ANNAPOLIS—The Humane Society of the United States today honored Steuart Pittman, founder of the Retired Racehorse Project, as its Humane Horseman of the Year. This award is given on an annual basis to an individual who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to protect American equines. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman is being recognized for his commitment to the retraining of former racehorses for second careers, as well as his successful efforts to gain endorsements from the Maryland Horse Council on key equine protection federal legislation.
Pittman, who has a background in the Thoroughbred industry, saw that its retired racing athletes were not being adequately recognized, retrained or promoted for second careers in other sporting disciplines. He was the primary force in forming the Retired Racehorse Training Project, now known as the Retired Racehorse Project, to encourage greater racehorse retraining and aftercare, and educate the public about the other roles for which these horses are well-suited. RRP facilitates placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses for second careers in equestrian sports and works closely with the farms, trainers and organizations that transition them.
RRP's educational programming and its signature event, the Thoroughbred Makeover, have made a significant impact on the Thoroughbred aftercare industry,jump-starting demand for retired racehorses and serving as a complement to other aftercare organizations and initiatives. Since its inception in 2013, the Thoroughbred Makeover has impacted over 2000 Thoroughbreds. The event hosts over 800 trainers who volunteer their time to retrain former racehorses in a variety of disciplines including dressage, ranch work, hunter/jumper and eventing.
Pittman was also instrumental in securing the Maryland Horse Council’s endorsement of two major equine protection bills in Congress. The Maryland Horse Council was the first state horse council in the nation to endorse the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R.961. This federal bill will prevent horse slaughter plants from opening in the U.S. and end the current export of horses abroad for slaughter for human consumption, a practice 80% of the American public opposes.
Keith Dane, senior adviser on equine protection at the Humane Society of the United States stated, “We are pleased to honor Steuart Pittman for his longstanding commitment to protecting horses, including his dedication to the promotion and aftercare of retired racehorses. As a lifelong fellow horseman and equine advocate, I am thrilled to pay tribute to Steuart’s tireless work and advocacy on behalf of horses.”