Wee Monie Creek was claimed by Wasabi Ventures Stables in May 2018. In her very first race for WVS she was claimed away. More recently, she seemed to be struggling in her races at Mountaineer. Thanks to some connections, I was able to help with her retirement.

It takes a village

As I worked on making connections in the world of aftercare, I began assembling a list of contacts at tracks where former WVS horses run. I messaged one of those contacts on Facebook a month or so ago to ask about Wee Monie Creek. She said she’d let me know if the owner was interested in retiring her. Then in mid-November the owner expressed interest in retiring her, after running one more race. After that he was glad to sell her to me.

Next began the search for an aftercare program to take her. I spoke with a handful of contacts with various amounts of success. One had a waitlist, and one would require a lengthy (and expensive) ship. Then, one was available and willing to take her.

Racing was cancelled the day of her race, so I reached out to ask about how to proceed. Even with the race cancelled, he was willing to sell her. Now, it was time to find a shipper. With the aftercare farm located four hours away, it took a decent amount of searching and connections, but a ride was found.

Happily ever after for Wee Monie Creek

On Thanksgiving afternoon, Wee was picked up at Mountaineer and hauled to Heart of Phoenix in Lesage, West Virginia. When she arrived that evening, she had a stall awaiting her arrival. I have heard from the barn manager that she is settling in nicely. Plus, they find her to be a very sweet girl.

This is the fourth horse we have purchased for retirement this year. I am truly grateful for my connections that have helped to make the transition from racehorse to retiree possible.

To learn more about other WVS retirees, please click here.

As always, I am grateful to Grace for providing this update on Play and her recent ultrasound.

It has been about three months into rehabbing Shecanflatoutplay, so today we decided to ultrasound her tendon again. My vet and I are thrilled with how great it looks and how well it is healing! We came up with a short-term game plan for going forward in her rehab process in order to continue her healing and getting her ready to be ridden.

Heading to Tampa

When we get to Tampa, Play will go to a riding farm on November 1st where she can start being turned out in a small field everyday. I will let her just be turned out and relax on the farm for about about two months. Then I will see how she’s doing. If everything still seems good, I will start riding her at the walk for a few minutes a day. From there I will build up to more time every few days. After a few weeks, I should be able to walk and trot her (as long as everything feels good). If she does, then I will continue with her rehab and she will be able to be ridden more often.

2023 Goals

Our goal is to compete at the Retired Racehorse Project in October 2023, which we still have months and months to prepare for. Play has been so patient during these last three months, handling her stall rest and handwalking so well. I am so excited to continue this journey with her. I can’t wait to see where we end up in a few months! She has been such a good girl, eating lots of Pop Tarts and mints, getting spoiled, and spending a lot of time together. I love her so much and am thrilled with the progress in her rehab so far!

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

Recently, I spoke with Jan Ely, Program Coordinator at Galloping Out, to learn more about their program.

Where is Galloping Out based?

Galloping out is based at Hawthorne. It also was based at Arlington until it closed last fall.

How did your program begin?

Illinois was home to the last horse slaughterhouse in America. There were two in Texas in the early 2000s, but the slaughterhouse in DeKalb was the last to remain open. Jan worked with a few other people to make it illegal in Illinois, which took three years. Along the way, people asked what they would do with the horses once the slaughterhouse was closed. That was the start of Galloping Out. The slaughterhouse closed in 2007, and Galloping Out opened in 2010.

What happens when a horse is accepted into your program?

Before Galloping Out accepts a horse, Jan visits and assesses the horse, as well as interviews the trainer. She takes photos of the horse and marks the horse as permanently retired in the Jockey Club. GO will do vet work if needed at their vet clinic, which is located on the track.

Galloping Out works with seven farms. Depending on each farm’s capacity and each horse’s situation a farm is chosen. Once at the farm, each horse, even a sound horse, gets six to eight weeks of down time. The team “test drives” all of them before making them available for adoption. 

