Friday Five: Prying into the Past

AKA “Internet Stalking My Own Horse”

I’ve been putting on my detective hat to cobble together pieces of Charlie’s past.  I did the same thing to Simon, though that was much, much easier — at the time, I had a subscription to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitor’s Association’s database, iPeds, that showed his pedigree, breeder, and a limited show history.  I also had a subscription to The Walking Horse Report, which had an extensive show record.  I could see where he’d shown, in what class, and what place he got.  Then I could even look up the show photographer’s websites and hunt down pictures of him.

Charlie is significantly more challenging, since he crossed industries, from a race horse to an Amish horse.  The Amish don’t exactly have a big online presence…

Wild Wasabi Standardbred
“Fix ya face, Chuck!”

Standardbred racehorses are freezebranded, which helps tremendously with identifying who they are.  You can look up brands for free online at the US Trotting Association website, and get general information like pedigree, birth date, markings, etc, along with the current owner’s name.  I also had a bit of info from when the Standardbred Retirement Foundation posted him in need of adoption.

I’ve been able to use some of this info to find some nuggets of info!

1. Charlie’s Race Record

I knew from the SRF’s post that Charlie earned $12,427 in his racing career.  This is a pretty paltry amount, considering that Standardbreds often race into their teens.  Other horses needing adoption in the same group as Charlie had earned over $100,000 and some even over $200,000!  This gave me the hunch that he probably had a pretty short racing career.

I got an account on the US Trotting Association website and was able to pay for reports (at the grand total of $0.75 a pop #BigSpender), including Charlie’s racing record:

  • 2006 (2 year old) — 5 starts: 0 1st, 0 2nd, 0 3rd ($1,395 won)
  • 2007 (3 year old) — 17 starts: 2 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd ($10,047 won)
  • 2008 (4 year old) — 1 start: 0 1st, 0 2nd, 0 3rd ($669 won)
  • 2009 (5 year old) — 5 starts: 0 1st, 0 2nd, 0 3rd ($316)

So Charlie had a flash of success in his 3 year old year and didn’t place a single time other than that, though he was able to collect some prize money along the way!

His 4 year old year has me curious — why did he only start once?

2. He Won Something!

I was able to find mention of Charlie in a 2006 article that was entirely about another horse.

He won!  He won!  A qualifier, but that’s something!

Obviously, the author chose the wrong horse to highlight!  Actually, Lemon Drop, the REAL subject of the article, went on to win $148,505… so maybe they were right not to focus on Charles…

3. Last Recorded Owner

On the USTA’s free tattoo search, you can find the name of the last recorded owner.  Charlie was owned by someone named William Moore from Ontario, and the transfer was effective as of 2009.

A quick search for didn’t produce much for the name, except that he probably went by Bert Moore.  A search for that name brought up an article from 2016 about his son, titled “Moore Makes Lemonade out of Lemons.”  It contains a particularly interesting line:

Just about everybody in the business has dad’s number on their Rolodex.  When you don’t want your horse anymore, and can’t sell it, you call Bert Moore.

Hmmm… makes me wonder if I’ve got a lemonade-resistant lemon in my barn!

4. The Canadian Connection

Charlie did all of his racing in Canada, despite being born in Kentucky.  I found a 2006 stallion directory for the Ontario Sires Stakes, which is an incentive program to encourage people to breed, buy, and race in Ontario.

Charlie’s sire, Angus Hall, was not only a nominated sire, he seemed to be one of the big names in the trotters!

Ranking sires by their babies’ earnings, he was 2nd place Leading Sire in both the 2 year old colt and filly trot, and 1st place Leading Sire in both 3 year old colt and filly trot.

It looks like his stud fee for 2006 was $15,000!

Also included in the summary were sales results of 2005 yearlings.  A certain young Wild Wasabi was listed as selling for $9,000 in the Forest City sale.  This is fairly low for an Angus Hall yearling, according to these results.  Some sold upwards of $90,000, with one selling for $100,000!  There were many in the $30,000-70,000 range, and probably about a third of them sold for under $10,000.

5. He’s a True Middle Child

Charlie’s dam, China Lady, had 8 foals; one every year from 1998 to 2006.  Born in 2004, Charlie was near the middle/end of the pack.  Interestingly, only the 2003, 2004, and 2005 babies have race records, and they’re all sired by different sires.

  • 2003: Last Samurai (by Self Possessed) earned $2,064 and had a race record of 2.06.3 (I think this is their time for a mile).
  • 2004: Wild Wasabi (by Angus Hall) earned $12,427 and had a race record of 2:03.4.
  • 2005: Kimonover Here (by Striking Sahbra) earned $69,834 and had a race record of 2.00.3.

So of the 3 racing siblings, Charlie is right smack-dab in the middle in terms of speed and earnings.

Charlie last raced in Canada in 2009, and found himself at auction in Pennsylvania in 2017, where SRF (and I) were able to get to him.  I’m not sure how long it took him to get to the Amish after his racing career, but I’m guessing he’s been there for quite some time!

Let me know if you’ve ever gone all Internet Stalker and found any good info on your own horse!

A Charlie Check-In

Mr. Wild Wasabi himself, aka Charlie, has been with me just about 14 days now!  Overall, I’m immensely impressed with how well he’s adjusting.  His life has been really topsy-turvy since November:

  • sold at auction from what I presume was an Amish home,
  • spent 30 days at a quarantine facility where he got over the nasty cold he’d picked up at the auction,
  • rode in a trailer for a few days to get from New Jersey to Illinois,
  • arrived at his new home with new horses, environment, people, etc.
New blanket and a mouth fulla hay.

