This dark bay racehorse...
So last night I was running a horse for a trainer I often do free lance work for to make extra $$. In the paddock were 2 other horses who obviously didn't want to run - the #1 horse was trying to flip repeatedly when they put the saddle on him. The #10 horse was doing the same thing - then wouldn't let them get his blinkers on til they grabbed an ear to hold him still. The horse I was holding was still, but worried. He had some huge pineapples for ankles. I looked at my program - he is a 9 yo who has earned $278K. His last 3 races were bad, with a win 4 starts ago, and a 2nd 6 starts ago. He raced poorly last night, only beating the #10 horse (who was another 9 or 10 yo).
So I am cooling this horse out for the trainer's wife, a very sweet lady. I asked her what would happen to this horse, if he kept running bad. She said apologetically that her husband would probably send him to the killers. I told her to let me know if her hubby was thinking about it and she promised to let me know. I am hoping that I can count on COTH to help if she comes to me and says "My husband will think about selling him to you instead of killers." I can supply a place and keep him for a few days, but I cannot keep him indefinitely. I dont know how politically correct it is to ask to help raise funds for him but I would love it we could buy him and some COTHer could take him and give him some time.
"Max" doesn't deserve that. He wouldn't be sound for jumping, just pleasure or trail riding. Maybe his ankles might be eventually fused enough for jumping, I dont know, doubt it - but it's possible. He is sore on his ankles (BOTH of them) and his back is sore from leaning back to get his weight off the ankles. His hocks are sore from trying to find a comfortable position to travel, and compensating and shifting weight around trying to be comfortable. He is body sore all over. But he is evenly sore left and right so he jogged well in post parade. His back end is causing him to break poorly - so he will keep running worse and worse because he keeps spotting the field a few lengths at the break.
I would say he would probably race him one or two more times - but he is eligible to race here 4 more times (unless he finishes a 4th or better, which earns him another 8 starts). He cooled out well enough last night, but was a bit more sore on his LF than his RF by the time he was done cooling out.
"Max" is approx 16.0-16.1, a lovely dark bay with a star and 2 rear socklets. He has a lovely head, with large jowls, a chiseled face, and big expressive eyes. Trainer's wife admitted that hubby would indeed send him to the killers when he feels the horse is done, and that will be very soon.
Please, I dont want to get into the slaughter debate here. I dont and wont mention names here because I dont want to offend the trainer in advance and insure the horse goes directly to the killers without a chance to buy him. I cannot afford to buy him myself - I have taken on Ace, who was killer bound if he went home after his race. And we are in the process of getting another retiring stakes winner as barn mascot/ stable pony. I just can't afford him, but I can be the go-between to purchase him and put him up until transportation is arranged. I don't know when the trainer will want to dump him. Maybe he will run him 4 more times until he runs out of eligibility. Maybe he will jump up and run a 4th and get re-eligible for another 8 starts. Maybe he gets good again and starts winning again. Maybe the trainer gives him a few months off and brings him back when he is sounder.
I dont want this to turn into a thread bashing this trainer either - he is the way he is and he is very successful. But he doesn't keep horses once they are no longer useful to him. Just the facts. I dont want to berate or insult him, but instead I would like to open this avenue to him and perhaps raise his awareness to a new possibility for lame/used up horses other than the killer truck.
I guess I am saying, what can we do as a group to help this horse? I can't help every single horse on the backside. But I want to help this one. He has earned those big pineapple ankles running out that $278K - he has paid his dues. The only thing standing between him and the killer pen is me, and hopefully the COTH family. I am fairly certain that in the kill pen Max would be passed over as a riding horse prospect based on his ankles. I can't help every single horse. But with the help of the COTH family I can help this one.
I wonder if this might be a good topic for a fundraising auction? I have some sets of shipping boots for miniatures - I could donate as a lot or individually. I can find some tack/sheets to add also - I have an ebay tack addiction and a couple boxes of unused, new stuff upstairs. I dont have the know how to run an auction, and I dont know what time frame because I dont know when he will decide to dump Max. I do need to be prepared to offer him cash on the spot, and it needs to be slightly more than killer price in order for him to have an incentive to go this route. I need to be respectful of this trainer and build a good relationship with him in order to try to pave the way for getting future horses into better homes. I would estimate he finishes off 3-4 a month, plus 2-3/ month of his snap their legs off on the track. Perhaps if he has a better option for them he will be less likely to ground them up getting that last bit of juice out of the lemon. And when the lemon is all squeezed up and dry is when it dries and cracks... just like their legs are more likely to break when they are physically run down and over extended.
Can someone help? ;) Tell me to do, I need some support.