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

As noted above, this program is based at the track and sends the horses to program farms. Like Beyond the Wire in Maryland, they have an office on the backstretch. 

There are two requirements for horses applying with Galloping Out. They need to be Chicago-based horses and have the ability to get sound enough to be adoptable. 

Do you require new owners to do reporting?

Yes, potential adopters are required to complete an application. This includes questions about the rider’s skill level, what they want in a horse, references, and financial stability, among other items. Once approved, the adopter signs a contract, which includes clauses for no breeding and no slaughter. Adopters are told that if the adoption doesn’t work, they just need to call Galloping Out. 

Galloping Out friends adopters on Facebook as an additional way to track the horses. However, most adopters can’t wait to send pictures to Galloping Out.

How many horses have gone through your program?

Almost 300 horses have been adopted via Galloping Out.

How does Galloping Out receive funding?

Galloping Out receives funding through grants, TAA-accreditation, TCA, Equis Foundation, and ASPCA. Hawthorne also has a per start aftercare fee during racing season. Plus, Hawthorne writes a check every meet. 

Do you have a story about a horse that we can share with our readers?

Win D Prado, who was adopted in 2019, is one of the more memorable horses to go through Galloping Out. He had the second worst bowed tendon that they ever took in the program. He had a very long rehab. Once that was done, a woman from Michigan came to get him. She took him home and boarded him at a farm and then proceeded to buy property and build a barn just for him. Since then Win D has been busy. He attends parades, sorts cattle, jumps a little, and trail rides. This horse is her whole life. Although his initial prospect was weak, he has found his forever home and will do anything for this woman.

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

Although Galloping Out hasn’t held events in a couple years due to the pandemic, they plan to start events again in the future. Volunteers for events would be wonderful. Some of the farms with whom they work also could use volunteers.

To learn more about Galloping Out, please visit their website.

I received an update from Megan, who is Happy’s human best friend.

Happy (JC Kaffeinated) is doing great! She and I began our partnership in late December 2021. In January 2022, when she began work again under saddle, we found a small fracture in her back left. She enjoyed a nice spring off of work and we re-started in July 2022 after she was sound again.

She has come back into work so nicely. Happy is a very hard worker and willing to try anything I ask of her. Of course, as a 4 year old, she has such a curious nature and is a goofball – she loves to steal my hat and glasses!

Happy is such a lovely addition to our family and I am so excited to see her develop over time.
(As can be seen in the photo above, Happy also has a canine family member, Sue.)

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

You also can see more photos of Happy here.

Before we get far into the Adventures of Play and Grace, it probably makes sense to talk about Play’s retirement. In July, Jesse (her trainer) and Grace noticed she had some tenderness. An ultrasound showed a tendon tear in her left front leg. This injury requires multiple months of stall rest before training can resume. At that point, Wasabi Ventures Stables decided to retire her, so she could rehab with Grace, and then begin a second, less taxing career.

Grace’s update on rehab:

Shecanflatoutplay has been resting in her stall, being bathed and then hand-walked for 15-20 minutes every day for about a month. She was fresh the first week or so, but I think she has started to realize that she’s not going back to the track. She’s settling down more and more every day.

It had been about 30 days of this schedule, so on Monday she was able to go outside in the round pen! I was so happy to bring her outside, since she is always happiest being outside! She was such a good girl. Play got down and rolled around in the dirt and then didn’t do anything too exciting. She just walked around in there (ate some dirt) and stayed there for about an hour since she was being so good and quiet. After that, she came inside and got a nice bath. I hope to be able to keep bringing her outside everyday so she can stretch her legs, roll, and maybe even play a bit.

