Sully (JC Midnight Shine) has lived with Madison since the fall of 2019. This six year old gelding has been part of the family ever since.

Madison shared that Sully is doing great. He went to one show over the summer and was very well behaved. He always wants to please.

She continued to note that he truly is the sweetest boy. “I don’t think I could’ve gotten more lucky with him.”

To read his previous update, please click here.

Many thanks to Madison for the new photo and update on Sully!

Last week I shared an interview with the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program. One of the questions I always ask is for the organization to share a story about a horse. Their story was so remarkable, I deemed it worthy of it own post. Without any more delay, here’s the story of Bella.

Tooralaurabella’s arrival

Tooralaurabella was brought to us in June 2021 with a bowed tendon that we thought had set, making her ready to start her next career.  Upon her arrival we were told that she did not load well and needed to be blindfolded and pushed on backwards. She arrived at the adoption barn facing backwards in the trailer. Bella instantly proved herself to be a sweetheart but had some trust issues. She did not like the halter to be pushed over her ears and preferred it to be unbuckled, she was spooky and unsure of new things. We found her an older mare as a buddy in turnout, which helped her learn to settle and not be so reactive. 

In October we had a case of strangles break out (the first and only since opening in 2006). Bella was the only one to have the true and full symptoms and needed medical care. We had to soak the abscess on her jaw with a warm compress twice a day as well as give her meds orally. She had to have her temp taken twice a day as well. It was through all this that Bella realized we were here to HELP her. She grew a very strong bond with us and started to relax more. After our quarantine was lifted, Bella was able to start back into her training program.

Training begins

She had her first ride here just a few weeks later. Bella began to build confidence in us and herself with obstacles. She could push the ball, walk over a tarp and even in and out of a kiddie pool. This was all in preparation to get her to load on a trailer in a relaxed and confident demeanor. In a month’s time Bella was walking quietly across the wooden bridge on her own. By January 2022 we were able to use the program director’s trailer and practice our loading. Bella loaded right on in about 15 minutes with lots of patience and trust. It was then that we knew Bella was truly ready to find her forever home. 

Bella’s first potential adopter instantly fell in love after playing with her in our indoor arena over some obstacles and bonding scratches. It was a beautiful sight, and many happy tears were shed. The adopter had a pre-purchase vetting done to ensure the bow was set and would hold up for the career she had intended for Bella. It was then that we found out that the bow was not fully set. Bella was so strong and wanted nothing more than to please us, so she hid her injury. Not once did she take a bad step here, but through an ultrasound it was clear that the bow was not fully healed, and she had kept that from us all along. So unfortunately, that adopter decided it was not a good fit due to the injury but gave us full access to the images taken that day. 

A forever home and friend

Just a week later another potential adopter coming to look at a gelding but fell in love with Bella’s big, sweet face sticking out over her stall door. After playing with her in the arena lightly, they fell in love before even knowing her name. Later on, we found out that the name Bella had a huge meaning in the adopter’s life, and it was fate that they take TooralauraBella home. After discussing Bella’s injury and what rehab would entail, they decided to adopt Bella with no rush to become competitive any time soon. 

The day Bella finally loaded on her trailer to go to her new home was bittersweet. We were all so proud of this mare who had grown so much and matured with us in less than a year’s time. Bella is enjoying life with her forever family and two other FTLAP grads that share her large grass pasture. They have started lightly riding on the trails and will continue to slowly introduce her to more as she is comfortable.  

To learn more about FLTAP, please visit their website.

Kaffeinated, now known as Happy, was purchased by WV Stables at the Fasig-Tipton MidAtlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale in 2019. She was part of their barn until September of 2021, when she broke her maiden and was claimed away.

In December 2021, Kaffeinated was retired from racing and adopted by Megan. Here’s the latest update from her:

Right now “Happy” (fits her super sweet personality, commonly called “Happy Girl” around our barn!) is enjoying a nice retirement until this summer. She is an absolute barn favorite, always accepting love from anyone and commonly searching pockets for treats.

