Standardbreds Quickly Benefiting from New USTA Program

The U.S. Trotting Association (USTA) introduced its Support Our Standardbreds program earlier this month, and the organization is hard at work doing just that. USTA has already helped two horses in the three weeks since the program was introduced and has at least three more horses lined up for financial assistance, according to Ellen Harvey, executive director of harness racing communications.

Support Our Standardbreds (SOS) is a program designed to provide financial aid for the care of abused or neglected Standardbred horses. SOS started as an idea from Don Marine, one of USTA's directors and a former member of Maine’s legislature. Harvey said that Marine "had a very strong feeling that we needed to be doing more than we were doing to help our horses that fell into bad situations, for whatever reasons."

Turning a vague idea into reality, however, was not a simple process. Marine spent more than a year promoting his idea, and the board approved the $100,000 budget in late March of this year. USTA President Phil Langley then appointed a committee to decide how this money could best be used.

The board set guidelines for who could access the financial assistance. The funds are available only for animal control agencies authorized for legal custody of the horses because many animal control officers are limited greatly by their institutions' budgets or resources to care for a horse.

"[Caring for a horse] is a lot more complex and expensive than dealing with dogs and cats," said Harvey. "We wanted to give officers who found themselves in that kind of position the knowledge that we can help back up their decision financially."

Right now, Harvey and her staff are focusing on SOS publicity. "Because we are just starting out, we certainly want to be very aggressive in doing a lot of work to let people know that we exist," she said. That publicity will help the budgeted money aid as many horses as possible. Harvey encouraged people, particularly USTA members, to make sure their local animal control authorities were aware of SOS.

For further information, contact Ellen Harvey at 732/780-3700 or 732/616-6092 or request a flyer by emailing

About the Author

Courtney LeMay, Editorial Intern

Courtney LeMay was editorial intern for The Horse for the summer of 2010. She attends Asbury Univeristy, planning to graduate in 2013 with a double major in Journalism and Media Communications. She is currently the senior staff features writer for her school paper, the Asbury Collegian, as well as a member of the swim team.

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