November 14, 2008 -- Hanover Shoe Farms, the most prolific Standardbred breeding farm in the world, will be honored with the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) 2008 award for outstanding service in equine welfare, the Lavin Cup.
The Lavin Cup, named for former AAEP President A. Gary Lavin, VMD, will be presented to a representative of Hanover Shoe Farms on December 9 at the AAEP's 54th Annual Convention in San Diego, Calif. Each year the Lavin Cup is awarded to a non-veterinary individual or organization that has exemplified outstanding care and compassion for horses and upheld AAEP horse welfare guidelines.
Hanover Shoe Farms, located in Hanover, Pa., and owned by the partnership of Jim Simpson, Russell Williams and the Paul Spears family, sets an example for treatment of retired horses in an effort to reduce the population of unwanted horses. The operation adheres to a policy of retiring broodmares over the age of 15 deemed no longer fit for the breeding program. More than 100 are currently retired on the farm.
An estimated 1,000 retired broodmares have lived out their natural lives at Hanover Shoe Farms, as well as some retired stallions, racehorses and grade horses used as lead ponies. They also care for the 1991 Hambletonian winner, 20-year-old Giant Victory, repatriated from an unsuccessful stud career in Italy this year with the help of his former owner, Ted Gewertz. Every retired horse receives the same level of routine health care, nutrition and hoof treatment afforded to horses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Nominators praised Hanover Shoe Farms for acting "ahead of the curve" in retired horse welfare by exercising compassion and generosity to its horses.
"At Hanover, we like to say, 'We set a standard for excellence,'" said Jim Simpson, Hanover Shoe Farms president. "In our view, no animal is unworthy of our high standard of care. These horses are here in our service; it is our responsibility to care for them for all of their lives, even when they are no longer commercially productive. We are delighted the AAEP has recognized our commitment to the horses under our care."
Hanover Shoe Farms was established in 1926 as a Standardbred breeding operation, boasting the production of eight Horses of the Year. It is the perennial leading breeder in North America, with the winners of $24.6 million in 2007 alone. The operation has grown from a single barn to a conglomerate of 27 farms comprised of 3,000 acres in two states, 100 employees and about 1,200 horses at the peak of the season.
Past recipients of the Lavin Cup include the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Inc., and the American Quarter Horse Association.
The AAEP, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the health and welfare of horses through professional development of its members, educational resources for horse owners and research. The AAEP reaches more than five million horse owners through its nearly 10,000 veterinary members worldwide.