With this issue, and the start of our 25th year, Pennsylvania Equestrian becomes East Coast Equestrian! The change allows us to cover the news beyond the Pennsylvania border. (In this issue, you will find articles about New Jersey’s Standardbred Retirement Foundation and up and coming Maryland polo star Brandon Wells’ trip to represent the US in India.) We look forward to covering the events, people, horses and news in PA, NJ, MD, and DE and to adding to our stable of 17 national awards for editorial excellence.
But that’s not all.
We are offering a FREE one year subscription to the print publication for new readers in New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. Just email your name and mailing address to PAEquest@aol.com – in the subject line put Free Subscription.
And: Print subscribers get FREE unlimited classifieds in our February, March and April issues. Free classifieds are available to non-commerical individuals only. Not a print subscriber? New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland horse owners can sign up free by emailing their name and mailing address to PAEquest@aol.com. Elsewhere, it’s just $20 for an ongoing (not annual) subscription.
With the new format we are striving to make East Coast Equestrian even more relevant to readers. Send us your news and your thoughts!
Winston Churchill, who played polo internationally, famously said 'A polo handicap is a passport to the world'. Brennan Wells, who represented the United States at the 11th Manipur Polo International Invitational in Imphal, Manipur, India in November, knows firsthand how true that is.
Brennan, a senior at Hereford High School in Parkton, MD, and his sister Marissa are third generation polo players whose parents and grandfathers played the game. In 2013 the Wells family traveled to Zimbabwe where Kelly and Marissa played in a women’s tournament. In November Brennan and Kelly, who runs Marlan Farms in Freeland, MD, a polo school specializing in interscholastic polo, traveled to India, just days before Brennan’s 18th birthday.
Brennan had been spotted by Ed Armstrong, manager of the American International Polo Foundation, at the US Polo National Youth Tournament Series Finals in Santa Barbara, CA in early September. Armstrong needed a two-goal player for the team and was impressed with Brennan.
Over their combined racing careers the trotting horses had won almost $1.4 million.
At the final count, there were 40 standardbreds, mares and geldings, ranging in age from 10 to 24. They were bred throughout North America - in Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Canada.
Big cash winners, slow pokes or unraced, they all ended up in the same miserable fate last month: two kill buyers’ lots in central Pennsylvania.
Keeping them off the trailer to a slaughter plant in Quebec would require upwards of $30,000 just to pay the dealers.
That’s when the New Jersey-based Standardbred Retirement Foundation, the only non-profit organization devoted solely to saving the harness racing breed, got to work.
Spreading the word on social media through its partner, the Facebook group Save Our Standardbred from Slaughter (SOSS), the two groups made urgent calls over the course of a November weekend as the number of horses grew from 38 to 40 and the clock ticked toward shipping time.
At age fifty-five, I’ve finally developed the confidence to reach for my dreams. So when I meet a young woman who already stands out in her career, with self-assurance combined with a love for horses, I am instantly curious.
I had the privilege to interview Katie Griffith Clare, who lost her mother while too young, with whom she shared a love of horses, and knew she wanted to make a difference. Today Katie connects all three, patrolling the U.S. border. Katie and her steadfast steed are the living wall—the one President Trump would find almost impossible to build of brick and mortar because of terrain.
In some border areas a wall would be impractical, but horses can easily journey. According to Katie, horses even help by detecting sounds and smells, keen only to the animal.