January 2017 Issue - page 8

Page 8
January 2017
PENNSYLVANIA EQUESTRIAN
By Suzanne Bush
“I had a great horse for the
first time, Saratoga Jack,” Kate
Goldenberg says. “Of course, I
get a great horse in a year they
don’t pay me the money.”
She’s standing in a muddy
lane between two pastures at her
farm, Safe Haven Equine in Per-
kasie. “They think we’re sheiks,”
she says, struggling to explain
why Pennsylvania legislators
took nine months to fix a critical
flaw in racing reform legislation
passed last February. While the
legislation languished in Harris-
burg, awaiting what turned out to
be a simple fix, breeders’ awards
were not distributed.
For nine months, many
Pennsylvania breeders struggled
to ensure their farms and their
horses would survive the im-
passe. For nine months, Gold-
enberg had to depend on the
generosity of other farmers—hay
farmers, grain farmers—to keep
her horses fed.
To the legislators, the issue
was a clerical error they would
eventually correct—just some
words on paper. To small horse
breeders like Goldenberg, it was
a catastrophe.
The legislators, she be-
lieves, have a profoundly
distorted perception of what life
is like on farms like hers. The
fencing is good enough “to hold
the horses in,” she says, point-
ing to sagging posts and droop-
ing wires. But they need repair.
“One thing is that, I got part of
my money in November.” But
she needed it much earlier in
the year for necessary repairs to
her fences and elsewhere on the
property.
Not knowing when or if the
money would come added to her
worries. “I have no idea what
I’m dealing with. I can’t move. I
certainly can’t call up the fence
company,” she explains. “What
I got (in November) was a good
Band-Aid and it helped me pay
the farmers.”
While she’s grateful for all
the help she got from other farm-
ers, she feels as if her worries
compounded theirs. “Everybody
that helps me is hungry. No
one’s a millionaire who lives in
a mansion or drives a Mercedes.
These are hard-working people.”
She pauses, reflecting on how a
simple sentence in a law could
create so much hardship. “Their
risk level is weather and other
things. Their other risk is they
finally get their product in and
they hand it to me and then I
don’t pay. And I hadn’t paid their
bill since January.”
Switching Gears
Goldenberg says that when
the breeders’ awards were sus-
pended, she had to figure out how
to generate revenue so she could
Racing Reform
Snafu a Heavy
Burden for
Pennsylvania
Horse Breeders
(Continued on page 20)
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