First, I want to celebrate Sarah for taking the risk to get this big off-the-track thoroughbred (OTTB) out of a bad situation, starting his rehab and heading him down the road to a life of purpose and love. Then hurrah to Caroline, who adopted him in June. I have written a couple of posts on his progress that you might want to go back and read, see the pictures, if you never have before.
This weekend was the first time Joey traveled away from Caroline’s home. She wasn’t sure how he would do. These thoroughbreds are a little intimidating. We love our OTTB Bruno to death, but we must always be aware that he has the power to hurt us. Not the desire, but they are big, strong and fast. So, Caroline was concerned. Joey had almost seven months of working out, of getting stronger, but ultimately if you want to show-you’ve got to go! A show horse has to be able to perform, calmly and easily, in any arena.
Like most OTTBs, it has not been a simple strategy of just food, exercise and then instant show horse. There is always something with these big horses and Joey was no exception. He had some leg and hoof issues to overcome. Many months, I am sure it felt to Caroline like one step forward, two steps back, this could be the mantra of the OTTB.
It was a beautiful day yesterday as I followed Caroline and Joey to Dev’s arena. Lauren was ride Feather after Joey’s lesson. Joey was excited and looking around as we waited for Don to drag the arena. He was definitely aware this was something new. But once he got in the ring he just settled in and worked. There was not a buck or skittish moment. He did his best to do what Dev and Caroline asked of him. On the race track, these horses are trained to gallop. They do not work on turning. They do not work on stopping. No time is spent getting the horse to have a nice trot (or any trot). The object is to run-fast!
Joey has a lot more work to do, learning to work off his hind-end, learning transitions, conquering working to the right as race horses run to the left, but in everything he was asked to do yesterday he was an all-star. So, more tales to tell on this boy as he matures and learns to be a pleasure horse. His old pictures brought tears to my eyes as I see how neglected he was but also how hard, even scarecrow thin, he tried to do what Caroline asked of him. He is a beautiful horse now with a big future ahead of him. Thank you Sarah and Caroline, what a save!