And future plans for Play:

When we get to Tampa in the beginning of November, I found a beautiful riding farm to board her at. There, she will be turned out in a grass field every day for at least another month until I begin riding her. I can’t wait until I can finally ride her and see what she’s like off the track! Our plan is to apply to the Retired Racehorse Project 2023, which is held at the Kentucky Horse Park! There are so many different disciplines we can do at RRP, but the hunters is my favorite. I’m hoping it will be hers, too! The hunters is all about a slow and steady rhythm and having a good moving and nice jumping horse. I have a feeling Play will excel in this discipline. But if she doesn’t, we will pick whatever she is best at and I will adjust!

This road will be long, but I am thrilled to be able to do this with my best girl and can’t wait to see where this journey takes us!

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

Many thanks to Grace Smith for these updates and photos of Play!

I spoke with Laurie Lane at Second Call to learn more about their program.

Where is Second Call based?

It is based at Monmouth Park with partner farms in Thurmont, Maryland, and Jackson, Millstone, and Hunter’s Run, New Jersey.

How did your program begin?

Laurie was a co-founder of ReRun in the early 90s. ReRun was a national program with satellite farms in eleven states. Monmouth was always supportive of this program. At some point Laurie recognized Monmouth’s need for its own, dedicated aftercare program and left ReRun to form Second Call in 2012. 

What makes Second Call unique?

Second Call does a lot of triage. They model the program after Turning for Home. Being at the track, Laurie is able to evaluate the horses. At Second Call, they rehabilitate the horse before working with a partner farm to retrain and rehome the horses. Second Call maintains ownership while horses are in triage. 

What are the criteria for accepting a horse into your program? What happens after a horse is accepted?

The horse has to be stabled or running at Monmouth to be accepted. Once accepted, Second Call does a full soundness evaluation with a veterinarian. We decided on a best course of action. If the horse needs rehab, the horse stays with Second Call until it is ready for retraining. When a horse is ready for retraining and rehoming, Second Call works with After The Races, Thoroughbred Retirement, Rehabilitation and Careers, and Bluebloods. These programs receive a care stipend when taking a horse.

Do you require new owners to do reporting?

When a horse is transferred to one of the retraining programs, that program has ownership. Once the horse is adopted, the program includes Second Call on the paperwork, which lets them know where and to whom the horse was adopted. Additionally, it provides a double safety net, as Second Call can be contacted if something goes awry with the horse.

How many horses have gone through your program?

In the first few years, the number of horses was smaller, but in recent years Second Call has averaged 40-50 retirements per meet.

How does Second Call receive funding?

Second Call receives funding via Monmouth Park, private donations, and grants. They also have TAA accreditation, which provides funding. New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association holds an annual golf outing that provides funding as well.

Do you have a story about a horse that we can share with our readers?

Laurie had a story about PJ’s Bad Boy:

PJ’s Bad Boy came to Second Call with quite the “Bad Boy” reputation. He was a super confident horse that had neither patience nor tolerance for his humans. PJ had an amazing breeder/owner, who after a conversation with him, it was evident he loved PJ very much and wanted the best for him. PJ was spoiled and always got his way. He became a bit of a monster child and would lash out if asked to do the simplest task, such as stand still for the vet. PJ arrived on our farm and met his “Super Nanny”. Just like the show Super Nanny, Marilyn has an amazing gift to read and understand what each and every horses needs. Marilyn looked at him with a smile and said, “You’ve been a naughty, naughty boy.” Marilyn spent months teaching our resident bad boy manners and that love sometimes means being told no. 

One night we get an email from Beth, who sadly told us she lost her beloved horse and PJ had caught her eye. We very quickly realized how amazing Beth would be as an adopter for PJ. With all his quirks Beth was sure this was her next forever companion. PJ started his 1,200 mile journey to warm and sunny Florida. Beth describes her Bad Boy, “He is the sweetest, funniest boy. Kids who come for their lessons stop and give PJ kisses and treats along with the adults. I love him to pieces!!!!” No words can describe the feeling we get when a horse gets a momma like Beth!

pj

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

Second Call is always glad to accept monetary donations, as well as gift cards for supplies. Most importantly, Laurie wants people to do the right thing. To quote her “I want to not be needed.”

