PLACED (Update post #25)9 Yr Old Race/War Veteran: Earned 300K/Yet No Retirement Fund
***In NEWARK, NY***
I am hoping to permanently place this guy in a home where he will be safe, cared for, appreciated, and allowed to "just be" a horse in retirement.
Out From Africa earned approximately $300,000 in 7 years of racing. He has been through several hands and for the last 5 years has been grinding out the paychecks in a particularly unsympathetic environment. Recently he fell down after a race (for the 2nd time) and was barred from competing at the track. His then current owner/trainer no longer had any use for him and was going to have a vet at the track put him down.
Out From Africa is a 9 yr old dark bay/brown TB gelding by Cape Town, out of a Mr Leader mare; noble bloodlines. He ran in Canada and the U.S. in stakes, handicaps, allowance races, and claimers. He won 12 races, never having any real time off (except during the cold NY winters), and showed up for nearly every "dance". Over time he started to bite. He threatened to kick if they tried to touch him in the wrong place (and you can be sure he was "touched" in the wrong places). Africa was not what you'd call a happy horse. He began to crib. He started getting unruly in the saddling paddock for the afternoon races making it a chore for the valets to tack him. He hated his owner/trainer (the trainer told me that himself). Finally Africa even refused to let the trainer put the bridle on him anymore (someone else always had to do it). This big, dark horse did all he could to let everyone know that he didn't want to race anymore. On one afternoon he pitched a particularly big fit while getting saddled for the race. But after 10 minutes of antics, they eventually got him tacked and sent him out to run again. So he ran. Again. And he bled. Again. He'd tried to tell everyone that he didn't want to run. But they hadn't listened. So now he got listed as a 2nd time bleeder and his trainer had to give him a mandatory break from racing. It was a few months before he ran. But he did run again. And again. And again. If horses could speak, I wonder what kind of language he would have used... He was such an honest horse. He would definitely let them know how he felt, but once he got on the track he would give it his all. "Heart" they say... He has "heart". The last time he ran he gave his all again. He was in 2nd place when he fell down at the finish line. This time it was the real finish line. HE was finished. There was speculation that he held his breath & ran out of air; or perhaps had a heart arrhythmia which surfaced under extreme exertion. Ironic - that word "heart" again... Whatever the cause, there was no need for tests because he was all done.
Out From Africa was at the end of the line. The adoption center didn't want him because he was older, and he cribbed, and was a generally unhappy horse with a presumably nasty disposition. "Heart" wasn't really a consideration. I got word that the adoption center was trying to contact the breeder to see if they would take him. But there was not enough time. I heard myself say "well, I'll take him". It kinda just slipped out.
So Africa came to my place. I didn't know what to do with him but I knew he'd have a soft landing and some time to breathe and be a horse. And that's what he's doing. He has come so far in just a couple of months. At first I left his stall door open so he could come & go as he pleased. For a while he spent most of his days in his stall as though it gave him a sense of security. Over time he went outside more & more, and eventually integrated into the herd. These days he nickers when I come out (especially if he thinks there's food involved), and follows me around a bit in the pasture (making it hard to get photos). He's kind of on the fringe with the other horses as though he's okay staying on the sidelines. But he and the lone mare have become fast friends and while they stay together most of the time, he seems content even when they are not.
I tacked him up & rode him in the round pen and around the pasture a couple of times - just to see if he'd let me. He did let me. And he was very quiet. I try not to touch him in the wrong places and I give him time to see that I mean him no harm when I'm doing things with him. He actually seems like a gentle wise old soul. He hasn't forgotten the bad stuff. But I think he knows I didn't do it. he lets me put fly spray on him now without tying him up as long as I have one hand touching him softly while I do it. He's learning to trust I think. And he's already learned to be happy. Or at least content. And isn't that what we all want?
Please, if there's someone who can give this guy what he needs for the rest of his life please contact me. He is safe with me for now. But I get laid off every winter and I worry about the expense of taking care of another TB that I never really planned for. As long as he's here he will be loved. But if at some point euthanasia becomes my only choice, I want to have at least given him the chance with someone else first. I still plan to contact his breeders but haven't done so yet.
With all the money this horse made for others, it's a crime that there's none for his own retirement.:(
I'll try to post a link here to his facebook album: