TAKE2 gives gelded racehorses second careers

by JERRY BOSSERT

Cross-posted from the New York Daily News

Vintage Horse Show Ribbons. Image by Ruby Press.
Past the Point, an off the track Thoroughbred gelded racehorse may win a few of these thanks to the TAKE2 program. Vintage Horse Show Ribbons. Image by Ruby Press.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Winning a Grade I race can increase the value of any racehorse when it goes to stud.

Even placing in a Grade I race can do the same, but what happens when the horse is a gelding?

Obviously, there is no stud career for a gelding, but thanks to a new program started this year called TAKE2, there is a second career for racehorses.

Sponsored by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc., TAKE2 is a program that turns retired racehorses into hunters and jumpers, giving them more opportunities to find new homes after their racing careers are over, while also offering them prize money in competition.

Past the Point, who finished second at 40-1 in the 2008 Woodward Stakes, retired from the track in 2010 with earnings of $418,025.

The 8-year-old gelding is still stabled at Saratoga Race Course, enjoying his second career as a show horse.

— Lot’s more to this report. Read all about it >>

Image via Ruby Press and not filed with original story >>

7 thoughts on “TAKE2 gives gelded racehorses second careers”

  1. Right. As a matter of fact I just got some documentation that shows an uptick in the killing for 2012.

    Pls pardon the length but this is two comments in one entry:

    Quarter Horses are still in the lead as to being killed. Grade horses would be most likely to be unnoticed and untracked as to kills. Quarter Horses minus papers would fall into grade horse status so numbers as to breed would be compromised.

    Both of those populations are harder to track. Most Thorobreds meant for the track would be likely to be tattooed so they have a chance to be tracked down, as were Lefever’s and Asmussens.

    This uptick in killing may be due to lack of supply of healthy useful horses or the killer’s sense that U S sourced horse slaughter may be challenged and ending soon.

    That would mean that our members of Congress, esp the Ag Committee and state reps like Holt (TN) or Wallis (WY) would be getting more cash for blocking taxpayers interests and would be desperate to get that cash in. As to the governors in these states, I am not sure if they are as corrupt as slaughter proponents or simply uneducated and/or incompetent. I have not seen that noted so far.

    If the uptick in killing is due to desperation for fast cash before the U S contribution to the killers ends due to increasing public outrage, lobbyists like former Congressman Stenholm (TX) would be more intent to get the cash in now or establish new non-domestic ties. We are seeing new breeding ties outside of the U S market. Since China and Ireland are now linked, slaughter would likely increase as a result of demand which skips our own horse population and focuses on a newer, easier source for killing healthy useful horses. Both domestic economies are in hock and cash is needed in both countries.

    As to the US, increased crime follows the killing industry so our own costs escalate every time these killers operate in any area–both nationally and locally. Thefts, frauds, violent crime would be attendant every time slaughter buyers/sellers are in an area. Florida is experiencing thefts and slaughter-related killings now and has been. Recently Ron Andio (Patron Farms LLC) in Ohio was warned by FDA in his illegal sale of a bay gelding Thorobred to Canada; too late for the horse but luckily that ID’s this killer for naming in public in social media.

    Auctions bring in these criminals, too and busting them takes our federal taxpayer dollars (ala Sugarcreek Auction with Leroy Baker in OH). The Mascot TN auction must be bringing in more criminals to TN. Texas is under attack from slaughter criminals too. Their costs have to be rising as well. Public outrage continues to grow here and we may becoming inconvenient for the global slaughter industry. Canada may be becoming more inconvenient due their active population of informed advocates. As to Mexico, I don’t have contacts there yet.

    The cooperation of these horse breeding groups with corporate slaughter is still not being announced enough in social media. The members of the scam group, Unwanted Horse Coalition, are not known sufficiently even by rescues. I talked to one in FL which was completely uneducated and unaware of slaughter facts (Palmetto). That rescue was featured in The Horse, historically a fairly useless publication which allows pro-slaughter arguments to be included in articles about slaughter. Some in the AVMA work with some of these groups and even rescues which support slaughter due to ignorance if not strictly profit oriented. Some horse industry publications and general media (Wall St Journal) publish nonsense articles re this topic and repeat this misinformation.

    That corporate misinformation has to be countered by constant insistence on fact by informed advocates. The importance of accurate and timely communications on social media and in print can’t be overstressed. It is working, even in racing itself. So far, here in the US and Canada, the public outrage is growing. As the criminal killers try to increase kills, every informed person has to jump on and challenge public statements from groups who want slaughter.

