Posts Tagged With: horse rescue

A little encouragement goes a LONG way!

This is just too exciting not to post. I don’t mean to brag (even though I know I brag all the time, because, well… I’m awesome!), but my human and I were featured on New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program‘s Facebook page! They posted a photo of us jumping five feet on their Facebook page to show people that small horses can still do anything that big horses can do, as long as they have a good human and a big heart!

 

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Friends, this just goes to show you that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. When I left the racetrack all those many years ago, I was certain that my failures on the track would mean a one-way ticket to the livestock auction, which would almost definitely mean death for a scrawny little guy like me! But I was rescued by a wonderful woman named Phyllis Dawson, and soon after that, I was adopted by my Mommy and Daddy. Even though I wasn’t adopted through the “New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program,” I still feel like I was absolutely one of the lucky ones. And I have all the respect in the world for “New Vocations,” because they’re dedicated to helping all of my friends and relatives find a new life after they are done racing.

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes. Most of the horses arriving at New Vocations are injured and thin, suffering the normal occupational hazards of racing. Without a useful skill to offer, their previous option was often a one-way ticket to the local livestock auction.

New Vocations provides a safety net for these horses, matching them with qualified individuals and following up on their rehabilitation and vocational training to ensure a successful transition. Our focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose.

Nearly 5,000 retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations’ efforts since its inception. These horses have come from 30 different racetracks and have been adopted by families throughout the country.”

Thank you, New Vocations, for giving me such amazing and heartfelt encouragement. Mommy and I are ecstatic, and we really appreciate all the work you do to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds after their racing careers are over!

Well, that’s about all I have to say for now, y’all. Thanks for sharing in my excitement, friends, and remember: you can do anything if you put your mind to it! And don’t forget to tell your humans about New Vocations, so they can spread the word to any of their human friends who are looking to change the life of a lucky horse in need of a second chance.

Catch y’all later!

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Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Beginnings

I’m a pretty happy horse. I have everything I could ever want, and then some. I get to do what I love, and I have humans who love me more than anything else in the world. All in all, I’d have to say my life is perfect.

My life wasn’t always this happy, though. I used to be a racehorse, and although I love running fast, I hated racing. All I could ever think about was jumping… and that’s probably why I didn’t win either of the two races I ran when I was just two and three years old. I’m one of the lucky ones, though, because a nice lady saw me and realized that I wasn’t made for racing. And, instead of sending me to the slaughter house, like so many other ex-racehorses, she took me to her farm in Virginia where I could rest my tired young bones, play with other baby horses my own age, and wait for the perfect human to come along and give me the life I always dreamed of – one where I could jump and play and be whoever I am.

After living in a nice, big pasture for six months with a bunch of other playful babies like me, the nice lady who took me in started talking about finding me a new home. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, or if I’d have to go back to running races, so I tried to behave the best I could and show the humans around me how much I loved to jump, in hopes that someone would adopt me who loved jumping, too.

Even though I was “up for adoption,” not a lot of people came to look at me. The other horses who were ready to find new homes had a lot of people trying them out, but they were all much bigger than I was, and they told me they’d lived their entire lives on that farm. Their dad was a famous horse who did eventing – whatever that meant – and sometimes they laughed and told me that I’d never find a human because I was too small, too scrawny, too skinny and too weak. I began to worry that no one would want me, and I’d have to go back to the track, after all.

Then, one day in the middle of winter when I was three years old, the lady who took me in said that someone was coming to look at me. She told me to be on my best behavior, because the person who was coming to visit saw my picture on a website and sounded very interested. So, even though my hair was long and shaggy, and my feet were a little sore from standing outside on the frozen ground with no shoes, I held my head up high and gave my best smile as I walked into the indoor arena where the new person was apparently waiting. When I walked in, I saw her getting off another horse, and my heart sank a little. But then I saw her smile, and I walked right up to her and gave her a big kiss on the cheek. She put her arms around my neck and said, “I’ve been waiting for you, you know.” That made me feel much better, and I couldn’t wait to show her all of the things I’d learned since I left the racetrack – especially how much I loved to jump.

The girl who came to look at me didn’t care that I was small, because she was small, too. She didn’t care that I was young and didn’t know much, because she said she wanted to teach me things “the right way,” and I guessed that meant that other people had done things wrong before. Which I agreed with, because I was forced to race when I didn’t like to race, and when I was too young to be doing such hard work. She told me that she loved jumping and wanted a horse who loved jumping, too, and I was so excited! After she let me warm up a little bit, she pointed me at a little jump in the middle of the arena, and I jumped over it as high as I could so she would know that I loved jumping, just like she did. She said that I left the ground “like an explosion,” which no one had ever said before, but she sounded so happy that I knew she meant it in a good way.

And then, she said something that no one had ever said before. “I don’t want to do too much, because I can tell that he’s a little foot-sore. But I’d like to put a deposit down on him, and pay for him to have shoes and a stall until he’s no longer sore, and then I’ll come back and ride him again before I take him home.” She got off my back and put her arms around my neck again. I did my best to hug her back, and I wished I could tell her that I loved her, and I couldn’t wait to start my new life with her. Since I didn’t have arms to hug her with, I gave her another kiss on the cheek, instead. She laughed and said, “It’s only our first date and you’re already kissing me? I knew I liked you!”

That night, for the first time in my life, I actually got to sleep in a nice, warm, cozy stall. I was so happy that the girl wanted me as much as I wanted her. I figured that I probably wouldn’t see her again for a couple weeks, until I had shoes on and my feet weren’t sore anymore – but she came back three or four times to see me and spend time with me, even though she couldn’t ride me! And then, for the first time in my life (again), a fairy-man came out and trimmed my toenails and put metal shoes on my feet. I never would have guessed that having metal nailed to my feet would feel good, but it actually felt great! I no longer winced every time I took a step on hard ground, because my feet didn’t even touch the ground anymore! And I felt like I was floating, not just because of the shoes, but because I knew that I was going to go home with the best human ever.

Kissing my new human on our first date

Kissing my new human on our first date

My new human came back again to ride me one more time, and she brought a new blanket, a new halter, a new bridle, some colorful leg wraps, some new brushes and a whole bunch of treats for me. She also brought a vet with her who checked me out and made sure I was healthy and didn’t have any problems or anything. I stood as tall and as proud as I could, just to make sure he gave me a good report card – but my new human was all smiles, so I wasn’t too worried.

Well, to make a long story shorter, my new human bought me and put me on a trailer, which took me to New York, where I started my new life as a “future Grand Prix jumper.” Since then, I’ve lived in Florida and moved to Tennessee, where I now live. I can’t wait to tell you the rest of the story, but that will have to wait. I hear the grain buckets rattling, so it’s time for me to go. Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon! I want to tell you how I jumped out of the paddock (twice), and about the first time I ever got to walk in a river! And now… it’s time for my dinner grain.

Yep. I sure do love my life.

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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