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding to retire. Sasha saw that POTR was enrolled in the Full Circle Program and reached out to the Young family. Heather’s parents arranged for POTR to return to them, and surprised Heather with this ‘reveal’.

Without the Full Circle program, POTR and Heather may not have been reunited. SC’s Rachel Oenema talked to her about her experience with Piece Of The Rock and the Full Circle Program.

How To Register Your Horse in the Full Circle Program

Imagine being reunited with that ‘special’ horse after being apart for many years? In racing it’s the norm for horses to be bought and sold, claimed, moved around to and from different stables and even relocated to another country. Do you want to make sure that a horse you previously owned, bred, trained, took care of has a home if they are in need, once they can no longer race?

Here’s what you need to know about enrolling a horse in Standardbred Canada’s (SC) Full Circle program:

Full Circle (FC) is a free program offered by Standardbred Canada (SC) to connect horses in need of a new home after their racing or breeding careers are over. FC connects horses with their breeder, former owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers or another interested person who has registered a horse in the program and wants the opportunity to provide a home for the horse after its racing career.

This program is modeled after the USTA’s Full Circle program and an initiative by the world’s largest equine registry – the American Quarter Horse Association.

To take part in the Full Circle program, individuals can contact SC and enroll a horse and name themselves as the contact for the program. If the current owner of a horse no longer wants their horse for any reason, they can check with SC to see if the horse is registered in the Full Circle program and if it is, the contact information for the person who enrolled the horse will be made available to them. A horse can be enrolled by more than one person.

Those interested in registering for the Full Circle program can enroll online by clicking here and then clicking 'Full Circle Form', or click here to print an enrollment form that can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to SC.

SC will facilitate communication between the individuals but not have any involvement in coordinating any arrangements. It will be up to the two individuals to determine the arrangements for the horse.

Arrangements can be temporary or permanent, and include providing a home, helping with expenses, training, or whatever agreement is reached between the two parties agree. People who enroll horses in the Full Circle program can also remove their name from the horse’s enrollment if their situation changes.

There are three different ways to verify if a horse has been enrolled in the program with the USTA or SC, on TrackIT, where the Full Circle logo will be displayed, by contacting the SC office, or by viewing the online list

This program is a way to ensure that a horse’s former connections can have the opportunity to provide a safe and responsible outcome for a horse that is no longer commercially viable (productive in racing or breeding).

Have you been reunited with a horse through Standardbred Canada's Full Circle Program? If you have a story in regard to rescuing or being reunited with a horse through our Full Circle Program, we’d love to hear from you!

Please include your name, name of horse, your location and a brief description of your story, and email the information to [email protected].

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