Tag Archives: adopt retired racehorse

Thanks for all the broken toys

I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

It’s a famously liberal, tree-hugging sort of community, where anyone who is anybody dutifully works their shift at the Food Co-Op in exchange for membership (I am not anyone) and there are still placards in the windows of million-dollar brownstones that say HOPE and CHANGE and SAVE DARFUR. There are tables set up on the street so that you can stop and change your electricity over to sustainable up-state wind-farms while you’re on your way to enjoy some locally farmed veg and eat a chicken who probably had a name and came when he was called. Yes, I live in Portlandia.

One of the fun things about Park Slope is the “All the streets are my Good-Will” mentality. If you have something you don’t want anymore, you put it out on the sidewalk, or your stoop, or hang it over the fence around your little garden. I’ve gotten many great books this way, including, interestingly, a hardcover of A Horse Around the House and a tattered paperback of Sam Savitt’s Vicki and the Black Horse, which will eventually be chopped up and used to decorate my already horse-centric apartment.

People put out everything. Clothes (I do not take clothes), furniture (I have a great book-case in my kitchen serving as a pantry/baker’s rack), and toys. Usually baby toys, but every now and then there are things a little more interesting, that catch the eye of my eight year old and myself…

We brought home Mouse Trap one night last summer. We were so excited. I told Calvin “Don’t bother playing the game part, just build the Mouse Trap. That’s the fun part!”

And it turned out, of course, that the Mouse Trap game was missing one piece. Just one piece, but a necessary one. The Mouse Trap wouldn’t work without it.

Thanks, I thought. Thanks for your sweet broken toy.


Every day, broken horses are put out on the virtual stoop.

They’re listed on Craigslist, they’re posted on Facebook, they’re put onto free classifieds ad sites. One thing they have in common? Their listings are always free. No use putting money into these broken toys.

I’m sure I speak for many when I say I’m tired of seeing horses offered cheaply, or for adoption, or for free, when they’ve been broken by someone else. Horses do not fall apart without warning signs; bodies do not give up without symptoms of stress. Horses speak up, but are frequently ignored. Things that should never be thought, but are anyway: Just jump one more course, just run one more race, just get through one more season.

Okay, says the horse. I will try.

And that’s the part that doesn’t break, the piece that never goes missing. The try. That’s the thing about these broken toys: when they’re put back together, they’re just as wonderful as when they were new.

Luckily, there are good people out there who can’t help but pick up a broken toy. There is something in them that makes them want to fix it. There is something in them that helps them see what else the toy can do.

Maybe it can’t be Mouse Trap anymore, but maybe it can be something else, and we can all still have a good time.

So hey, all you dealers and dumpers and shady traders and low-life trainers, from every discipline and every walk of a horse’s life: You’ll get yours.

But in the meantime…

Thanks for all the broken toys.

Rillo jumping, Canterbury

My first broken toy.


Filed under Retirement Options, Selling Horses, slaughter

Retired Racehorses: They’re Catching On (Again)

I barely write at this blog anymore, and yet everyday, the stat counts are high and I receive new Twitter follows and new Facebook friend requests. I am digitally connected with more Thoroughbred enthusiasts and fans every day – far more than I ever was when I was in my backyard playing with my horses one by one.

From Spotty Horse News, another TB finds his own girl to hug.

And sure, it’s a testament to the power of Google and strategic keyword placement in blog posts – I did my research when I started this blog! But in that research, I also read to beware of the six-month lay-off: after four to six months, many people tire of their blogs and stop writing.

While that has not been the case at all – I haven’t been writing the blog because I’ve been busy with other projects and just couldn’t prioritize it – I think this is a beautiful case of Thoroughbreds beating the odds once again. Because the blog’s popularity continues to grow day by day. And, I am sure, OTTBs and their riders get help from it every day. Which was always my goal.

The more we write about OTTBs, the more we stand up on our soapboxes and share our stories and our pictures, our triumphs and yes, our setbacks (after all, we learn from our mistakes and help others avoid them!), the more they’ll continue to catch on. Sure, Thoroughbreds have been dropping in popularity for years. But that doesn’t have to continue. Your passion tells me all I ┬áneed to know about the future of Thoroughbreds.

Today we can celebrate another OTTB triumph. Head over to Spotty Horse News and read about Forrest, who found his own girl to hug. The “heart” that makes a competitive racehorse is not the same “heart” we talk about when we describe a horse who will do anything for his rider, and they’re not mutually exclusive, either. Look at that face. Go on. You know you want to give him a kiss.




Filed under Media Coverage, Success Stories