They call themselves ‘Go and Play Stables’, but this dedicated bunch of Standardbred horse lovers should be named ‘Go and Work Stables’.
This tireless bunch of women and men from the Peterborough, Ontario area have dedicated their spare time to retraining and rehoming retired Standardbred race horses.
The organization is the brain child of 34 year old Sarah Merriam-Waldram. In 2009, Sarah started bringing in Standardbred horses that were no longer competitive as race horses. With a desire to educate the riding horse industry about what they were missing, Sarah retrained the horses for riding and rehoming, and Go and Play Stables was born.
In the spring of 2013, with the upheaval in the Harness Racing industry and the demise of the Slots at Racetracks Program (SARP), Go and Play Stables was put to the ultimate test. With so many standardbreds at risk of being sent to auction, with the potential to end up in feed lots for slaughter, Sarah put on her game face and stepped up to the plate as an even more attentive advocate for the Standardbred.
Sarah reached out to the community in search of individuals who would share her passion and dream. Within a short period of time, Go and Play Stables grew into an extended family of exceptional volunteers, who each in their own unique way, contributes 100% to the overall success of the stable.
Wonderful people like Julie Craib, the Peterborough city bus driver, and Corinne Kack, the independent living assistant, and five other volunteers Sarah’s team keep Go and Play Stables running smoothly.
“We were down to our last bale of hay this past March. Our Comedy Show fundraiser was planned for that night,” Sarah said. “Thank goodness we were able to raise $300. It was just enough to buy the hay needed to get us through the winter.”
When there is the greatest need this group have come up with the most innovative ways to raise the needed funds. There was “A Night at the Races” event held at Woodbine Racetrack.
The group has sold Chestnut tree saplings, and even bagged up the composted horse manure and sold it to the general public. “ There’s still lots of manure left if anyone needs more,” laughs Sarah.
They received memorial donations when Jim Carr, owner of Big Jim, passed away. His family asked that those wishing to leave donations in memory of Jim, to please donate to ‘Go and Play Stables’.
Jack Darling became the group’s hero when he purchased the halter of Somebeachsomewhere at their fundraiser for 1,000 dollars.
They have a fishing derby fundraiser coming up on July 6, 2014, so grab your fishing pole and come out to Paudash Lake.
Go and Play Stables has become a registered charity, so those giving donations can receive tax deductible receipts.
Presently the Go and Play Stables have a popular retired race horse ready to be adopted. His name is Casimirbadmoonrisn
The group retrains and rehomes the famous and the not so famous.
They have connections with a horse feedlot in Ottawa. Whenever there is a standardbred horse come into the lot they are notified. If the Go and Play Stable did not take possession of this animal, its next stop would be the slaughter house in Quebec. The feedlot manager will call and Sarah and her team then go and purchase the horse.
These volunteers work all day at their full time jobs and then come out to Sarah’s farm after work to help her clean stalls and work with the horses. They volunteer their time and energy to make sure these horses find good homes.
How can we thank the tireless individuals at ‘Go and Play Stables’, The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society’ and the other adoption groups in Ontario? They have donated their time and efforts, and even their own money to keep these animals alive and well.
The Go and Play Stable will have a display set up at the fireworks night at Mohawk on June 20, 2014. Stop by and give them a big pat on the back or a hug, or better yet a donation. Let them know how truly grateful we are for their efforts.