Brown standardbred gelding, born 1st September 2,000. 56 lifetime starts in racing for 21,000 dollars in prize money (8 wins, 12 seconds, 5 thirds).
It’s a fairly brief set of statistics that do not even begin to describe this funny brown horse who came into my life as a freebie five years ago. At the time I was waiting for Joe to grow up and I had recently got rid of a an Arab cross who had spent much of the previous 12 months trying to injure me.. I wanted a “happy hacker” – someone quiet and sane who I could do a bit of trail riding on while waiting for Joe to be ready. But the budget was pretty small – after all this was “only temporary”.
When I heard about a card in the local deli window offering a horse “free to a good home” I thought it was worth a look: the girl who owned him at the time was a novice herself and he was too green for her, being straight off the track. I immediately liked this rather odd looking horse (dark brown, with ticking all through his coat across both sides of his ribs and flanks) with the worried look on his face and the big head. He trotted, not paced, when loose in the paddock so i thought it was worth a try. I gave her 50 dollars and made her write out a receipt, and brought him home.
I had never ridden a Standardbred before: the first time I sat on him it was like riding a drunken duck and the first time he paced I was completely lost!
But together we muddled through and before long he was trotting under saddle, whereupon I discovered he had an ENORMOUS trot which would make many warmbloods proud.
Of course, it wasn’t long before I started to wonder if he could do a 20km ride… which he did. Then a 40… I was quite sure he would not do an 80 without breaking down: after all he had almost 60 starts as a racehorse and he paddles horribly at trot – something had to give. I have been waiting for five years for this horse to break down! But we gave it a try anyway and he made it. Then he did another one.
He’s never got his Open status as then Joe was ready to start and I got busy. We really must give it a go sometime.
Nowadays, he looks after my husband:
Helps with barn chores:
And generally makes a pain of himself at bath time: you CANNOT use a hose nearby without him asking for a wash.
He has totally converted me to Standardbreds: he is kind, honest, and has the biggest work ethic of any horse I know. One day he will worry himself into an early grave. He has survived a serious bout of sand colic (and yes, I did spend 1500 dollars on my “free” horse). He is boss man in the paddock and excellent at putting cocky ponies and youngsters in their place.
This temporary horse will never leave…