Retired Racehorse Resolutions

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Day without taking at least five minutes to contemplate the past year and the one ahead, and so I’m indulging that with a little nostalgia and lot of excitement.

nostalgia is a big bay horse

2011 was my first non-riding year, and the first one that I devoted entirely to writing. When I left Florida in 2010, it was with the conviction that I could accomplish more in the world as a writer than as a horse trainer, and I still believe that. Although looking at Thoroughbred trainer listings on a regular basis will always put the idea into my head, at least for a few delusional moments, that I ought to be running a not-for-profit Thoroughbred retraining agency somewhere in the backwoods. That’s not for me, although I am very impressed by the people who do it! You’re all amazing!

In 2012 I resolve to get back on a horse at least once, although in what capacity, I can’t say. It might just be to demonstrate a technique to one of the other volunteers at GallopNYC, where I walk horses in therapy lessons every week. It might be for a dressage lesson (or, shall we say, a post-until-your legs-cramp-up lesson). You never know what’s around the corner.

But that’s a personal-gratification resolution. Here’s my big one, my promise to the world.

I resolve to make a difference to retired racehorses.

I know, that’s vague. But it’s January first. Who can say what is going to happen this afternoon, let alone next week, next month, next winter? But whatever opportunities arise, I will take them. Whatever actions I can share with you, I will share. Whatever is going to happen, I am going to embrace it and make something big out of it.

Why? Because I love them. I can’t help myself. When I see them at the racetrack, or in a field, or poking their noses out of a semi-trailer on the interstate, or leaping a cross-country fence, or in a photo doing anything, anywhere, I melt a little. When I read a story about a horse who should have been retired properly, and wasn’t, I hurt. They are all my darling children, like the babies I once had on my farm, and I adore them all.

I can’t help it. I’m well and truly horse-mad, and the objects of my affection are blood horses. And so that’s my Retired Racehorse Resolution: to make a difference, in whatever way I can.

Will you join me?



Filed under Retirement Options, writing

10 responses to “Retired Racehorse Resolutions

  1. Lois Keays

    ABSOLUTELY!! I will do everything in my power to convince people of the exceptional value of a thoroughbred for any riding endeavour! My passion is the thoroughbred and advocating for their well-being! There is no better athlete, nor a more intelligent, sensitive breed. Now the willingness to learn effective and conscious training techniques is the responsibility of the rider. A thoroughbred can accomplish anything when treated with the respect and understanding they deserve! My resolve for 2012 is to encourage education and communication…between the authorities who sanction and regulate and the purveyors of ideas that contravene traditional methods. My hope is the horse will be the beneficiary of some new and “out-of-the-box” thoughts on his physiology, training and management!

  2. Kim Alexander

    Yes, I will. I have loved these horses all my life yet never owned one until last year. I am stone-cold crazy about this horse and VOW to make him something special. I also have made the commitment to own more and help in any way I can. Like you, these horses just make my heart pound. Love them. Love their looks, movement, intelligence, and their undaunting spirit.
    Yes, count me IN!
    Kim Alexander
    Gallatin, Tennessee

  3. We have 3 thoroughbreds, 2 ex-racers and 1 who was bred to race but didn’t make it as far as the track, they are all marvellous horses and so talented. I wish more people would consider taking on an ex-racehorse there is too much wastage in the racing industry.

  4. Thanks for all you do for our Thoroughbreds. It is so true that our passion for the breed drives us to Make A Difference . Awareness of the problems in racing and, most importantly, educating people in order make realistic changes is the most important thing we can for our breed and the sport of racing.

    @Highgunner – The Voice for the “Unwanted Thoroughbred”

  5. Duh. I mean… HELL YES I WILL!! 🙂

    Writing and riding kinda rhyme, but I hope you can do both somehow.

    Happy New Year, Natalie!

  6. KAS

    I just moved one of my OTTBs to a boarding barn for the winter. He is 7, has all the big names in his pedigree, and he is so quiet, kind and beginner friendly that I love to “flip his lip” to show everyone his tattoo. I hope to help break stereotypes and and misconceptions about these amazing horses… I will resolve the same and since I got this horse in September, I am already on my way 🙂

  7. Behind you every stride!

  8. Sarah

    I was thinking about this last night. I board my OTTB at a farm that fosters for CANTER (we get post-surgical horses and I do all their follow up care like bandage changes and hand walking) and on a daily basis I spend far more time with the CANTER horses than with my own boy. Whenever I think about how much free time I would have if I boarded elsewhere, I also think about how much these fresh off the track TBs need someone to just spend time with them. It’s amazing how much of a difference a few minutes each day can make.

  9. ATTENTION: Owners of Thoroughbreds and Half Thoroughbreds

    A new thoroughbred association has been formed to allow participation in the Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) NETSA wiil make it possible to bring together all thoroughbred and cross-bred owners to encourage communication, socialization and develop new ways to enjoy and promote the unique qualities of thoroughbreds, especially to provide careers for off-the-track thoroughbreds (OTTB).

    Horse Show – October 7, 2012
    This is an all- thoroughbred and half-bred
    show to be held October 7, 2012 at Saddle Rowe in Medway, MA.
    NETSA will aid in identification through tattoos and horses eligible for half-bred status may be registered in any breed registry as long as at least one parent is a registered thoroughbred. The show will benefit Canter.