Wasabi Ventures Stables acquired Lap of Luxury in the fall of 2019 when she was a foal along with her mare, Littlemissperfect, from Housatonic Bloodstock. As a yearling, WVS decided to keep Lap for their racing program.

Lap ran six times with three wins for WVS before being claimed away in June 2022. At the end of July she raced in a $6,500 claiming race at Monmouth Park. WVS dropped a claim on Lap to retire her, but there was a two-way shake and another owner got her. However, WVS reached out to the new owner, who was more than glad to sell her to them for her claiming price.

Lap of Luxury’s retirement was our second private purchase. Due to the larger pricetag, TK and Michele Kuegler made a generous donation to The Horse Fund to assist with the purchase.

After a few day stay back in the barn of Jesse Cruz, Lap moved to Maryland to start her transition to off-track life with Nicole Martin. Nicole will give Lap time to unwind before preparing her for her forever home and second career.

We look forward to sharing many wonderful updates on Lap of Luxury.

To make a donation in support of our aftercare mission, please click here.

Beauty or “B” settled into North River Stables in Mt. Crawford, Virginia, on June 1st with the help of my friend and trainer. She has full turnout with an accepting herd of horses of all breeds with your typical pecking order behavior. We have had no major problems settling in and are thankful for that. She bonded quickly with an After The Race adoptee right off the bat.

Training

We began ground work in round pen and grass ring immediately with little to no problems. About a month in, we have achieved walk, trot, and cantor, as well as trotting over poles or low set jumps and hacking out. We recently did a jump chute to gauge her willingness and ability. She had a little too much fun. She has always loved jumping since the first times we attempted them. Her Jockey Club name, “Wave Jumper”, suits her well.

Teamwork

Beauty really thinks about everything we do and practically teaches herself. She is patient with me regaining my balanced seat and never makes me feel unsafe or like she wants to bail on me. I sometimes get emotional when I climb on her back because I feel like she is supporting me as much as I work to support her. It’s a true companionship.

Happiness

I am still working on her complete gut health, and her attitude and overall condition show it. We are slowly making our way back to a show ring, and I dream of our first time together. However, I am patient and for now. We will continue trot sets and muscle building and bending. She is loved by everyone, just like at the track, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Many thanks to Samantha, who provided this update on Beauty.

To read Beauty’s previous update, please click here.

Dill (formerly owned by Wasabi Ventures Stables as Vineyard Harbour) is eight months post op for a total wound revision. Crazy to think it’s been almost a year! He is also a proud new resident of Hanover, Pennsylvania, home of Utz Chips! 

As of April, he was able to be let out to the pasture full time from a very annoyingly long stall/in-hand exercise rest time. But much needed!

Now Dill is sound to do whatever his heart desires, with full vet clearance to hit the rodeos!

We came up with a great way to protect his surgical site scar while he is out in the field playing with his friends. While he is working under saddle, we just wear a sport and bell boot. 

Dill is one big puppy dog, so loving and patient with all of these ongoings. He is truly one amazingly strong fighting boy. I’m so thankful that I got so lucky to have such a good one. Here’s to all the comeback kids and the underdogs.

Submitted by Dill’s best friend, Samyi Bierman. To read previous updates on Dill, please click here.

Janealee was added to the barns of Wasabi Ventures Stables in February 2018. After four races in their silks, including one win, it was decided that it would be best for her to retire. Her first post-racing career was being a broodmare. Her first foal, a colt named No Me Digas, is a three year old running in the Mid-Atlantic region.

After her second foal was stillborn, Janealee found a new home with Christine, where she has taken a new career. From Christine:

Janealee is doing great. One of my best friends is currently riding and training her to most likely foxhunt. She loves it and is doing great. We also may breed her again at some point. As her foals have been so nice, and she definitely throws her personality.

We look forward to seeing photos of Janealee foxhunting and will share them with all.

To read updates on other retired WVS horses, please click here.

