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The $45 Horse

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  • The $45 Horse

    A friend of ours mentioned to Darren that he wanted to sell cheaply or give away the horse he had racing last night, after his race of course. He had asked Darren to hold him in the paddock and cool him out, and mentioned that the horse had to go. The 9 yo "Countontherun" has a pathetic form, but he DID win a race last year and has lifetime earnings of about $100k. Darren asked me to go look at the horse whilke he was feeding ours dinner, and when I pointed out his lack of recent success on the track he mentioned that perhaps I could use him as a lead pony or for the kids to ride. I almost had a heart attack - my SO suggesting I get a horse NOT for a racehorse!!! YES!! We must encourage this type of behavior, no matter what, am I right ladies?

    So I walk over to the next barn to look at the horse - and Count's groom (and one of his former owners) was grooming him. He was tied to the front of the stall as she brushed him and he studied me as carefully as I studied him. Count had large, intelligent eyes, an attractive head with a cute stripe, good front legs, and a swollen back leg. I asked quite simply "Does his leg always look like that?" and his groom started crying. Apparently he would often "hit" or interfere and hit his back leg on the pastern when he trained or raced, and there was an accumulation of scar tissue that by its very nature made him interfere even worse because it was larger in diameter than normal. As she tried to brush him she told me that his very well meaning owner, her boss, had taken him to the farm after his last race and was turning him out daily. Great for the horse's mind, but he had developed an awful case of rain rot - he was literally ENCRUSTED with it down his back and over his rump. It is the kind that LOOKS like hair, but when you touch it feels hard as a helmet, nothing to scrub off unless you take everything off in huge patches down to his skin.

    So the owner/trainer Tommy came back to the barn and tells me that he had only kept and raced this horse for the "starts" - each trainer needs to maintain a minimum # of starts to keep their stalls - and to quality for the trainers health insurance program. The horse wasn't going to hurt himself in the race and anything can happen, the rest of the field could fall down and leave him the sole horse on it's feet to cross the finish line. Dreaming a bit, but things like that DO happen sometime (altho it is usually a horse or 2, not the WHOLE FIELD!). He told me he wanted the horse to go to a good home, hopefully with a kid of his own to love and dote on him. He told me the horse needed a job to mentally challenge him, a new routine. Then he said "But I just put new front shoes on him this morning, I would like to get that $45 back, so I guess I want $45 for him" I told him I would be back in a couple mins after talking to Darren.

    I got cash from Darren & came back. to Tommy's barn. I said "You want $45 for him?" and handed him 2 twenties and a five - he said "But I have to pay Darren $40 to hold him in the paddock and cool him out" and he returned the twenties. So technically he was a $5 horse I suppose.

    Since he was my new horse, I ended up holding Count in the paddock and cooling him out. He was a bit arrogant, and very opinionated in the paddock - but perhaps he just didn't want to run or knew he wasn't going to do well. He shoved me around in there a few times and I thought "OMG what have I DONE here?" as Count went out on the track to run. He did ok, making a little bit of a run around the turn, then hitting a wall at the top of the lane. He beat 2 horses - one of which was eased. With the recent track resurfacing, the track is OH so deep, and many horses are getting dog tired on it. But it is much SAFER that way, with a nice cushion.

    So I take him back to the barn and cool Count out - he didn't drink a single drop of water and was a pushy arrogant son of a gun. We will have to work on him respecting others' space. But he came back sound - his previous owner/trainer came over to get the bridle and the rubbers from his bandages and commented "Boy he came back better than last time" telling me he came back a bit "off" last time (nice to hear after I bought the horse, but for $45 what can I expect?).

    After cooling him out I COVERED him in MTG to try to soften up those scabbies, and covered and sweated all four of his legs with it. Never sweated with MTG before but this horse is so EXTREMELY encrusted in scabs it that I figured it wouldn't hurt to try.

    So, that's the story of my $45 horse. He looks black to me but the program says chestnut - other people who have known him and worked with him in the past say he is a beautiful liver chestnut color in summertime. Hopefully I will have pics up sometime tomorrow!
    Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
    Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
    Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne

  • #2
    That is sooooo awesome Jessi.