    Therefore, blogs which educate re facts are vital. This is the importance of Tuesday’s Horse. These discussions have to be placed in social media, online and in print media wherever they can be. Facts matter.

    In terms of strategy in marketing slaughter fact over fiction, some aspects of emotional appeals can get attention but don’t work as well over time. I mix both if I have to online.Some people will never care about taxpayer dollars so for them, the moral argument works better to get them interested in this topic. You will see this on Facebook vs Twitter, for example. Twitter is more business-oriented and growing in new users, so facts get more attention there. LinkedIn produces few results since it is almost strictly biz networking which is the intent of the site. LI does have a really active pet owner group lately. Maybe that can be plumbed in the future. I have not used Pinterest yet. I know others who do. I don’t know the success rate for that site yet. It’s relatively new.

    Websites are handy but outdate quickly and have to be linked to social media in order to be seen. Websites exist in isolation until they are brought into public awareness by some means of transfer. If facts are to be stated, a link to those sites or reference information itself has to be included at the same time. Statements are nice but links to further information are essential to taking action and that is not being done enough on social media. I think of social media this way: I am progressively arguing a case before some imaginary judge and jury and need to present evidence which builds on itself. I want the evidence to mount to the conclusion that slaughter must end now. When I read my own arguments, I have to feel convinced or I will have to redo, revise and then repost all over again.

    A sense of urgency in the message helps, too. I try to convey the idea that unless the reader acts immediately, it’s the end of the world. Motivating the uninformed reader takes unusual emphasis and repetition. This is time-consuming but it gets results over time, entered daily. The information has to be correct, otherwise credibility is gone. Action words tend to get more attention than long sentences which don’t convey urgency.

    The writing for this kind of advocacy has to be bumped up by necessity on these social media sites. Photos help. Doc links help. Advocates are using all these tools online to get readers motivated. Once you can get an emotional or outraged response, you may get action. Sustaining an active response is a real challenge. It’s a life versus death issue so some unusual emphasis is forgivable in this case. Bear in mind that the downside to urgent appeals is that at some point, readers will be desensitized and turn off. I am aware of that when I use this urgent appeal approach. A hostile response from a guilty party is evidence that your advocacy is having an effect. When you see audience burnout become obvious in terms of numbers of responses, it is time to switch tactics or arguments for a while.

    Broadening the audience by use of general concepts like the tax dollar argument helps. In this post-bust economy, anything about lost cash will have some appeal. Working people who pay income taxes is a large group and that argument has some appeal to them. That is the White House argument via email and it would be effective with that large audience who may also be active voters. Informed voters are essential to ending slaughter. I use that number whenever I can–123 million lost tax dollars per year as involuntary contribution to criminals gets attention. Business people who may not know or care about horses will especially care about that and may act in response to that large number. Personalizing lost income to workers and small biz owners gets a reaction for anti slaughter.

    The writer may never know the numbers of responses to any appeal. You want to measure any responses you get over time and focus on what works best for each site over time. Print media even with an online presence seems to be a one time response sector since that is the limited nature of the communication itself. The audience tends to be fixed and smaller. I am not really sure why–that may depend on the print publication itself. Some print publications have audiences which are simply trolls who waste time since they have nothing else to do all day but sit behind a computer and hope to get attention by saying unacceptable things. Responding to that takes time and leads nowhere. I never bother responding to anyone who posts in that manner. In those cases, I leave brief statement of fact and a number of links to actual information from credible sources. I never go back and bother with responses to anything I state in these second rate media sources. I just leave information there. That saves time. I use the same approach to Congress members, too.

    In marketing, your investment of uncompensated time vs measurable results is crucial to success in spreading facts and getting buy-in from uninformed readers.

    The main challenge I am seeing is that few Americans are involved with horses in any way or know them at all. The topic of slaughter involves basic ed plus insisting on direct action. This is the most challenging topic, due to the lack of horse presence in everyday life. If people are not familiar with horses and never see them, they will not care. Dogs and cats (household pets) will always get more attention and more action than horses. Therefore, linking horses to the concept of pets or friends or even strays (tried by Best Friends, Utah) may get more of an audience into the topic. Repetition for new concepts takes time and a lot of persistence. People are always resistant to change. That is normal for any group of readers. People have to see a personal benefit from taking any action which is unfamiliar.