Feel Proud was an early member of Wasabi Ventures Stables. He ran for WVS through 2017 and 2018. At the end of 2018 it was decided that it was time for him to retire. He went to MidAtlantic Horse Rescue (MAHR) via Beyond the Wire.

Shortly after his arrival there, it seemed that he was track sore. Unfortunately, after many rounds of diagnostics it was determined that he had EPM. Over the next year he was treated with three rounds of medications. While he did improve, the most he would be able to do was walk or trot.

With this diagnosis and outlook, Feel Proud was categorized as a pasture pet. Add to this the arrival of Covid, and it seemed Feel Proud might be at MAHR for quite some time. Then in the spring of 2021 he had a potential owner and new home. He was going to move to South Carolina. However, before the move could happen, his new owner was seriously injured and had to cancel his adoption.

Maybe all of these things happened for a reason. Long time MAHR volunteer, Liz, was moving to a farm in North Carolina in mid-2022. Although she fell in love with many horses during her time there, Feel Proud was special. After months (years?) of pampering him at MAHR, she decided to bring him, now known as Felix, to her new farm. To keep him company she also adopted Completed Pass, now known as Wyatt.

Together, Felix and Wyatt are enjoying happily ever at their new home. Not only do they have an amazing new friend in Liz, they also get the companionship of one another.

To read more retired racehorse updates, please click here.

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.

Where is Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP) based?

FLTAP is located on the grounds of Finger Lakes Racetrack in Farmington, New York. Finger Lakes Race Track is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Rochester, NY. We are the first and only Thoroughbred adoption program located on the grounds of a racetrack in North America.

How did your program begin?

Discussion between Finger Lakes horsemen and management led to a mutual desire to take a more active approach in providing owners and trainers with trusted resources in finding homes for those Thoroughbreds that had reached the end of their racing years. Those conversations led to the founding of a jointly funded formal program between track management and the Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association in 2006. In 2007, with the help of several others we were able to take the program further with the construction of a dedicated facility to assist in the placement of retired Thoroughbreds into new homes or careers.

Delaware North Companies, the parent company of Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, donated the two acres of land on which the facility is located. The construction was made possible through $60,000 in state funding secured by New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, as well a grant from the American Humane Association. A significant amount of additional funding was generously provided by Wanda Polisseni, the principal of Purple Haze Stables, which led to the building being named the Purple Haze Center in her honor.

What makes FLTAP unique?

There are several unique things about Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, Inc. We are located on the grounds of a racetrack with a 16-stall barn, indoor training arena, and six paddocks.
Our Board of Directors consists of Finger Lakes Racetrack management personnel and Finger Lakes Horsemen and Horsewomen.
After an approved adopter has a Thoroughbred placed with them, we follow the progress of the horse and new owner for a year with 3, 6, and 12 month paper work and photos.
Even after the one year follow-up, we will take the horse back should circumstances change for the adopter and they can no longer take care of the horse or it turns out not to be the right fit.
Our barn is open to the public daily from 9 am to 3pm. Having an array of different ages visiting the barn assists the horse into acclimating to being around or experiencing different situations than they are accustomed to.
We have a full time trainer, who works with the horses and evaluates their ability to go on to a second career or a pasture mate.
FLTAP has volunteers who have been with us for more than 10 years.
We offer a unique experience for college students. Finger Lakes racetrack personnel will spend 3 – 4 days with the student in various operational areas, i.e. – the racing office, the stewards, announcer, placing judges and accounting. This gives the student a well rounded look into careers in the racing industry.
Adopters have so enjoyed our service that even 10 years later we are still getting updates about the horse they adopted.

What happens when a horse is accepted into your program?

When a trainer or owner decides that their Thoroughbred is ready to retire, they will fill out a surrender form (basically turning the horse over to our program). There is a $300 placement fee. We will then give the horse two weeks to adjust to being a horse again and getting used to the barn, our workers and volunteers. New horses will be seen by our equine dentist.
After two weeks, our trainer/barn manager will start with groundwork and either Western or English riding. She will post pictures on our website or our Facebook page to alert potential adopters.

Do you work with other locations or farms in your program?

