RRTP: Why was the decision made to start this organization?
Hastie: There was a growing sense of shared responsibility emerging at the time, that instead of a few philanthropists, often the same people funding the majority of the aftercare efforts out there, the industry needed a broader, more systematic and automatic accrediting and funding mechanism in place to raise the standards for aftercare, and broaden the base of financial support for those out there already caring for retired Thoroughbreds.
RRTP: What are some of the major goals?
Hastie: Our top goals continue to be first, maintaining the most comprehensive accreditation process in the industry, and second, broadening the base of financial support for the outstanding work being done by TAA accredited partners. We have developed a rigorous and thorough accreditation process and it has been approved by the AAEP and American Humane Society. We will continue to make sure our accredited partners comply with, and uphold our strict Code of Standards by measuring their operations; horse and health care management; education; facility standards and services; and adoption policies and protocols.
RRTP: What are some of the biggest projects you are planning in 2014?
Hastie: A lot of charities maybe take on big projects outside the scope of their mission, so the projects I remain focused on are accreditation and funding. As good as our accreditation process is, and as stringent as our Code of Standards is, as we accredit more organizations, in 2014 I am committed to remaining focused on maintaining our high standards for accreditation and review of our accredited partners in the five areas I mentioned. As for funding, when TAA was formed, the idea was to engage every touch point of a Thoroughbreds life, and the stallion owners, sales companies, consigners and buyers have stepped up in a big way. They were the first to get behind us. Moving forward, I’ve already had a few great meetings with trainers, and I’m seeing some progress being made with Jockeys too. Thanks to our media partners like HRTV, TVG, TDN, DRF, Blood Horse, etc., I will have a lot of help reaching out to other industry groups and fans to broaden the base of financial support for TAA. Bottom line, we will only be successful in helping our accredited aftercare partners provide even more opportunities for retired racehorses if everyone joins the Thoroughbred owners and industry organizations like the NTRA, NYTHA and the Maryland Horsemen who made the first $1,000,000 worth of grants possible last December.
RRTP: Why do you feel the work you are doing through this organization is so important for the industry as a whole?
Hastie: I’ve heard this question a lot, and because I’ve raised money for the Red Cross and other organizations outside of the horse industry, I have seen firsthand how much easier it is to solve big challenges when everyone gets behind a cause. And, having grown up on a small horse farm, I remember how much the Thoroughbreds my sister Beth and I enjoyed meant to us. I believe every retired racehorse deserves an opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling life. Whether that’s retirement, retraining, adoption, or for those who, according to AAEP guidelines, just need a peaceful and humane send-off; for all of these reasons, I know that the work being done by TAA’s accredited aftercare partners is critical to this industry, and I am proud to be playing a very small role in making it possible for them to fulfill TAA’s mission.
RRTP: What are some of the most positive changes you have seen in the racing industry, regarding second careers, in the past few years?
Hastie: Honestly, I’ve been at the Red Cross focused on providing emergency shelter, clothing, food and other supplies to individuals and families displaced by natural disasters over the last few years. I am new to the racing industry, but I can tell you in the last couple of months, no matter which one of TAA’s accredited aftercare facilities I visit – I continue to meet the most passionate people, with the biggest hearts, and they love providing Thoroughbreds with an opportunity to retire, or find a second career. We share a lot of very positive success stories on our FaceBook page. Since our partners were accredited, twenty in 2013 and three in 2012, TAA is proud to have financially supported the adoption of approximately 960 Thoroughbreds. I can personally tell you that each and every one of those stories represents a positive outcome.
RRTP: Any other comments you would like to add?
Hastie: A couple of things. Thanks to anyone out there looking to buy a horse who considers a retired racehorse. The first horse I every rode in a Grand Prix was a Thoroughbred named James Bond. My sister Beth and I also had some success adopting a Thoroughbred named Fancy Lane from the track. There was also Sticky Lugar, and a few others I can’t remember, but the point is, when I was a kid, there were a lot of famous Thoroughbreds like Gem Twist, Touch of Class, Jet Run, Albany, etc. and they were winning everything on the international Show Jumping scene; so adopting or buying a retired Thoroughbred, or a claimer like Idle Dice was at one point, is something everyone should consider. Beyond that, I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today, and I would like to ask you, and all of your readers to stop by ThoroughbredAftercare.org and make a small gift to TAA, today.
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) is 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.