Here is some information about the Standardbred Performance Society and how we came into being. :)
Having been a member of my state's Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization (SPHO) for a few years, I started becoming dissatisfied with many things. Without going into detail here (trust me it is better if I do not....) I was specifically unhappy with the lack if support for those of us showing our STBs and for the anti-racing sentiment among members. It was always like I was blamed for "bragging" whenever I posted anything on the forum about how Dreamy did at a show. I wanted to make sure that others out there KNEW that STBs could be used for more than just pleasure and trail. I wanted to make sure that when someone found the site/forum, they KNEW there were successful show horses out there.
While the pleasure angle is a great way to promote the breed, and they are certainly great "backyard" and family horses, the next step in promotion really needed to be competition. But because so few of us were actually out there doing open showing, I was seen as a know-it-all and braggart. Well, fine. I am pretty confident in myself and do not feel bad about that. I know I am a good rider, I know I work my ass off to do well, and I make no apologizes for that. But without showcasing the STBs who are actually accomplishing something in the show ring (other than the local SPHO show or 4-H show....) I felt it was a real disservice to the breed.
Combine that with a very real and very negative anti-racing POV amongst members and I had pretty much given up. As treasurer, I had wanted to finish my term, but when a "lovely" member decided to verbally attack me at a meeting (to the point where I was ready to call 911....no joke) I resigned on the spot. It was ridiculous and petty and I WILL NOT allow anyone to treat me in such a fashion. At this point I do not see myself rejoining such a club. BLECH! :(
Again there are many other things that went into my decision, but again, really not appropriate for this blog. It would become waaaaay too obvious because the situations were so specific. But truly, I was not impressed with the attitudes of most members.
I am very happy and proud to be a member of the SPHO-New Jersey. They are a fabulous group of people and really do a top-notch job promoting STBs. However, I live eight hours from NJ. So, as much as I want to be an active member, it is really rather difficult. :( When there is a demo or other volunteer activity, it is more like "Hey, good luck guys and send me photos!" Not, "Hey I can help do that! I can be there for that meeting....etc etc." I have felt really bummed about about not having an organization I can truly be an active member of.
SO......a group of us here in New England decided that it was time to start our own organization. We will never be the SPHO-NJ and really there is no reason to try to be. :) They are doing a great job, but in all truth we just needed something closer. Right now we are in the infancy stages, coming up with bylaws and becoming incorporated. The Standardbred Performance Society (SPS) really wants to focus on supporting and promoting STBs out there in competition, from harness racing to jumping to dressage to barrel racing. There just needs to be a formal group to PROMOTE these horses in a new way, other than the typical "backyard family pleasure horse." And then there needs to be a core SUPPORT group for those of us doing so. There needs to be a resource for people who are training their STB to canter because they want to do a Training level dressage test. There needs to be a resource for people who want to learn more about STBs in the world of NBHA. There needs to be a resource for people who want the moral support when they are out there in the world of hunters, a STB among QHs and TBs.
There are many such performance STB organizations in Australia and Canada. Again too far away from me. :(
So here is the link to the SPS website. I encourage you to join! I want to make it a nationwide (world wide??) organization, but for now our few members are in the Northeast. We have done one demo so far this year and I will be speaking about the SPS at the Maine Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association meeting next week.
Edited to add: I personally had a bad experience with my state's SPHO and I realize that years ago the club had a different tone. Some folks might enjoy SPHO up here, but I personally did not. To each his own. :)