There is good news on the horizon in the Empire State for Standardbreds who are closing in on the end of their career. Prominent New York philanthropist and noted horse owner Wanda Polisseni has announced that the site of her new Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program (PHSAP) is nearing completion.
The PHSAP is Polisseni's latest effort designed to ensure a safe route for retired Standardbreds to transition to their life after racing. The base of operations is a 105-acre farm located in Oxford, N.Y., that was purchased in November 2018.
Although it was a working horse farm at the time it was acquired, it still needed to be tailored to the needs of the organization and its mission and has been undergoing modifications over the past several months. So far 20 new stalls have been built with turn-out paddocks to follow.
The property includes two barns and 70' x 100' indoor arena as well as an outdoor arena. The main house will become the headquarters and conference center of the PHSAP.
When in full swing the program will be able to accommodate a maximum of 20 horses at a time. The horses will come from owners or trainers who are looking to find a forever home for them after they are done racing.
There will be a written application process, a small placement fee that will go to offset the cost of retraining and all candidates will be vetted before acceptance. Once the program reaches capacity, applicants will go on a waiting list and be accepted in the order they applied. New York-bred horses will receive preference in the application process.
Once in the program the horses will be retrained, adopted out and tracked after they move to their new home. If there is a circumstance where a horse is not in a good situation either for itself or the adopter, that horse will come back to the farm and be placed again.
The program will be looking for volunteers to help with the day-to-day operations of the farm and are hoping to offer internships to students from neighboring colleges where they can earn credits to work with these horses. The farm is in close proximity to both SUNY Morrisville and SUNY Oneonta.
An outreach program with clinics and educational seminars for schools and other interested groups is also in the planning stages.
A Board of Directors was named to run the day-to-day business.
We have received a number of calls and emails about horses that need homes.
We want to explain a little about our mission and goals.
The reality of saving every horse from slaughter is not feasible at this time. The idea is not sustainable for a number of reasons, mainly the lack of funding and the sheer number of horses.
That said our goal is to get horses directly from trainers and/or owners and retrain them to ride and then adopt them out. This will, we hope, prevent a long and horrible journey to the kill pen.
As the only adoption program in New York created and dedicated specifically to Standardbreds first preference will be given to NY-Bred's.
We know people care about their horses but don't have a lot of options when they are done racing or it is found that the horse doesn't have the ability to be a successful racehorse.
We will charge a fee (to help cover retraining) and the horse will come to PHSAP for training as a riding horse. The horse will be put up for adoption and we will monitor the care of the horse after it is adopted.
We will not take more than 20 horses at any time. This will ensure that each horse is well trained and goes to a home prepared to be productive and successful.
We must be realistic about the number of horses we can care for with funding from donations and grants. As we grow we hope to take more.
We will have a learning curve as we go forward and ask for your support and patience.
Good things to come!
PHSAP is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization
- Wanda Polisseni - President
- Paul Kelley - Vice President
- David C. Hanson - Secretary
- Frances Blazer - Treasurer
- Bob Boni
- Claire Chappell
- Jennifer Connor
- Richard Gutnick
- Rita Scharman
- Michael R. Miller DVM - Program Veterinarian
- Kenneth Jacobs - Special Advisor
- Betty Holt - Executive Director
PURPLE HAZE STANDARDBRED ADOPTION PROGRAM, INC. is a New York State Not-For-Profit Class "B" Corporation with Federal 501(c)3 tax exempt status.
PURPLE HAZE STANDARDBRED ADOPTION PROGRAM, INC. has been formed to ensure that retired Standardbred horses find a second calling and profession. Many times owners and trainers send these horses to livestock auctions due to a lack of resources, farmland or funds necessary to maintain the retired horses. In some circumstances, the livestock auctions sell the horses on the open market and the retired “non-productive” horses frequently end up in the slaughterhouse in exchange for payment.
This organization's goals are as follows:
- Prevent animal slaughtering and offer a more humane alternative at the end of each horse's career.
- Rehabilitate and retrain Standardbred horses so they may find a place in the equestrian community.
- Supply educational and training services to those who adopt these horses.
- Increase the availability of education and information concerning Standardbred horse adoption and management.
- Provide educational opportunities to the community and surrounding area through an on-site center open to the public.
- Promote responsible horse ownership through education, community outreach, and assistance.