Calabar and Lena (and their humans) at Slide Mountain Ranch, Oct. 2010
As do most folks I know, I have an if-I-won-the-lottery fantasy. In honor of my dear leprechaun-like father (gone two years as of tomorrow and missed tremendously), I am going to indulge in a little dreaming out loud. It is only because of Dad that I even bother to buy lottery tickets, after all.
If I won the lottery--and a significant win it would have to be--I would have a place for ex-racehorses to transition. Bar would be the mascot, Lena the greeter and resident cow expert. I would try not to keep all of them.
There would be a trail or gallop or whatever you want to call it around the perimeter of the property. It would definitely (definitely!) not look like a track. It would be a place for walking on a loose rein or for galloping because sometimes that is the only right answer.
There would be a covered arena, large and well-lit for winter and night-time riding.
There would be a jump arena with easily-changed obstacles for all levels of horses and riders.
There would be a large covered round pen for groundwork and lunging.
There would be a deep pit soft dirt and/or sand for rolling. Bar promises he'll share.
There would be cows because I think every horse (or at least most of them) can benefit from a little cow-work.
There would be hot water wash racks for spoiled horses.
I would have all kinds of guest trainers--from Dressage to cutting and everything in between--maybe even some of the famous ones.
I would hire my friend Devon to help the horses ease from the track to their next job. Mostly because she can handle fast horses at racing speed and I can't yet.
I would hire my friend Karen to help with retraining and body work--massage for the horses and Karate for the potential owners.
I would blog and photograph and promote ex-racehorses hopefully as well as Lynn over at LOPE does.
That is all just my starting point--totally impractical and subject to change based on cold reality. But it is still my dream.
Why? Because as bratty as my ex-racehorse threatened to be tonight, he is fun to ride--engaged and thinking all of the time. Athletic, too. I have to be sure to point him firmly in the right direction, but when we get there, we get there together. These horses are worth more than their speed at the track. They have big hearts and a huge work ethic.
Roll that all up and it's a beautiful thing. Almost as beautiful as my ex-racehorse and his soft, fuzzy nose.
This post is dedicated to my father, Patrick Craig Boyd. He was a gentle and intelligent man who understood and accepted the misunderstood and loved us all anyway. I miss you, Dad, though that sounds incredibly inadequate in the shadow of what I feel.