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Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: NYTHA’s Take the Lead

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we recognize the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Take the Lead aftercare program.

Racing at Saratoga. Flickr/Oliver Mallich/CC

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association launched the Take the Lead Thoroughbred Retirement Program in 2013 to help facilitate rehabilitation and retraining programs for horses coming off of New York tracks. Over 300 horses have been successfully placed since the program’s inception. Take the Lead helps bridge connections between NYRA trainers and their horses and the aftercare programs that rehabilitate, retrain and adopt out Thoroughbreds to second-career homes.

There is no fee for a trainer to retire a horse to Take the Lead, but donations are encouraged. Take the Lead requires a completed application to learn pertinent information about the horse, plus foal papers, negative Coggins and any pertinent x-rays or ultrasounds. Veterinarians inspect all retiring animals, and all colts and stallions are required to be gelded.

Take the Lead works with several partner programs to place horses, including New Vocations, ReRun Inc., The Exceller Fund, Second Chance Thoroughbreds, War Horses at Rose Bower, Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue and MidAtlantic Horse Rescue.

Programs like Take the Lead do some of the same work that a few trainers have been doing all along in the racing industry to make sure that their horses have “soft landings,” but making it easier for all trainers to get on board. NYRA has adopted a strict anti-slaughter policy that permanently revokes stalls at NYRA tracks from any trainer who is found to have knowingly sent a horse to slaughter.

To learn more about Take the Lead, please visit NYTHA’s page about racehorse aftercare. Did you acquire an OTTB through Take the Lead via a partner organization? Let us know in the comments!

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected] Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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