You can learn more about Second Call at https://sctap.com/

You also can follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SecondCallThoroughbreds 

To learn about another aftercare program, read this article.

Wasabi Ventures Stables purchased Shecanflatoutplay at the October 2019 OBS Yearling Auction. She then went to Zoe Valvo at the Middleburg Training Track to begin her training as racehorse. In late spring 2020, she was sent to trainer, Jesse Cruz, who was stabled at Pimlico. There she began her on-track training.

She debuted at Charles Town in January 2021, breaking her maiden there in a maiden special weight in March. Play raced under WVS silks eight times, earning two wins. She also won the hearts of our club with her playful antics and her special relationship with Grace Smith, Jesse Cruz’s assistant and girlfriend.

Grace’s introduction to Shecanflatoutplay

I have known Shecanflatoutplay since I met Jesse, about 2 years ago. I would go over to see him and the horses at feed time when we first started dating. She was clearly very beautiful, but I had my eyes set on sweet Shamrock Kid. As most of Wasabi Ventures Stables and the club know, I loved him very much and losing him truly devastated me. (Shamrock Kid broke down during training on March 17, 2021.) I told Jesse standing in the barn, “Never let me get attached to another racehorse like that again because I won’t be able to handle it.”

However, when Jesse could no longer stand seeing Shamrock’s empty stall (as it was the first stall), he hesitantly asked if we should move Shecanflatoutplay in there. I, even more hesitantly, agreed. From the moment we moved her into that stall it was like she knew I needed her. She has been there for me every day since. Whenever I needed a snuggle or a shoulder to scratch, she would stand there for me, for however long I needed.

A very special bond

I truly don’t know if she understands how much I love her, but I have loved every second of watching her train in the morning, every breeze, every race. More than anything, I can’t wait to ride her off the track. I feel so blessed that TK, Michele, and, of course, the WVS club retired her with me where she will be forever loved and spoiled (more than she already was!) I can’t wait for this next chapter with Play; I am beyond excited. It will be a long road with rehabbing her tendon injury. No matter what, I just can’t wait to have her in my life forever and discover what she wants to do in her life off the racetrack!

A new partnership

With Play’s retirement from racing, Grace will be sharing regular updates on Play with The Horse Fund. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to see her latest adventures, which are sure to include PopTarts. In addition to following Shecanflatoutplay’s transition, The Horse Fund will sponsor Grace and Play, as they plan to compete in the 2023 Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover.

Liam is fitting right into his new life as a pampered show pony!  His personality blooms more everyday!  When I walk into the barn I’m greeted by him nickering and kicking the stall.  I cannot tell if he is excited to see me, or if he is more excited for the prospect of treats. The jury is still out on that one!

Health update

I noticed some body soreness issues about a month ago. We promptly had the chiropractor out (his new best buddy).  She informed me that Liam’s body is growing/changing very quickly and that we would benefit from monthly chiropractic visits.  I have noticed a drastic difference, and my sweet boy has returned to his happy go lucky self. 

Liam will also be surprised next week with a brand-new saddle!  I decided to get a saddle with more options to be adjusted so we could easily make changes as he continues to grow!

Training update

Liam continues to flourish in his new job.  While he finds flatwork “boring and unnecessary”, he thinks jumping the sticks is the BEST!

He is learning to answer all the questions I put in front of him and is becoming a trustworthy brave hunter.

Showing update

Liam and I have been showing with our barn team on the NIHJA (Northern Illinois Hunter Jumper Association) circuit.  I could not be more proud of him.  We are starting out this season in the Beginner Adult division.  Liam and I ended up taking reserve champion hunter and won the equitation classic at our last show at Leges! We have two more shows coming up on the summer circuit, and then we will start on the indoor circuit!

I’m beyond blessed to have this little red horse in my life.  He brings me so much joy!

Many thanks to Charlotte, who provided this update on Liam.

To read Liam’s previous update, please click here. You also can see more photos of Liam here.

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.