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.

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.

Willie The Whale joined the barn of Wasabi Ventures Stables in July 2018. He was homebred by his trainer, Beth Worton and was purchased privately by WVS. He raced for WVS five times before being sold in a private transaction with Ronney Brown.

Willie continued to run until early August of 2022. In his last race, his trainer saw that he wasn’t interested in running and proactively decided to retire him. That is how Willie met Alison and found his forever home.

Currently, he’s unwinding from his track career and beginning a little bit of groundwork. We look forward to following Willie’s and Alison’s adventures!

To read about another WVS retiree, please click here.

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.

In October, I was lucky enough to acquire Allied Invasion from Wasabi Ventures Stables, Allī for his barn name. Every day, I am so grateful he is in my life. He is incredibly smart and has such a huge personality that I laugh every day. I have been free jumping him and lunging him in open fields to build his confidence before I take that step with me on his back.

In April, I had to change up his training as he got sticky with no longer wanting to be in the ring. Alli loves the trails. With consistency, he got over it. It was a brilliant day when I could physically feel him decide he wasn’t going to pick a fight with me. He also is incredibly brave. Last week I was in the outdoor arena and one of the boxwood bushes started moving like a velociraptor was hiding in it. Nope, it was just a doe ,who popped out into the ring, two feet behind Allī. He didn’t even spook.

We have transitioned to night turnout for the summer. If you are sitting near some wood, please knock on it because he loves night turnout. The first morning, the farm owner looked outside, and Allī was laying down, taking a nap. I was so happy that he felt comfortable enough to do so. It was the first time he has laid down outside since I have owned him. He even conveniently whinnies at 7:50 am every morning to make sure the farm owner is awake for 8:00 am breakfast.

I have been taking his training slowly because I have no need to rush him. Alli is a horse for a lifetime!

Submitted by Claire, All’s forever best friend

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

Over the past month, Ria and I have gone back to the basics of training. I’ve done a lot of pure relaxation work with her, as she’s a very anxious horse in general. I am sure that anxiety is where 99% of her issues are stemming from. Some exercises have included simply redirecting her focus back to me when she gets too distracted and anxious about something. I’ve also gotten much better at reading her body language and determining when she’s concerned or stressed. Then I can back off from any requests when something makes her too worried. While we still have a ways to go, Ria has definitely started to become a much more relaxed horse overall. Much of the relaxation and liberty work that we’ve done together has been helping me with my own anxiety. I’ve taken to meditating on a regular basis so that I can be a better owner and trainer to Ria.

Liberty work

We have also started doing some liberty work with the help of an old dressage trainer of mine. After one training session with her, I was able to start doing some join up/hooking on exercises with Ria. She would match steps with me (walking when I walked, stopping when I stopped, and even turning and backing up when I did). We’ve developed a much stronger connection with each other as a result.

Lunging

While I don’t think we’ve quite nailed down lunging yet, we’ve made a ton of progress over the last several weeks thanks to my dressage trainer. We’ve had several sessions where there weren’t any fireworks from Ria, and she’s become much more relaxed. Most recently, I was able to walk, trot, and canter her on the lunge line while relatively relaxed. Once we’re able to lunge consistently without any fireworks, I’ll be hopping back on her. At this point, I’m hopeful that she’ll be comfortable enough with lunging in the next week or two for me to try again. Once I’m back in the saddle, I’m going to continue doing a lot of relaxation exercises with her.

March 3rd officially been 6 months since I first claimed Ria out of her final race at Timonium. While things have definitely been a challenge at times, I’m just so glad to have her in my life.

To read the previous update on Ria (AKA Sevilla Sangria) click here. To learn more about Lauren, click here.

Submitted by Lauren Floyd, WVS club member

We are excited to announce that The Horse Fund is now included in the list of accepted charities at Amazon Smile. When you shop at Amazon, you can make a donation to our charity, at no extra cost to you.

You can take advantage of this donation option with one simple step. Just click this link, and choose “Start shopping”. When you make a purchase, a small donation will be added to The Horse Fund’s account. There are no extra charges or fees for you; the donation comes out of the regular purchase price.

With every purchase you make, you will be helping fund the safe retirement of thoroughbreds, while also getting the items you need. This definitely will make us smile.