Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teaching An Old Horse New Tricks

The first video entry for Alex Brown's Anti-Horse Slaughter is now online. To view the video, click on this link. All of the videos in this contest have a PG13 rating, so please feel safe to visit the link and add your comments.

The video was created by Wendy Uzelac who has been featured previously on Triple Dead Heat with regard to the great work she has done with ex-racers Jaguar Hope and Nannie's Rio. You can read the first round of Wendy's story, Permanent Winner's Circle: Horses With Homes, by clicking here.

Jaguar Hope is now learning the ropes in the world of Dressage. Wendy sent me a link to a video below of Jag adapting to his new life off the track. It's interesting to see how quickly Jag is learning the footwork involved and how responsive he has been to training.

A good friend asked me over the weekend what someone would do with an ex-racehorse. It was an honest question and one that Alex Brown seems to address daily. Here is an article Brown wrote recently entitled The Battle For Mindshare On The Horse Slaughter Issue.

To answer my friend's question more directly, there are many potential new careers for retired racehorses. Many of which are documented here including, but not limited to:

- Pleasure Horse/companion
- Eventing
- Dressage
- Track Pony
- Jumper

A couple interesting stories from the link above include the tale of Twoey and His Goat, which can be ordered in book form from the CANTER website. Here is an excerpt:

"His racing name was “Two Links Back” but everyone called him “Twoey.” A true story: Twoey would NOT RACE unless Kidd the Goat went to the starting gate with him, they were inseparable.

Twoey was a champion racehorse and even won “Colt of the Year.” When Twoey left racing because of injury, he came to a Thoroughbred rescue organization called CANTER, in which Robbie is actively involved. Robbie helped find a permanent home for Twoey AND the goat!

“Twoey and the Goat” is the charming story of how these two unlikely friends met, their adventures and mis-adventures, and how Twoey became a champion racehorse with the help of his teenage owner and of course, Kidd the goat.

While Twoey worked hard to achieve his goals, their bond of friendship helped them survive challenges of the racing world and brought Twoey to a winners circle he would never have to leave.

CANTER placed them both at a retirement farm in Missouri where Twoey fans can get updates on him at

Another interesting story is that of Olympic Equestrian Becky Holder and her ex-racer Courageous Comet who competed for a spot on the 2008 U.S Olympic team. You can read a profile of that event here.

Here's an excerpt of their story:

It’s been a big year for Becky Holder; not only was she the runner-up at the highly prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, she’s headed to the 2008 Olympics to compete in eventing. I think she’ll be US rider I’m rooting for because she’s riding Courageous Comet, a gray off-the-track thoroughbred. And a handful of the other top horses she’s trained and shown are also ex-racers including Highland Hogan with whom she was an alternate for the 2000 Olympics.

While many of these OTTBs have adapted to new forms of competition, it's enough in my eyes that a horse simply finds a home to retire to as a companion. The Fans of Barbaro group who congregate on Alex Brown's website have proven there is no shortage of homes or funding if enough notice is given. A home can be found, money can be raised. Slaughter is never the answer to the question of what to do with a horse when his racing career is no longer profitable.

If you feel like you have a stance to take on this issue, I urge you to watch Wendy's video and then enter your own response to the contest. The winner of the contest will have $1,000 donated to the rescue foundation of their choice. The details can be found here: YouTube Horse Slaughter Contest.

For background information, contestants should read the essay on Horse Slaughter that deconstructs the issue in detail.

If you need a little inspiration, check out the Alex Brown Youtube channel for some excellent horse rescue videos.


LindaVA said...

Thank you for this wonderful post and for helping bring attention to the issue. We need to do more to find homes for these horses who give so much on the track for our enjoyment. Slaughtering them should NEVER be an option.

Donna said...

Hey Keith, Tell your friend OTTB's can be retrained for anything. We specialize in bridle-less training and even ride our race track ponies with no bridles. TB's are incredibly smart, that is why most people have trouble training them- you have to be smarter than the horse, lol
We have already adopted out 8 horses this year, all exracehorses, from our Remember Me Rescue. Some to be lesson horses, others to jump or trail ride. They can be retrained for anything after their careers at the track are over.
Great post by the way...

Handride said...

Hey, there is new code for a widget version of the standings, if you don't like the widget there are newer standings, go to the TBA widget page, click Get this Widget, below the standings. The standings you have up have old advertising. let me know if you make any changes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone for the kind comments...

Donna - that's a great site you have and i will be sure to mention it in future postings.



Wanna Reading said...

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