Saturday, December 27, 2014

Warhorse Spotlight #1

It's true that I have a huge soft spot for the Thoroughbred "warhorses" - the racehorses who have made a lot of starts with many years of racing under their belts.  These horses are often wise beyond their years, having spent many years on the track seeing and doing it all.  Soon is an excellent example of the Thoroughbred warhorse: calm, quiet, outstanding work ethic, willing attitude, kind, and loyal.  Those attributes are why I made the decision to look at older ex-racehorses.

Many prospective buyers shy away from horses with a lot of miles on the track, because they fear the wear and tear on the animal's body, or they think the horse would not be as easy to train into a new sport.  Also, younger horses are more marketable for those looking to retrain and sell the horses into other disciplines.  Some truly wonderful "older" horses (6+ years) get overlooked because of the above reasons.

The reality is, any horse that has made it through 40+ starts and is SOUND is going to hold up for whatever other discipline we could possibly think of as a second career.  Some may be clean-legged, others may have track "jewelry" (osselets, bowed tendons, pinfiring marks, etc), but if truly sound after a long racing career, that horse is an excellent candidate for retraining as a sport horse.

I'm not sure how many people really look at this blog, but I figured the least I could do would be to spotlight a few of these horses as I come across them online.  Tonight's batch comes from CANTER Mid-Atlantic's Mountaineer listings.

Canoe In A Slew
Canoe In A Slew (photo
This 9 year old gelding looks like such a wonderful old soul.  He's not the biggest (15.3hh) or the flashiest (plain brown wrapper), but I believe you can tell a lot about a horse by his eye.  This horse has a lovely, soft eye and clearly has a huge heart - 59 starts and hit the board (first, second, or third) 29 times!  Video

He's not a big mover, but that because he's either a little sore for some reason, or just being careful on the pavement (Soonie didn't have a big trot in his listing video either).  I doubt he'd have a Grand Prix trot extension, but if you're looking for a solid, kind, and quiet partner to do lower level anything with, who cares?  I wish I could afford two horses, because this guy looks like he'd be a very careful and fun hunt mount.  I admit - he reminds me a lot of Soonie.  Something about this horse really speaks to me and I'm compelled to write about him.  I hope someone gives this guy a great home, because I'd be willing to bet that he will make an incredible partner.

One Vote
One Vote (photo
This guy strikes me the same way that the above horse did.  One Vote is an 8 year old with 89 starts under his belt, and earned over $120K. He's just over 15.3hh and as seen in his video, isn't interesting in getting anywhere fast these days!

He seems like an excellent amateur horse or even a kid's mount.  I could totally see him packing someone around the 2'6" hunters, going on hunter paces, doing some dressage, or being a kickass trail horse.  He looks very sweet and kind, hopefully a person matching that description comes along and scoops him up!

Parker's Love
Parker's Love (photo
Tall, dark, and handsome!!  This 7 year old, 16.1hh gelding had 45 starts and hit the board 11 times with 4 wins.  He's very leggy as you can see in his trot video - lots of potential there as a sport horse, tons of power and range.  He does seem to have an osselet on the right front, but if set properly that is not likely to be an issue in a second career.  This horse appears to have a nice, uphill build to him, and I'd imagine he'd be successful in a number of potential disciplines.  Nice prospect!

Blues In The Night
This one comes to us from the CANTER Mid-Atlantic Charles Town listings.  I've had my eye on this guy for quite awhile (not that I'm looking to buy!), mostly because he's stunning to look at thanks to his dappling.  He was originally priced much higher, and I've seen his price slowly come down, so I do not know if there's any issue with him, or if people just weren't biting at the higher prices.  The ad does not mention soundness or the state of his legs, but IF he is sound and on clean legs (or even if he has old injuries that aren't going to affect him), he would be quite the looker in a new career.

According to Equibase, Blues In The Night had 68 starts and was a stakes winner, earning over $330K in his career.   I think it goes without saying that this horse is probably a real trier, one that wants to please and work hard for his people.  I'd imagine that the lucky person who gets him will have not only a beautiful sport horse, but also a fun and successful one at that. 

So if you're in the market for an off the track Thoroughbred and you want one who has proven its mettle, has a confirmed work ethic, has seen and done it all and will not be impressed by whatever you throw at it, please consider a warhorse.  It's been my experience that they come off the track and settle into the quieter, slower routine extremely well, and make incredible riding horses.  Even though considered "older" by track standards, an 8 year old horse is still very young and has many great years to give to you. 

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