We have worked with the local humane society in the Rochester area – Lollipop Farm and have accepted transfers from other rescues over the years. Since adding a full time trainer to the program, we have a farther reach from just locally to nationwide.

Do you require new owners to do reporting?

Yes, new owners are required to submit paperwork every 3, 6, and 12 months with photos of the horse without a blanket. We stress that we are here to assist new owners as we want to make sure this adoption is the right fit for both horse and human.

How many horses have gone through your program?

We have assisted with the retirement of about 800 retired Thoroughbreds since our opening in 2006. 2021 was a record year for us with 54 adoptions.

How does FLTAP receive funding?

Our funding is unique in that the Finger Lakes Horsemen contribute $2.50 for every horse that starts at Finger Lakes Racetrack and Finger Lakes Racing Association, Inc. contributes $2.00 for every start.
We are accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and receive grant monies through that accreditation.
The Thoroughbred Charities of America grant and ASPCA grants are another funding source.
Donations from people around the state of New York and beyond are especially helpful throughout the year.

If people want to help your program, what can they do?

Donations of used tack/blankets, auction items, or monetary donations for hay, bedding, peppermints and dental/medical visits are always much appreciated. Visit our website, or send to our mailing address:

FLTAP
PO Box 25043
Farmington, NY 14425

To learn about other thoroughbred retirement programs, click here.

I have to say that a lot has changed in the last month. Groundwork lessons with our new trainer, Katerina (who goes by Ponti Kriti on social media), have gone incredibly well. After just two sessions with her, there was a tremendous difference in Ria’s overall attitude. We still have work to do, but Ria hasn’t had any more “panic attacks” since starting the new training, which is a huge step forward. She is much easier to calm down once she gets a little anxious now and just seems to be a much happier, more relaxed horse. It’s been so rewarding to see her like this, particularly when I’ve had numerous people tell me that Ria would “always have a lot of anxiety” and that that was “just who she is.”

A new style of training

Much of this training has involved becoming “attuned” (as several great trainers call it, including Warwick Schiller and Katerina) to Ria’s thoughts and body language. The general idea is that when horses feel like you understand what they’re trying to communicate, much of their anxiety and concern falls away. Ria has really responded to this sort of training, along with general positive reinforcement training with rewards like treats and praise.

A new home

Ria moved to a new farm at the end of April, which is a beautiful little place in southern Maryland with just eight stalls. While, unfortunately, this place is further from home for me, it has impeccable care, which is incredibly important to me. I get photos of Ria from the barn owner and manager on a regular basis, and I know she has Ria’s best interests at heart. She has also been wonderful and patient with helping Ria make the transition from a dry lot to the lovely grassy paddocks they have. Already, Ria has become great friends with her next door stall-mate Ollie, who has also been her pasture companion.

New health updates

I had Ria checked out last week by the new vet, as Katerina suggested that Ria looked slightly off behind. After a thorough evaluation and some x-rays, we discovered that Ria has very mild kissing spine (grade 1 of 4). The vet indicated that this shouldn’t affect her performance long term, but it’s something to keep an eye on and continue to work on improving her topline. The vet also mentioned (as the farrier had recently) that Ria may need to get hind shoes, as the soles of her rear feet are pretty thin. My guess is that was due to the bluestone surface of the dry lots from the previous barn, so hopefully things are already improving with the change to a grassy surface.

And maybe a new saddle fitting

I’m also having a saddle fitter out next week to make sure that Ria’s saddle still fits her, as her body has changed a lot since she was last fitted in December. In addition, I’m looking into a number of options to upgrade her half-pad to something that would be more supportive for a horse with kissing spine. Once those items have been taken care of, I expect to be back in the saddle on a more regular basis. I think Ria is better able to cope with her anxiety under saddle now, so hopefully we won’t have any more bucking fits.

Overall, I’m thrilled with how the past month has gone and look forward to the next one!

To read the previous update on Ria (AKA Sevilla Sangria) click here.

Submitted by Lauren Floyd, WVS club member

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.