Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Stride Looking For A Leg Up

A crisis can tear a community apart, but with a little human spirit a crisis can also bring people together and make the community stronger.

The good people and horses of BC based New Stride Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation are in the midst of a crisis and calling on the equine community for support to help find homes for needy horses.

“We had a generous benefactor who had agreed to foster eight New Stride horses, but fell victim to the financial crisis and was no longer able to support them,” explained New Stride’s President Kim Inglis. “As a result, he had to return the horses to New Stride, adding a significant strain to our budget. On average each horse costs about $550 per month (including vet, farrier, etc), so adding eight horses to our already full list effectively doubled the number we can sustain.”

Inglis, an Investment Advisor by day, is intent on leading by example having already adopted one of the eight equines - - an ex-racehorse by the name of Yoodaman.

“I wound up finding a diamond in the rough; a forever horse for me,” said Inglis. “When the horses arrived at our farm, I took one look at him and fell in love. He's an absolutely stunning big guy.”

Kim Inglis aboard former Stakes horse Yoodaman

However, with seven additional horses in need of a home, New Stride directors are struggling to meet the burden and have reached an impasse.

“Although we've been doing a lot of fundraising and have been working on finding adoptive homes for these horses, it's been very difficult,” stated Inglis. “The horses who were returned to us have varying issues that make them more difficult to adopt out. They are all capable of being ridden, but most are only useful for light riding.”

Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder, but what potential adoptee Sunny lacks in looks he more than makes up for with heart.

“He's a lovely little guy and is full of personality. He just loves attention and will follow you around the field like a little puppy dog,” laughed Inglis. “Although he is absolutely adorable, he's got rather ugly looking legs. He had clubbed feet as a yearling and went through surgery to correct them. He's sound on them though and with a bit of training, could probably make quite a nice little pony club horse.”

Sunny brings sunshine on a typically cloudy BC day

Sunny’s recovery from ligament surgery at Wits Ends Farm Equine Rehabilitation Centre has been remarkable. Currently in training, Sunny has demonstrated an ability to learn quite quickly. He is still very green, and needs a relaxed, experienced rider who can work with him to continue his training.

At the heart of the eight returnees is a pair of ex-racehorses named Grateful and Shaker. These two lovebirds had been enjoying their golden years but are now in need of a second honeymoon.

Shaker and Grateful share a moment

Grateful, a goofy gelding, and Shaker, a gentle gorgeous mare, are a colourful couple each over twenty years old.

“Shaker has been baby-sitting a young thoroughbred in a field on the other side of the farm and when I reunited her with Grateful last Sunday they were very happy,” said Inglis. “They are really good together.”

In her previous life, Shaker was a hard-knocking racehorse by the name of Stirred Not Shaken. In a racing career spanning from 1990-93, Stirred Not Shaken won six of her 38 starts earning a modest $16, 407.

Shaker broke her maiden at Exhibition Park (now Hastings) on June 16, 1991 in a 6.5 furlong sprint taking the lead from the gate and never looking back to win by two lengths. She possessed an ability to run a sharp, sub 22 second first quarter. The front-running style would become her calling card.

Hastings Racetrack in Vancouver, British Columbia

(Image by VancityAllie)

“Many people on the track still remember Shaker because she had tons of speed,” said Inglis. “She was a Three Martinis, a very popular sire many years ago.”

Shaker excelled in 4.5 furlong sprints and made the most of her short trips around Kamloops Racetrack with three wins in six starts. The BC bred sprinter traveled all across the western circuit also taking turns at Kin Park in Vernon, BC and Yakima Meadows in Washington.

As she traveled, Shaker drew the attention of many stables and was claimed repeatedly by trainers Judy Wilson and Quinton McCabe who each conditioned the mare on three separate occasions.

Once a racehorse - Shaker goes for a relaxing stroll

While Shaker was accustomed to moving from one barn to another over the course of her career, Grateful was literally homeless when found by a New Stride board member.

“He had been abandoned and was left to fend for himself,” said Inglis. “Although he's got a tattoo, the last few numbers are faded due to age, so we can't identify him with one hundred percent certainty. We decided to name him Grateful because he seemed quite appreciative of our care and attention.”

New Stride directors made a special exception to their mandate that dictates the program must only accept horses that have raced in BC, as the benefactor was willing to cover the costs and allow Grateful to live out the balance of his life at their farm.

That retirement was not meant to be for Grateful and Shaker and this time both horses are looking for a new home.

The pair would make excellent companions for the field and New Stride directors desperately hope that a loving patron will find it in their heart to give the doting duo a home for Valentine’s Day.

With funds draining daily, New Stride is asking the equine community to make a generous punt on their behalf. It’s a seven-horse field and each of these horses are deserving of a loving home.

Can you pick a winner?

For more details about adopting one of the seven horses, please visit the New Stride Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation website.
Please click here to make a PayPal donation to New Stride. Cheques made out to New Stride Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation can be sent to: Meril Agrey, 8376 Bradner Road, Abbotsford, B.C. V4X 2H5

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