Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Is Off To A (Not) Racing Start

Well, I thought the big news for New Year's Day was going to be something fun I'm going to try with the Wool House this year, but it turns out the big news is we got a new horse!

Being without a horse this past year has been...so...(insert so many words).  Robin helped me clean all my tack for my birthday when she was here in August and it was a Job as I hadn't even been in the tack room all year and everything was molded and...so sad.

I had several kind people offer me horses throughout the year, but I knew the only horses I'd be willing to try on our rich grass were Thoroughbreds...and I am not a Thoroughbred person.  They are beautiful and versatile and talented...and, as a whole, way more horse than I would ever feel comfortable with.  I'd accepted that my horse days were over until a carriage driving friend asked if I'd considered a Standardbred.  

Um...no...I hadn't.  

I honestly didn't really know anything about Standardbreds other than seeing them pulling Amish buggies around town and that a girl I groomed Saddlebreds with many years ago told stories about jumping on and riding them around the backside of the tracks in the afternoons when they weren't racing.  

I talked to our vet and a friend who has handled Standardbreds, did some research online and found the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and New Vocations, a race horse (Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds) adoption program.  The SRF had several nice sounding possibilities, but they were all in NY and NJ.  New Vocations has a Standardbred facility much closer, in Ohio, and they had a couple strong candidates as well.  

With high hopes, but no expectations, we hooked up the trailer yesterday and headed north to check out a couple horses we'd been approved to adopt.  I was extremely impressed with all the horses we looked at, the knowledge the manager had of each horse, the talented rider who came in to show the horses...and the breed in general.  Without further ado...meet Frankie's Rockstar :-).


Frankie is a three and a half year old gelding who has had some soundness issues and was not going to make it as a race horse.  Apparently the groom who cared for him throughout thought enough of him that she bought him herself so she could send him to New Vocations in hopes he'd find a safe pleasure horse home, not pulling an Amish buggy or...


Frankie walked right into the trailer and rode like a trooper all the way home in the horrible rain and wind yesterday afternoon.  We got home in the dark, but he quietly backed off the trailer and walked right into the barn full of sheep.  We got him set up in one of the outside stalls and while he was obviously scared and missing his buddies, he handled his first night here like a...rock star :-).


Because the weather in Ohio has been as wet as here, he hadn't been turned out for a good while.  I turned him out in the arena this morning rather than the big field.  He skipped around for few minutes but then settled right down.  After about 45 minutes I brought him back to the barn, brushed him, trimmed his bridle path, took him outside to hose his muddy legs off and put him back in his stall.  He was a complete gentleman.

Now keep in mind that even though he IS very well mannered, he's honestly just a baby, even more so because of the time off he had due to his leg injury.  We have plenty of ground work to do before we can safely ride or drive off into the setting sun ;-).  That being said, I'm very excited to start the new year with a horse again.  The relationship you have with a horse is something so different than any other.  



And while Frankie is puzzling things out... ;-)


29 comments:

Janice L. Grinyer said...

OMG Yay!!!!!!! I am sooo happy for you and Frank; cannot wait to hear and see more of your adventures with each other!!❤

Grey Horse Matters said...

Congratulations! Frankie is a handsome boy and I’m sure he’ll be a lot of fun once you get the groundwork in. He looks and sounds very sensible for a baby. I’m sure he’ll love his new home. What a great way to start the new year. I wish you luck and happiness with your new boy. Happy New Year to you and the gang!

Leslie said...

I took one look at his profile in the IG pic and thought STANDARDBRED! And I was right. Have known a few and they were good solid horses. I expect he'll be a great horse for you after a bit of work. Congrats!

Gloria said...

So thrilled for you. A great breed. Hop he likes the sheepses soon.

Katherine Littrell said...

So happy for you!

farm buddy said...

Good for you! He is very beautiful, and I wish you both many years of happiness!

Tyche's Minder said...

Wow, you got an Ohio Standardbred. I'd never heard of Standardbred racing until I moved to Ohio. You can see them exercising at all the county fairgrounds around here. They're something else. And he's a lucky, lucky guy to miss the Amish buggy life.

So, obscure, but serious question: What do you mean by "rich grass"? Is it just that you have a lot of it and pretty much year round? Or is it the species you have? Rich for horses or rich for sheep? Or both? I envy your grass and I'm really interested. (And sorry to hear you've been as wet as we have. Sincerely hope this isn't the new normal.)

thecrazysheeplady said...

