The Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF), based in western Monmouth County, has been a safe haven for retired racehorses for 31 years. But the 2020 coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of all its fundraisers, along with the closure of its farm sanctuary to adopters.
Now open to potential adopters, donations are still needed to feed and care for 343 horses. Adopters are also needed so rescued horses have permanent places to live out their lives, according to a press release from the SRF.
“This is still an emergency situation for us,” said Judith Bokman, founder and executive director of the award-winning, national organization. “The (coronavirus) crisis hit in March and we believed we would have relief from the pandemic by now. Sadly, that is not the case. Our fundraisers remain canceled and it costs approximately $4,000 a day just to feed all of our horses.”
SRF has helped, mostly through rescuing, more than 4,000 racehorses from potential slaughter, according to the press release.
After rehabilitation, the trotters and pacers are placed in loving homes for life. Many are still young horses that are simply no longer competitive on the track.
Some horses are placed with police units in New York City, Newark, Philadelphia and Texas sheriff departments, others are in therapy programs, and most are now loved as adopted pleasure mounts, according to the press release.
“We have been an extremely productive organization for many years, but (coronavirus) has been devastating,” Bokman said. “SRF does not receive industry or government grants and we rely greatly on individual donations from people who care about these beautiful and majestic horses.”
When injured or no longer competitive, nearly all Standardbred racehorses are sold off the track to dealers in rural communities. The horses are then resold – either for the price of meat in Canada or Mexico, or as work horses to plow fields, haul heavy logs, clear land and provide street transportation, according to the press release.
SRF is headquartered in the Cream Ridge section of Upper Freehold Township, but the organization provides care for rescued horses in boarding facilities across the United States, including many in the tri-state area, according to the press release.
To make a tax deductible donation, adopt a horse or foster a horse, visit www.adoptahorse.org, write to Standardbred Retirement Foundation, P.O. Box 312, Millstone Township, N.J. 08535, or call 609-738-3255.