It’s a pretty Saturday, it’s a lazy Saturday, it’s a sunny Saturday. At least, it is here in Brooklyn. I can’t be troubled to be too upset about many things in the world, except that I really should go to the park and get some sun. But before that, here are some happy little OTTB stories from all over the Interwebs.
2012 is going to go down as the year that OTTBs took new precedence in the world. There are so many blogs, good news stories, and aftercare groups coming together and receiving publicity and major sponsorship from racing and sporthorse businesses that I think we could safely call “OTTB” a buzz word for 2012. Maybe OTTBs are the new indie. Maybe they’re up there with listening to bands no one else has ever heard of. That would certainly explain my obsession with them.
In that spirit, check out this video I snagged from CANTER Mid Atlantic’s Calabria Rose blog. You should definitely go over there and read the story, including the very awkward original photograph, of an apparently (but not really) crooked filly at the racetrack, which somehow led to this Washington International Horse Show regional qualifier round. This mare canters so quietly I had to check to make sure it wasn’t in slow-motion, and her expression never varies: pricked ears, honest eyes; as she squares her little knees perfectly over each fence. Putting Red Mare stereotypes to rest, as always…
Then there is this week’s OTTB Showcase at Paulick Report. Jen Roytz, who is Three Chimneys’ director of marketing and also handles their aftercare program (which is exemplary) always does a fantastic job on her stories about retired racehorses. But this week, the horse will really tug at your heartstrings: this OTTB takes care of a teenage girl who is legally blind, and had nearly given up hope of finding a horse to ride after her childhood pony had started taking advantage of her. (Remember, ponies have an extra stomach where their conscience should be. Copyright N.K.Reinert!) This is an amazing, unmissable story.
Spotty Horse News continues to not live up to its name by discussing more about OTTB life than Appaloosa life, and I forgive her completely, although I don’t know how the Spotty Horse feels about this. There are always good training diary pieces here, and Jessica isn’t terribly wordy and never gets caught up in trying to describe every stride of every ride, but gets to the point and says “Here is the issue, here is what we are trying, here is how this is working.” Very useful for anyone trying to work with their OTTB at home! She also has this wonderful piece, True Testimonial for OTTBs, in which she not only proves that we have the same taste in television (that is to say, Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge Videos) but also that she understands the very core of our relationship with our OTTBs:
I admit it. I’m addicted. Obsessed with the belief that OTTBs can do so much more than retire to pasture and make babies. It requires patience, training (in all kinds of simple things, sometimes), and knowledge of where they have been so you can help them get where you want them to go, but it is a realistic and attainable goal.
And I don’t know if editor Susan Salk will agree with me or not, but I think it’s pretty amazing that nearly every time I try to load up Off Track Thoroughbred.com for one of her outstanding interviews (this week she features Donna Brothers, former jockey and now a sportscaster with ESPN) the site has exceeded bandwidth. Susan, my friend, you have arrived on the big times.
Finally, there is this story from the Chronicle of the Horse, on a 22-year-old OTTB named Malone. We don’t know Malone’s racing name or history, sadly, because his tattoo was never legible. It’s too bad, because, his owner Nick Novak says, he would have gone out of his way to find a relation of his. That’s how athletic Malone is, still winning Grand Prix level events at 22 years of age.
“I tried him in the first year green hunters, and he jumped higher than the standards. I figured ‘This isn’t going to work,’ so I went ahead and put him in the jumper ring. I think he did eight horse shows, and then he went in an open welcome stake,” Novak said. “The higher I jumped him, the more relaxed he got. So, as a 7-year-old, I started him in the prixs, and he’s done them ever since.”
Talk about working at your horse’s own pace.
And what kind of OTTB goodness are you finding out there? Tell us in the comments!