OTTB Success Story: Chris

A Thoroughbred is a girl's best friend.

This month the photos tell the story.

Just how honest and wonderful can an OTTB be? Amarillo alternated between my prelim horse and my children’s school pony, as the occasion required. Rapidan went from a teasing stallion to a 4-H show horse and then A-circuit jumper.

The honesty and graciousness that an OTTB can bestow upon the family – and so often, one special young girl – is truly evident in these pictures of Chris, who has spent his life with Aileen Bergen. For sixteen years, since he came off the track (at Saratoga, of all places) and narrowly avoided an end in the kill pen, “Christopher Robin” has been that most ideal friend.

How many of us have learned to ride on a retired racehorse? How many children fall in love with these horses, often the silliest noisiest beasts in the barn, the ones that will tear down their stall door for a chance at that bag of Doritos from the vending machine, or reduce a little girl to gales of laughter by earnestly licking every drop of Coke from her hand?

They'll teach you everything you'll ever need to know.

Words fail me. A classic.

“Reschooling the Thoroughbred” has a line that makes me smile: “The whole idea in reschooling is to help the horse to forget completely about being a hero.” Maybe, though, that’s not completely accurate. We’re moving their goal posts, perhaps, but these horses continue to be heroes, changing lives and giving everything that they’ve got to make us better people. Is that their intention, the reason why they wake up each morning? Of course not. They’re horses. But they become our intention, don’t they, and they become our heroes, not for all the green and the glory, but for the love and the generosity and, I’ll say it again, the honesty that is all part and parcel of being a Thoroughbred.

These pictures remind me of how incredibly privileged we are, to live in a world populated by Thoroughbreds. And those of us who grew up with them – we are the lucky ones – and those of you that are just discovering them – welcome to our beautiful, beautiful world.

A Portrait of the TB As A Young Show Horse

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3 Comments

Filed under Stereotypes, Success Stories

3 responses to “OTTB Success Story: Chris

  1. Aileen

    Beautiful!!! I love my boy!!!!!!! pic at the bottom is chris age 5 and me age 10! the pic at the top is me taking a nap on a nice summer day chris age 19 me just turned 24.. the middle pic on the Left my niece Christina learning how to ride on chris (chris age 20 Christina age 8)middle pic on right my niece Kaitlyn (chris 20 Kaitlyn 6) 🙂 he has come a long!!!! way from starved/abused to loved and spirited to just calm enough to put youngins’ on him…but NEVER lost he spirited personality! he is now happily semi- retired with the love of his life (Cheyenne a TBx rescue) at my sisters farm in NY… we still ride but no more crazy jumping lol we just have fun 😉

    Thank you for sharing his story!

    Aileen

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      Aileen thank you! We got a lot of teary eyes with this one! He’s a darling and you are a jewel to have saved him and provided him with a happy life and retirement.

  2. I’m getting my first 2 OTTB’s next month so I am reading everything on the net! So glad I came across your site….you are doing such a wonderful job. Hopefully this blog and others can help my family and our new heroes be successful too!

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