Meet Serenade, our 12 year old Thoroughbred mare. I never had much interest in Thoroughbreds before now. I had run a boarding barn and found that the Thoroughbreds that stabled with me were ‘goofy’ and thin skinned. It seemed that they were flighty and always running into something and getting puncture wounds. I realize now that they were just too new to their current situation and hadn’t had a chance to settle. They were what are called Off Track Thoroughbreds and had not had the chance to adjust to being a horse completely.
Here is what I have learned this year. The OTT (off track thoroughbreds) have lived a very exclusive life in a stall only to be let out to train for races. They are pampered, blanketed and never let out to pasture to just play. In other words, they do not know what it is like to be a horse. Then, unfortunately, if they do not race well, come out of the gate, or have some other “quirk” detrimental to their career, not to mention fractures, they are sold at auction, given away, or destroyed. There are several rescue and adoption facilities to help these animals. Anyway, back to my story about Serenade.
We have been looking for such a horse as this all summer, but just looking casually. I had no intention of every getting one until spring of 2010 at least. Then as I was searching horses online looking for something I could retrain and sell as a trail horse I thought, why not run through the thoroughbred section. And then I saw this ad for this horse being sold for $500. I thought something surely must be wrong with it and out of curiosity read the ad. The mare sounded ok, so I emailed the owner. Turns out there is nothing wrong with this horse. She was just unwanted. So I bought her for half the asking price. That is the first time in my life I have ever bought a horse for $250.o0 that turned out the be about the best horse I own. She is absolutely awesome and I am thrilled to have her. She is beautiful, although slightly underweight and in need of developing back her muscle tone. She is intelligent, easy to ride, very well trained, willing and a good trail horse, plus she does very well in the ring. She is twelve years old, has a strong mothering instinct with the younger horses and gets along well with everyone. Longed legged! good golly, this horse can easily keep up with the Tennessee Walkers my husband owns.
Serenade came from Leighton Farms in Maryland. She had raced 76 time and won around $60,000 which isn’t much, but must have been enough to have kept her going. Finally she was sold, re-habbed and from what I could find out, was at one time a hunter-jumper and lower leverl dressage horse. I am pretty sure she was bred at least once. She was found in a draft horse auction barn waiting to be auctioned off for slaughter when the people at Leighton found her. Thank goodness they saved her.
I have recently started hunt seat lessons to improve my riding ability. I am a very good rider for western and equitation, but hunt seat is something I have never done before. Wow, what a difference. My daughter has ridden hunt seat for several years and loves it. She wants to do eventing eventually. I doubt seriously we will use Serenade for that, but she will be a practice horse for both of us for some time. Right now, however, we are just enjoying having her with us as well as feeding, grooming and looking at her. I would say both horse and riders are lucky in this case. And just in case you have been misinformed about thoroughbreds like I was, take the time to research, talk and investigate. They truly are remarkable animals and highly intelligent.