all in Aftercare

When you are open and accepting of the lessons courtesy of the curve balls thrown to you in life, you will constantly adapt, overcome, become resilient, and are available for growth opportunities. Relinquishing attachment to outcome is much easier said than done but I have learned to find joy in the journey wherever it takes me beyond my self-declared destination and goals. It seems that training and fostering JC: Saintly Ballad, aka “Athena,” has been another excellent exercise in learning to be open to a different outcome.

On Tuesday, July 23, 2020, ten retired racehorses from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF)’s Second Chances herd boarded a Brook Ledge van at the Wallkill Correctional Facility to begin a journey to their new home at Pastures of Point Lookout (PPL) in Chadds Ford, Pa. Each horse has a unique story that led to his retirement with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, but today they all shared a similar stroke of good fortune thanks to an extraordinary gesture of kindness, love and generosity.

Saintly Ballad (barn name: “Athena”) was rescued from a Louisiana kill pen approximately one year ago. Since she was recently raced, this qualified her to participate in the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover which then became a big goal for us. Due to COVID-19, the October 2020 competition has been rescheduled to next October and will be a “Mega” Thoroughbred Makeover with the 2020 and 2021 eligible horses participating in the opportunity to compete and showcase the versatility of the breed.

The story of my horsemanship journey has looked a lot like this: a horse enters my life typically for an intended purpose such as to train for a specific competitive discipline, and as I truly listen to them and commit myself to solving their unique challenges, they take me down a very different and unexpected path. Just because the horse is “doing” the job doesn’t mean that it is the right one for them to stay sound and happy for their career. I like to think of the “round peg, square hole” analogy for this explanation.

After Entangle and her colt left, I started a new job and decided that it was time to try working with yearlings. I did not mind working with teenage horses, but I did not get the same buzz as teaching babies the ABCs of being a good horse.

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