After a full spring of rest and making friends in the pasture, we are planning to start back in the ring. The stretch goal is to do a baby starter event in the fall at Plantation. We also are considering some potential dressage shows this coming winter. We are going to try and feel out what she likes/takes to best and pursue that avenue!

Happy is so sweet, and we are so blessed to have her in our family. She is always the first at the fence, and we love seeing her every day!

Happy

We are so pleased that Happy has found her own happily ever after with Megan!

To read more aftercare updates, please click here.

Sully, formerly known as Midnight Shine, has made his home with Madison since October 2019. We last shared an update for this former Wasabi Ventures Stables runner in September 2021. We are pleased to provide another update on this sweet boy.

Sully is doing great. He has not been to any shows recently, but Madison plans to enter him in some this spring. This eleven year old gelding has been working as a hunter/jumper.

In addition to work on his second career, he also has become quite the family horse. Madison’s five year old has even started showing him some interest. As you can see, Sully is enjoying working with his new family, no matter their age.

We couldn’t have hoped for a better home for Sully. As Madison notes, “He really is the best boy and we love him so much.” That is the perfect version of happily ever after for this retired racehorse.

Formerly known as My Pal Jerry, Jerry was retired from Wasabi Ventures Stables in October 2018. Shortly after that he found his home in South Carolina. Since then he has been loving life, working with his friend and owner, Heather.

More recently, Jerry has been working with a friend of Heather’s, as Heather has been dealing with two separate injuries, which have prevented her from riding.

Jerry has been working on his jumping skills, which he enjoys very much. This eight year old gelding really enjoys learning new skills and working with a trainer.

According to Heather, Jerry is an amazing horse, who is so very loved. The club members at WV Stables would agree. My Pal Jerry always was a favorite!

To read an update on Dill, another former WVS horse, please click here.

Formerly known as Wave Jumper, this four year old filly was in the Wasabi Ventures Stables barn from 2019 until her retirement in 2021. She has now found her forever home with Samantha, who has written the following update.

Looking for a horse to call her own

I submitted an application to After the Races in late October in an effort to look at a horse listed on the site. I left the horse industry in 2013 as a barn manager of many years. Thoroughbreds, but specifically the off the track projects, were always my favorite. I helped with many projects but could never call them my own. Once my application was submitted, I followed up with ATR intently until my application was approved. I didn’t even think to look anywhere else– because fate has a way of doing that.

Almost immediately after getting approval, I saw two new horses step off the trailer at ATR. Wave Jumper was one of them. Initially, I thought, WOW that is one beautiful horse, but then proceeded to talk myself out of her, because I had it in my mind that a “fresh” off the track horse would be so much more problematic than I could handle.

Within days, my mom dropped everything to go with me and look at the new prospects. The other new retiree was already adopted leaving Wave Jumper. She was placed in the round pen at ATR for the first time. She had so much movement and poise, yet overwhelming softness in her eye. Needless to say, I was in love. She had it all.

Bringing Beauty home

I barely slept that night, and returned the next day to bring her home. When thinking of a name, I just kept thinking of her beauty. So, her barn name became Beauty. She was turned out immediately with a run-in. I stocked up on alfalfa/orchard hay and started her on alfalfa pellets. My mom provided her mineral “K.I.S Trace” and Basic Equine Health for ulcers. We pulled her shoes a week later, and she has been living a very relaxed life since. Her farrier comments each trim how great her hooves are.

While she is enjoying much time off, she reminds me daily that she is still very athletic while maintaining her kindness. This spring, we will begin dressage training. I may attempt jumping eventually, but I see so much dressage potential in her that I plan to focus on that. Most of all, she brings so much healing to someone who was not sure if she would ever work with an OTTB horse again.

As a mom of two, she has molded into our family and the daily routine. My 15 month old gets the biggest smile in Beauty’s presence and automatically pets her very gently. My 4 year old proudly tells everyone about her and how happy she makes mom. Everything just came naturally and continues to come naturally. While we have had some minor transitioning woes, she has been the most self-preserving OTTB that I have had the joy of working with. Best of all, I can finally call her my own and safe to say she is part of the family.

To read more OTTB updates, please click here.