The War Horse

In memory of Soon
8 March 2006 - 12 November 2017

"War Horse:" racehorse with 30+ starts; known for their heart, durability, and perseverance.

Name:  Soon
Foaled: March 8, 2006
Sire:  Tenpins
Dam:  Just Zooming
Starts:  52
Firsts: 6
Seconds:  7
Thirds:  2
Total Lifetime Earnings:  $48,452
Tracks:  Arlington (IL), Beulah Park (OH), Ellis Park (KY), Fairmount Park (IL), Hawthorne (IL), Turfway (KY)

"Soon" came into my life in July 2013.  I cannot say much about what happened before that, other than what Equibase tells me about him.  Soon was an Illinois-bred gelding by Tenpins, out of the mare Just Zooming (by Schembechler).  He started his race career in 2008 at Arlington (I've been there once!).  He broke his maiden in his sixth start, and from there he ran mostly in claiming races, though he did win an allowance race and lost a handicap only by a neck.  He had a couple of different owners and trainers during his career; the majority of it was spent in the lower level claimers, but he ran well enough to keep paying his way.  The race video below was from his wire-to-wire, run away win at Beulah in 2012:

After a couple of years completely out of the horse industry, and another year pondering horse ownership again (and bouncing between wanting to buy green Holsteiners or a Thoroughbred off the track), I stumbled across Soon's listing on Canter Illinois.  I was living in the Midwest at the time and had finally decided to look closer to home, versus trying to look at horses on East Coast tracks from a distance.  His photos immediately caught my eye (see below), and his write up made me come back to the page often to ponder it.  I called his owner/trainer, Dennis, and we had a lovely, long conversation about Soon and also what I was looking for.  We both agreed that it was a good fit, and I think Dennis was a little surprised and probably took me more seriously when I told him I'd be flying down to look at the horse immediately.  Yes...I hopped on a plane in order to get there before anyone else!

Photo courtesy Canter Illinois
I mean this NOT the most polite, careful track jog you've ever seen?

I immediately loved what I saw with Soon - a well put together, sensible horse, who felt lovely undersaddle and was clearly well taken care of.  Unfortunately, the thing with Thoroughbreds is you can't have just one...I made the mistake of looking at another horse that day at Fairmount, from another trainer's barn, and fell in love with both of them for different reasons.  But I came back to Soon, and as I hung out in his stall, clearly torn about my decision, Dennis looked at me and said "You have to take him.  I don't want him to go to anyone but you."  That was it.  Between that plea and Soon putting his head in my chest for ear rubs, I was sold.  Or rather, he was sold.  He came home and we started the next chapter of our lives.

 Soonie was a dream horse in every way.  I had the ability to custom order a horse from a catalog, I don't think I could have crafted a better horse for myself.  He had the calmest, most rational demeanor I've ever seen in a horse.  He was well put together and moved well - maybe not a "big" or loose mover, but correct and clean.  He was a natural jumper, brave and willing, and scopey.  He had a work ethic that I wish I could borrow - he never said no, and if you ask, he would give.  He gave 110%, every ride.  He exceled at dressage, jumping, and loved to hack out.  He seemed to really enjoy having a job and a second career in the slow lane with some variety.  There isn't a single thing I asked him to do that he didn't do well.  I've trained many horses over the years, and reschooled lots of Thoroughbreds off the track, and he was certainly the easiest, most straightforward and rewarding horse I have ever had the extreme privilege of knowing.  And he was mine.

Soon passed away on Sunday, 12 November 2017 after a long battle with colic and complications from colic surgery.  I lost my heart that day.  

War Horse:  Collateral Beauty

He meant more to me than I can possibly explain in words, for reasons far more important than his athletic ability or aptitude.  Read about the life lessons he taught me, and why I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have him in my life.

A photo tour of our time together:

First ride, August 2013

First horse show, October 2013

My favorite view of Nebraska

We moved to Maryland in summer 2014

And we do lots of hacking

He beat some well-bred Warmbloods in a dressage show! 

I am so thankful for moments like these

And grateful for this blessed partnership

Upperville Colt & Horse Show, 2017
George H. Morris clinic, 2017

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