What does H.O.U.R.S.E. stand for?
H.O.U.R.S.E. is an acronym for the Humane Organization for UnRaceable Standardbred Equines.
What is a Standardbred?
Standardbred horses are an American breed originating in the 1800's during a time when our nation
depended upon horse drawn carriages for transportation. There was a great deal of pride in having a smart moving
horse in harness and the urge to compete was a natural result.
Standardbreds claim as their foundation sire the great Hambletonian whose descendants became the fastest horses in harness
racing, first in big wheel jigs around the town common and then faster carts on well groomed race tracks.
Where do unraceable Standardbreds come from?
In our program, unraceable Standardbreds come from caring owners in harness racing who don’t want to send their horses to the sales where anything can happen. These are the people of harness racing who want their horses to have bright futures in loving homes with responsible horse keepers.
Isn't it hard to retrain a mature horse after a racing career?
The training of any horse depends upon the horseman’s knowledge. Standardbreds are very sociable with people and very willing to work. TTEAM, TTOUCH, Join-Up, clicker training and classical non-confrontational, non-violent techniques work well. The transition to saddled work and balancing a rider are effortless for the Standardbred. We offer several clinics and workshops in various techniques that work for us.
Can Standardbreds be ridden? After all, they are harness (driving) horses.
Of course Standardbreds can be ridden; but they need to be taught the skill and command of carrying a rider. Once retrained for riding, the bonus is they are still good driving horses.
My riding teacher says they can’t canter and they have a funny gait; what is she talking about?
Standardbreds are born to trot or pace. The trot is a diagonal two beat gait and the pace is a lateral
two beat gait. When trotting a horse, English riders will post (rise) to this beat and cover great distances efficiently.
It is also a very popular gait when driving a horse for pleasure. The pace is wonderful once the Standardbred learns
to slow it down to jogging speed. It offers a swaying motion which can be more comfortable for riders with
arthritis or back trouble. When riding the pace, it’s most comfortable to sit fully
seated in your saddle and let your hips and lower back relax and sway
with the motion. Some Standardbreds will even offer a single foot gait (similar to
PasoFino horses) and this is pure pleasure to ride!
Is it true that race horses don’t know how to stop?
While race horse training doesn’t always include teaching a horse to whoa, at H.O.U.R.S.E. we spend time specifically teaching each horse to whoa and stand for grooming, farrier care, mounting and dismounting. We even hold a Whoa! Clinic every year to teach these easy, gentle and effective techniques for a reliable whoa. Whoa is in the horse’s brain, not the mouth or the bit.
How does one adopt a horse?
At H.O.U.R.S.E in VT we begin with a
preliminary application process. This includes a brief interview, the
submission of a complete pre-application form, a $50 processing fee, and a
visit to your facility. Then when we have a potential horse to
match you with, you are invited to come and ride and/or drive the horse
at the foster farm in Jeffersonville, Vermont.