Farm market offers chance to help former race horses
Sometimes I feel sorry for city folk who think it’s boring to live in the country. They don’t know what they’re missing.
Take the weekend of Oct. 1 and 2, for example, when Barb Beaton will be hosting the third annual Shed Row Farm Market at her Fields and Flowers farm, to help the New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society care for more horses.
Barb will be offering visitors uppity cheese, face time with a sultry Thoroughbred mare named Cruella Deville, handmade baby clothes, and home-grown art and produce at 900 232 St.
There are signs, however, that news of this great event has reached people on the wrong side of the Fraser, who can’t resist a chance to shop for a good cause. Last year over 2,000 people came to pet the horses and left happy, bags bulging with locally produced treasures. Some New Stride horses even found new homes.
The two-day Shed Row Farm Market, held rain or shine, is in its third year and has become a major source of funding for New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society.
“The market is our largest annual fundraising event away from the track. Money raised on Oct. 1 and 2 will help us fund spaces to take on new horses this fall,” said New Stride president Marcy Emery.
Despite the current difficulty finding homes for horses in the Lower Mainland, Marcy says things are looking up for New Stride.
This year, members of the industry at Hastings Racecourse have created a program that gives owners a chance to donate a percentage of their winnings to New Stride to care for retired or injured race horses.
According to Marcy, it’s part of a North America-wide trend in the racing industry.
“More and more attention is being focused on the aftercare of the horses. The young, urban group, the market that the industry is hoping to attract to the (sport), is very concerned about animal welfare,” she noted.
The support New Stride is getting from the industry allows the non-profit, founded in 2002, to care for its horses until the right home comes along.
“There’s fierce competition to even give horses away this year. It’s especially challenging for us because we screen people carefully and ask them to sign a contract. It’s a longer process with us. Some people just give up and say it’s easier to get a free horse from Craigslist,” said Marcy.
At the moment, the foundation is providing care and retraining for eight non-competitive Thoroughbreds at two boarding farms in Abbotsford and Langley.
New Stride’s horses find new careers as eventers, polo mounts and even barrel racers.
“Why not? They’re fast, competitive and love to work,” said Marcy, who recently adopted her first Thoroughbred.
More information about the foundation and horses available for sponsorship or adoption can be found by visiting www.newstride.com. For more information about the Shed Row Farm Market, go to www.theshedrowmarket.com.