By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Carmen Kramer, program coordinator for the New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society, wants to make one point crystal clear. “When people hear the word ‘retired’ they think old and slow,” she says. “That is not the case with the thoroughbred horses we have under our care. Very few are slow.”
New Stride is a registered charity dedicated to finding adoptive homes and alternative careers for racehorses no longer able to compete.
The concept is simple: since 2002 concerned owners, breeders and backstretch workers have been seeking opportunities for a dignified retirement for as many thoroughbreds as possible.
The 12-member Board of Directors, volunteer driven, take great pride in the fact that over 150 horses have been placed in adoptive homes and provided new careers during the Society’s existence.
“We survive by donations from the general public and grants from Hastings Racecourse and the Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association (TOBA),” Kramer says. “We all work together. New Stride is one of two such charities in Canada accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. The TAA as well as the Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) also contribute to New Stride.”
Funds raised are used to cover foster care expenses such as feed, shipping and farrier services, basic re-training, veterinary expenses and miscellaneous items. “It is not unlike adopting a child. We look for permanent, qualified homes,” Kramer points out.
“Any time we can assist New Stride we are delighted to react,” says Hastings Racecourse general manager Darren MacDonald. “They are such a key part of our industry.”
As all good program coordinators do, Kramer is quick to mention the upcoming fifth annual Thoroughbred Jumper Challenge Series that includes three $1,500 competitions: Thunderbird Show Park on June 30 and Milner Downs Equestrian Centre on July 21 and July 28. The $3,000 New Stride Jumper Challenge Finale will take place at Thunderbird Show Park on Saturday, September 29.
“They are sponsored, free admission events,” Kramer says. “The Series is to raise the profile of our thoroughbreds and ultimately help find homes for these magnificent animals.”
When Kramer isn’t riding horses or attending to her administrative chores, she is readily available at Carmen@newstride.com to introduce aspiring volunteers to the program.