I guess it's primarily the bluegrass area, maybe due to the limestone? I never really had any issues when I was a kid in Indiana. Thoroughbreds seem to do just fine, but all the rest of us have trouble with founder. I have trouble with the sheep getting way too fat as well. I haven't been eating the grass myself although it appears I have ;-).

Linda said...

He's beautiful! Congratulations!!Sounds like a perfect match.

Jean said...

Welcome Home Frankie!

Elaine Lim said...

I'm sure Frankie is quietly humming to himself about being such a lucky horse to have found such a great home with loving caretakers!! All the sheep and cats and dogs are just a big bonus! Congratulations
(and I love your chubby sheep, too!!)

sophy0075 said...

Three and a half - you’ve got a toddler on your hands, but he sounds like he’ll be a Frankie Sweetie Pie. I’m so glad for you. Looks like at least one of the flock is too! Sheep, cats, dogs, chickens and now a horse again. Equilibrium is returning to the world.

Cheryl West said...

Maybe Frankie knew he was off to a great new home when he entered the trailer. A very good beginning.
I hope the two of you have a wonderful, long life together. There is certainly no shortage of barn friends for company. Maybe even Hank will get to like him.
Happy New Year!

knitski said...

Frankie just scored and is going to have one nice life away from the track. Young at 3.5 so there will be a learning curve for sure! How nice to have a horse again. I worked with one Standard horse and he was a great big guy and about 17 years old too! Lots of personality and a real gem!

Shirley said...

Oh I'm so happy for you!
We once bought a Standardbred that was supposed to be going with a load of OTT Standies to Amish country in Ohio, and she was a wonderful mare. 4 years old. We drove her and started her under saddle; she was a pacer so that was interesting- and she had the best mind. I think that unflappable disposition is what sets them apart. They are wonderful horses!
At his age, he will probably have already a couple of years of track training and have been exposed to everything imaginable from noisy crowds to tractors and quads, so I bet your groundwork will be fairly easy, just getting him to learn how you do things. Fun!

Terry and Linda said...

OH! YAY! WONDERFUL! We were without horses for a few months. But now have two young ladies on the farm and we are HAPPY!

YAY! YAY! YAY!

Karen Haggas said...

What a grand way to start a new year!!! So very happy for you and for your rescued new friend! Bravo!

LannieK said...

I am so happy for you! And happy for Frankie that he found a wonderful home. It wont be long and you'll be back driving again with a big ole smile on your face ~ Best wishes for health and happiness with your new friend.
I know what Hank is thinking, he'll be fine...

Michelle said...

You KNOW how happy and thrilled I am for you . . . even as my eyes fill with tears worrying that another dear friend's riding days may be over after her fall yesterday. These creatures that we love....

The Odyssey Farm said...

Oh Sara, so happy for you!! Standies are awesome horses and I wish you many happy years and miles of trails with him. I'm ready to hitch up the trailer when you want company!

The Dancing Donkey said...

Congrats for you and Frankie!! Standardbreds are one of my favorite breeds. They are super tough, long-lived, sweet souls who usually get the short end of the stick because they don't have all the glamour and hype of a TB attached to them. I hope you both have many fun years together.

I need orange said...

Awwwwww. What a good boy. How lucky he is, to have found his way to Equinox. Tears for both of you. :-)

Sheepmom said...

SO happy for you! New year, and the start of a new, long BFF relationship with a horse that you will really make your own. He's landed in a perfect home! I'm dying to meet him and smell horse again!

Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

I was SO happy for you I just about cried.......OK, just a little :) What a gorgeous horse. I hadn't heard of this breed either, lucky YOU and St. Tim and Frankie!!!

Delrene said...

How wonderful. A great organization to re home a wonderful young horse. I am so happy for you. Is it possible he needs a horse buddy or will the sheep and dogs and your companionship be enough. I know very little about horses but I know they love their buddies.
He is very handsome and has found a wonderful home. I hope he has a long, happy healthy life.

thecrazysheeplady said...

He does need a buddy, but I'm going to hold off for awhile because I want to make sure he and I are off to the best start possible and also, with the unbelievable mud this winter, the pastures here just can't handle two. I'll be his buddy for now and maybe by summer we can bring in one more horse :-).

MarmePurl said...

So Very Happy for you! Frankie is indeed a very fine, Handy dandy horse to add to your farm.

karen said...

congrats on your new family addition! You have a big heart and I bet Frankie loves it there :)

Far Side of Fifty said...

How wonderful!! I am thrilled for you. Happy New Year and Aloha

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