|Approximately one-quarter of TAA's revenue comes from participating stallions, |
contributing 25% of one season to support aftercare.
For a list of Stallion Farms that have partnered with TAA,
please visit ThoroughbredAftercare.org
Thoroughbred, but not because I work here. My first Grand Prix Show Jumper was an Off-the-track-Thoroughbred named James Bond. We ended up getting picked to go first, in our first Grand Prix. It was at Kent School, in the pouring rain. Didn’t get a ribbon, but considering I was only 17, well, he was an amazing horse.
I grew up in the U.S. Pony Club and was introduced to Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping. When I was 14 I was invited to fill a junior jumper class on my Children’s Hunter. We won and it was all Show Jumping, all the time after that.
Probably Vermont. There used to be a series of fantastic horse shows there and I always enjoyed trail riding on Killington and Sugarbush mountains. Phenomenal views. The Lake Placid Horse Show is my favorite horse show.
With this job, there isn’t a lot of time to have my own horse. I spend a lot of time traveling around to visit the Thoroughbreds being cared for by our accredited partners.
My first USPC camp was in 1991 and I connected with all of those “kids” a couple of years ago. USPC is probably the single greatest equestrian organization out there for someone interested in coaching. Nothing better than bringing a team to USPC Championships. Especially if you’ve had a chance to work with the upper level riders since they were little. I need to make more time for Pony Club and find a club in KY to help.
Tough question. Depends completely on the child. All I know is it’s never too late to start. Look at Michael Matz, I think he started riding when he was a teenager and he’s one of the best in the world. I have a lot of friends who claim they started riding when their mothers were carrying them in the womb. That might be too early.
The incredible opportunity this job has given me to make a difference in the lives of a lot of great Thoroughbreds. While my sister and I worked with several former racehorses when we were growing up, it wasn’t until I helped place a slaughter-bound horse named Dallas from the State University of NY College of Agriculture and Technology at Morrisville that I really began to care deeply for our mission. Dallas was donated to Morrisville while I was a vice president of institutional advancement. A rescue group notified me that they had saved him while the college foundation’s board and I were in the middle of a capital campaign to fund their equine rehabilitation center. That was one of life’s defining moments, for me. With one or two calls, I found Dallas an incredible adoptive home. I still feel a real sense of accomplishment from that experience, and today, that feeling is expanded exponentially thanks to the outstanding work being done by our accredited aftercare partners.
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Foundation, or TAA; an organization designed to serve as both the accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their careers and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities. Our accreditation process and Code of Standards were approved by the American Humane Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners. Last December we awarded $1,000,000 to 23 accredited aftercare organizations managing 80 farms across the U.S. and Canada. This year we are currently reviewing another 29 applications with 72 facilities (though not all of them will be accredited). Thanks to The Jockey Club, Keeneland, Breeders’ Cup, The Stronach Group, 24 of the largest stallion farms and so many others; we’re on track to award $2,000,000 this December.
|James Hastie speaking with J. Ted Neel of Millennium Farms, a participating stallion farm.|
While TAA provides best practices for our accredited facilities to follow, each has its own adoption process since they are independent 501(c)3 organizations. That said, in order to be accredited by TAA, they must have set policies that ensure proper placement of each horse and provide sufficient follow up after a horse has been adopted out. While details vary, TAA accredited organizations have a thorough screening process for prospective adopters that ensures a quality home is found for each horse. The screening process also includes protocols to ensure that each adopter has sufficient equine skills and resources to manage and care for the horse. In order to be considered, I generally refer people to our web site which lists our accredited partners, and they visit each web site until they find a horse they like, then they apply to become an adopter. I also let people know that it can take a while to be qualified to adopt, and sometimes a Thoroughbred that is already being advertised will go to a good home before the application process is completed (but they’ll already be on the list next time they spot a horse they want to take home).
Read a lot, watch videos, go to clinics and listen to every word. Beyond that, I would suggest taking lessons from a lot of different trainers until they find one that is perfect, for them. I also would make sure they don’t ride in a barn that doesn’t place a high value on teaching its customers all about horse care. A lot of trainers out there want to keep everything a secret, so their clients are dependent on them. Not the way to go.
Just as the name implies, the horse comes first. And no doubt because of my childhood experience with USPC, the word to me brings immediate images of horse care. To others it may be about equitation or riding skill, but in my mind, if you take great care of your horse through conditioning and nutrition, performance excellence follows. Don’t laugh, but when I was Cosequin WEF Circuit Champion, one of my biggest expenses was carrots! Every time my horse Riviera City saw me coming, he knew he was going to get a carrot. Always had one in my pocket after he cooled off from a jump-off too. He tried very hard for me.
In addition to his humanitarian work and experience in higher education, James was head of development for North America’s first-ever world cup in the sport of rowing, the 2001 Zurich Rowing World Cup.
|Photo by Danielle Nichter|