    Tell Darren we luv him
    \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"


    • #3
      Awwwwwwwww that's great. Enjoy!!
      "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


      • #4
        What a great story. Yes, lots of pics of new horsie please!
        Member of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique

        “This is not a game for little boys in short pants.” LeRoy Jolley


        • #5
          How awesome! he will repay you in spades for your good deed...cant wait to see pictures


          • #6
            I got a $50 bill in my birthday card several years ago. I was walking through the receiving barn at Penn when a man called me over and asked if I knew anyone who would be interested in buying his horse after the race. He said he would take $50 for him. Even though the last thing I needed or could afford was another broken down horse, that $50 bill started burning a major hole in my pocket! I donated him to TRF shortly afterwards as he was a walking disaster area. It was birthday money well spent. Hopefully all us softies end up with some extra karma before its over.
            My birthday is Friday, maybe I should avoid receiving barns for a while???
            Congrats for getting the new guy.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home


            • #7
              What a wonderful story, Jessi. Please keep us posted when he goes home, etc.
              Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for being so supportive you guys!

                Laurie what a great birthday present you bought for yourself! And I applaud you for carefully placing him with the TRF. It is one of the ONLY ways to insure the long term safety of an OTTB, and I strongly urge anyone wondering what to do with an OTTB to consider it. Anyone choosing this option is getting off very cheaply with the one time "donation" fee (I know there is a more correct term for that) when one considers the cost of paying for comparable quality board on on that horse forever.

                I have to admit that I really was questioning my judgement with this horse when he was beating me up in the paddock.

                And later cooling him out when he kept smashing me in the face with his head.

                And again when I tried brushing him off after he dried from his bath and got a better look at the skin disease/encrustation on approx 50% of his body.

                And again when I got a closer look at those legs and realized we had both:

                1) major scabbies on the skin all over his legs


                2) proud flesh from years of improper shoeing causing him to smack his left hind pastern beating it to a bloody unrecognizable pulp with each stride.

                And again when he (seemingly deliberately) stomped on my foot while I was wrapping a back leg.

                And as I was leaving the stall having just put his dinner in - Count charges to the front of the stall to look around and hits me right in the lower back with the stall screen as I bend over to come out under the stall chain.

                Yes, I was second guessing myself A WHOLE LOT at that point. I think the exact words going through my head were "WTF was I THINKING???"

                But we will find a new job for Count, in the meantime we will have his coat gleaming with good health from the inside out and get his leggies looking like a 2 yo's again.

                Well, I CAN dream, can't I?

                With Gemma back in training I DO need a new mount to play around with. And I have been wanting a lead pony. Problem is, the trainer who got rid of him 2 owners ago also ponies for a 2nd job, and her hubby is an outrider for the track. I am worried that perhaps she tried him as a pony and he flunked. I will see them Friday and remember to ask if they ever tried him under western tack.


                What have I done??? Someone tell me it's all a DREAM and I am going to wake up soon LOL.

                Seriously, I am excited about the new guy and can't wait to get pics!!
                Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
                Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
                Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne


                • #9
                  You keep your chin up and I'll bet you won't be sorry!
                  Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist


                  • #10
                    **Jessi, we Love you!!


                    • #11

                      Maybe he's pissed off because you made him smell so bad

                      I'm imaging the burned bacon stench in your shedrow and giggling <g> MUCH worse than DMSO

                      I've found that sweating legs with furacin is a good way to loosen up the ickies they tend to get on the front of their hind cannons.

                      Otherwise, there is always the pick and scrub method, put some betadine solution on a nail-scrubber and pick scabs and scrub where they were. Tends to dry them out. Also tends to piss off the horse, but it might be time for some payback



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by abrant View Post
                        Also tends to piss off the horse, but it might be time for some payback
                        But, but, but.......Count is bigger and stronger than Jessi.
                        \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"


                        • #13
                          Congratulations on your new horse. I don't usually come to the Racing forum, but a title that read $45 horse was too good to resist.

                          I rescued a horse from an auction years ago and he was covered with rainrot. I found a recipe in my vet book for treatment that worked wonderfully and he didn't wind up with any white hairs on his dark bay coat.

                          1 16oz bottle of mineral oil or baby oil

                          1 16oz bottle of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

                          1 1/2 oz bottle tincture of iodine

                          Combine all 3 in a large container and DO NOT close tightly. Mixture will bubble and expand and can explode. Just close it losely. To apply, just pour some on and rub into all areas with rainrot. Leave on for two hours and then wash off with iodine shampoo.

                          Good luck with him. I'm sure he'll turn into a nice guy, once the pressure is off him and he's living a happier life.


