Retired harness racing horses retrained to avoid slaughter

At Photo Finish Farm in Buxton there's been hundreds of retired harness racing horses who have been retrained to ride under saddle to avoid being slaughtered.

BUXTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Harness Racing draws betting at tracks up and down the state. It's a huge industry, but the horses aren't always the winners in the race, or in life.

At Photo Finish Farm in Buxton, Robyn Cuffey has been taking in retired harness racers since 1983. She retrains them to ride under saddle and then adopts them out to homes looking for a good pleasure horse. A job she does to make sure that the standardbreds aren't shipped to a slaughter house after retirement.

"They'll say if you don't come get this horse I'll have to sell it to the killer, or I'm going to have to sell it to the Amish," said Cuffey. "Either way they end up in the kill pen because the Amish work them hard and when they're done that's their version of a pick up truck."

She hasn't been able to keep track of all the horses, but says the amount she's retrained has to be in the hundreds. The training starts with ground work getting the horses used to the equipment, and then they're ready to have a rider get on their back. Once they're used to that and able to get their balance they're ready to head outside and ride the trails. 

"Very proud of the horse and hopeful that the owner will appreciate," said Cuffey. "I mean they've been given a gift of a really special horse."

Click here to learn more about Photo Finish Farm and for more information about adoption through Futures for Standardbreds, click here

 

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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