    Results can vary per medium. You have to tailor your efforts to the audience and type of site you have to work with. Some of these free sites have daily technical issues so time allotted has to be generous. Time becomes a real issue for the writer. Repetition becomes necessary when these sites screw up. Free sites have technical issues more often but have a bigger audiences which may be somewhat susceptible to an antislaughter message revised for mass appeal. A term like “gelding” gets less buy-in than a better known term like “horse” or even “male horse”. I think the general public sees horses as they see farm animals, period. If they eat beef or chicken, then eating horse must be Ok, too. In other words, most people don’t have a clue as to what a horse is, has been in human history or does in reality. That is where the argument using Bute and toxic meds in horses kind of falls flat. That argument, without a context or background in the topic of slaughter confuses the uninformed reader. That argument does not have the mass appeal that lost tax dollars does with the general uninformed public. The educated sector will get the Bute argument and understand why it matters so much.

    I save my written communications under a category for “Horse slaughter” for re-use later with minimal editing for use later. Example, on Twitter I use a marking of a Favorite for these regular posts to have a file for copy and paste later on. This saves time. You can copy these regular arguments with links to your own email box under specific aspect of argument in the subject line or to a Word doc file and you can re-use them elsewhere on social media. When I do a specific response for a specific issue, I will check for that key word specifically in my file. I can pull that argument up and do a quick edit and use it again multiple times. I try to skip rewrites re basic reliable information. Putting some of the reliable information into a long term storage drive with a specific, easily remembered label is not a bad idea. I have to save all the time I can so these files and little maintenance tasks help with that.

    I am sorry that this entry is so long but having had some experience with trying to make horse slaughter a more generally accessible topic, I will pass my current experiences along here. I am sure some know this already but maybe it can help a little in this effort to end slaughter once and for all.

    I also appreciate time saving, effective tips from other advocates along with accurate corrections and clarifications.

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  2. We are so tired of U.S. horse racing bashing, it is a relief to have something, anything, remotely good to report. As you can see with horse soring and other cruel, exploiting industries, they are hardly alone.

    Just about every horse breeding association we have come across, supports horse slaughter. Still. Even though as many if not more U.S. horses are being killed by slaughter than ever before. Yet they keep screaming to “bring it back” because its absence is hurting the industry. It never went away. 1000s of U.S. horses are dying this way every week.

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  3. Good post.
    Rescue is one way to prevent some lucky horses from going to slaughter immediately and I am glad to hear that this horse will have a home.

    Just a note: the US Hunter Jumper Association is reported to be in The Unwanted Horse Coalition, which supports slaughter. I wonder if eventing falls into the same category and also supports slaughter. That was not my impression when at Rolex some years ago but then again, none of us were discussing the topic. We were volunteer fence judges and that was all.
    I hope this horse and some others get decent, caring, permanent homes. Ending slaughter will protect all equines, of course and that issue remains a concern for a lot of taxpayers. The unethical Ag Committee action brought together a lot of people. I hope to see more awareness of the escalating costs of slaughter (money and suffering) in social media.
    Education will help voters. Removing the members of the Ag Committee in Congress would send the right message to slaughter supporters and their lobbyist contacts. The days of secret backroom deals which kill the innocent and cost taxpayers are over.
    Reforms in every industry are in the works and the worst liars in these industries are crying the loudest, as usual. No industry can police itself, as we have seen over and over again for decades.
    Breeders and others are pushing the costs of their unethical activity onto the rest of us and we are being asked to fund rescues, training programs, etc. Most individuals can’t afford this additional financial burden.
    Those who are responsible for the horrors of slaughter need to pay for the mess they created–AQHA, racing (QH and thorobred), Congress members, etc. Until they are held accountable and sentenced, the abuse and killing will continue and so will the escalating costs to the rest of us. Per the White House, U S taxpayers lose 123 million dollars a year already.
    As usual, the innocent pay with their lives at the slaughter plants for no reason except cash. As long as horses and other innocent creatures are considered disposable, nothing will change. This fifty year old battle is the most important one we have re animal welfare vs corruption and influence buying in some states and in Congress.

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  4. VGF, you are absolutely right. I guess I’m disappointed there wasn’t more depth in coverage. And I AM sincere in the hope more groups like NYTHA et al will step up and walk the talk.

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    1. Do you mean more news on this horse’s story? There is. There is a link to continue reading for much more on Past the Point etc. Or did you mean more coverage on the program itself? We had not heard of it until now.

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  5. Please forgive my cynicism, but isn’t this just a WONDERFUL idea that no-one ever thought of before? Let’s pray that the idea catches on!

    Seriously.

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