                          • #14
                            Countontherun sounds oh so familiar to me... I wonder if we ever crossed paths back in my racing days... I can't put a "face" to the name, though.

                            Best of luck with him. Getting sold to you guys for $45 is probably the best thing that ever happened to him!
                            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                            • Original Poster

                              Well no pics today...

                              So Wednesday is my day off and I didn't make it out to the barn today...

                              So pics will have to wait til Thursday.

                              llsc thanks for the recipe! I will do MTG for a few days then try the hydrogen perox/oil/iodine mix and report in on the results.

                              Adrienne, my first thought was furacin, until I saw the legs and back up close. Have to pull out all the stops on this one! I even contemplated clipping him EXTREMELY closely and getting all of that crapola off of him. But I dont think it would work w/o yanking hair out of him causing him extreme pain.

                              But my foot DOES hurt enough today for the thought to cross my mind...

                              Tex, what tracks were you at? I dont have Count's lifetime form so I don't know where he was as a youngster.

                              For anyone interested, his early record is below. I have the current version from the program (somewhere...in this huge pile atop my desk).

                              1997 Countontherun,Ch,c,Count The Time 5 41 4 6 10 75,053 ( 94) 0.87
                              North America 2 YO Record 4 0 1 0 3,390 ( 81)
                              North America Turf Record 1 0 0 1 1,100 ( 81)
                              North America Dirt Sprints 23 2 3 5 38,653 ( 93)
                              North America Dirt Routes 17 2 3 4 35,300 ( 94)
                              North America Muddy/Sloppy 9 1 2 2 26,028 ( 93)
                              DP = 7-4-7-0-0 DI = 4.14 CD = 1.00 AWD = 7.13
                              thru 12-30-04

                              Hmmm some interesting stuff there. He is versatile, with earnings almost evenly divided short and long. He runs well on the slop or an off track. He has promise with one third in his only turf start.

                              The ingredients are all there for a Rocky-esque comeback. But I don't have the time or energy for a possible Cinderella story. He needs a nice, calm, responsible job to pay the bills. Time for him to grow up and stop running with da boyz on the racetrack.
                              Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
                              Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
                              Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jessi P View Post

                                Tex, what tracks were you at? I dont have Count's lifetime form so I don't know where he was as a youngster.

                                The only "track" I worked at was Delaware Park... but I worked out at Fair Hill, Bowie briefly, and on a handful of private farms. We shipped in all over the place, though-- Pimlico, Laurel, Philadelphia, Penn National, Charlestown, Monmouth, etc. etc. Pretty much all the mid-atlantic tracks.

                                I'm usually pretty good at placing name of horses I had, so I'm guessing maybe I just saw his name around a lot. I worked at a vet hospital awhile, too, so I could have seen his name there as well. Who knows. But I can't wait to see pics of him! And his paper looks pretty good for a $45 horse!
                                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                                • #17
                                  Hummmh, I wonder if the rainrot stuff that may explode also works on scratches -- my 2 yr old warmblood gelding has developed a serious case. I think your new boy just needs some down time -- in small doses so he doesn't get depressed. He probably hurts from all the scruffies, no wonder he's cross. You'll bring him around. Good for you for giving him a chance.
                                  " ...the mist parted, and there was a green land under a swift sunrise." J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King


                                  • #18
                                    aww what an amazing story!

                                    For the cruddy legs...possibly try ORVUS paste (its made for cows...but i have gotten black paint off a white mare with it...)

                                    also its a really really great whitener for those socks!!
                                    Common Sense and Turn Signals...try 'em out sometime


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by llsc View Post
                                      Congratulations on your new horse. I don't usually come to the Racing forum, but a title that read $45 horse was too good to resist.
                                      Same here, I don't often venture this direction... but I'm glad I did!! What a great story!! I will keep checking in to see his progress, and I can't wait to see pics!!
                                      I try not to worry about what people think. They don't do it very often.


                                      • #20
                                        What a great story. Really can't wait to see pics!

                                        We saved an own son of Sonny's Halo, Hilcountry Halo, that was completely covered in rain rot. Ended up losing literally half his coat. He was a mess. After we got all the scabs off, (which we did using a very thick tea tree ointment left on all day), Witch Hazel really helped him get some relief and feel better.

                                        Good luck with this guy! Bless your heartfor taking him on!