His new blanket arrived a couple days ago.  It was on sale at Big Dee’s and it suits him nicely, though I imagine it’ll be much better when he gains some weight and fills out.  I’m so glad he looks so nice in red!  I’ve somehow acquired a freakishly large amount of red equine paraphernalia, especially given that I typically buy everything in green.  I don’t particularly care for the way red looks on chestnuts (though in the grand scheme of things that keep me up at night this ranks fairly low), so I’m glad to have it on a big bay.

Speaking of big, the first thing that struck me about Charlie is that he is BIG.  Freakishly huge!  Ok, ok, I finally measured him and he’s all of 16.1hh, just as advertised.  He wears a size 82 blanket, though!  Simon, in contrast, is right between 15.1 and 15.2hh and wears a 72.

I cant wait until that forelock grows out!

Charlie appears to be gaining weight!  Besides it being just really freakin’ cold around here, I keep him blanketed because I want as little energy going to keeping warm and as much energy going to regrowing that forelock gaining weight as possible.  I’d kind of neglected to realize that Simon is an air fern, able to sustain himself each day on a nibble of hay and a sip of water and the sweet anguish of his potentially unrequited love for Silly the Filly next door.

Charlie needs a whole helluva lot of hay and multiple buckets of water, along with his grain and supplement and oil.  And is that straw on the stall floor?  He’ll be eating that, too, thanks.  It turns out that Charlie’s voracious appetite inspires Simon to eat more (he’s probably worried that Charlie will climb the stall wall to get at any leftovers, which is a fear not without basis), so we’re going through a bale of (really nice alfalfa/grass mix) hay every day.

Lunging seemed to be a foreign concept to Charlie, but he’s picking it up quickly!  One of his biggest challenges is stopping when I say “whoa,” which I find… suspicious.  You’re telling me a 13 year old horse that was a race horse and an Amish horse somehow doesn’t know how to whoa?!  Sounds fishy.  But regardless, he is learning it!  Along with the idea of staying out on the circle, stepping over a ground pole, walking, trotting, and reversing.

While I work either horse, the other horse gets to stand tied in their stall.  Charlie struggles with this, as he’s certain that Simon will walk out one door of the barn and the angel of death will walk in the other.  There’s some screaming, some nervous pooping, and lots of general anxiety surrounding Simon’s departure.  The good part is that Charlie is quiet and focused while being worked.  He picked up pretty quickly that I have a zero tolerance policy for any bad ground manners.

All-in-all, it’s been an eventful 2 weeks for Charles!  He’s adapting well, and will hopefully begin to thrive in his new home!

A Horsey 2018!

Simon the Tennessee Walker

Happy New Year!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past year and the coming year and what I want to accomplish.  2017 was the first year in a LONG time that I didn’t set any resolutions.  I used to do a fantastic job of setting them and checking in on them every month to see how I was progressing.  But I reached a time where I was growing quickly, and my life was changing in ways that I couldn’t foresee; resolutions set in January weren’t really applicable by June, let alone December.

For example, at the beginning of 2017 I had Simon boarded and ZERO intentions of ever moving him out to the farm.  By the end of 2017, not only was Simon out at the farm, but I’d adopted Charlie and had him out there, too!

For 2018, I think I’m going to keep focusing on themes (long-term intentions) and micro goals (goals set for anywhere from a week to a month at a time).

Horse Themes

I want the horses to be healthy and happy in 2018, and I want to enjoy my time with them.  Right now, I’m imagining some pleasure riding with Simon and retraining Charlie to be a pleasure horse as well.  I want to expand my experimentation, re: movement rehab, on them.  I want to invest in their health with regular chiropractic visits, dental work, etc.

I want to progress my riding skills.  I started taking western lessons in the Fall of 2017, and I plan to continue those.  I would love to get back into saddleseat riding and maybe try more huntseat as well.  But most importantly, I want to feel confident and competent in the saddle.

Horse Goals

My goals for this week are just for all of us to stay alive.  It’s cold and snowy and icy out.

10AM on January 1, 2018. Brrrrrrrr!!

This means keeping the horses in their stalls when it’s bitterly cold, keeping hay in front of them to help warm them up and entertain them, and hauling hot water out to the barn.

I’ve been working them lightly — just enough to establish a routine (and nip Charlie’s wannabe-buddy-sour attitude right in the bud) and make their brains work.  Charlie’s learning how to lunge and getting acquainted with the various verbal cues I use.  Simon’s getting the extra challenge of staying focused whilst Charlie screams from the barn.  We’ve worked lunging at a walk (including over our “ground pole” aka a large branch), ground manners, parking out, and yielding the shoulders or the hips.  All-in-all, it gets them moving and thinking and reminds them that they DO occasionally have a job besides standing around and stuffing their faces.

“What is this ‘whoa‘ you speak of, and does it mean ‘belligerently trot really fast?'”

This week I’ll also be laying in supplies.  Charlie’s new blanket and supplement (Uckele Tri Amino) arrived today, and I reordered more of the Uckele G.U.T to start him on that, too.  I’m picking up a load of hay on Saturday since we’re going through it so quickly between it being cold and Charlie being, y’know, starved.  I’ll also be stocking up on grain and buying a couple different brands of pine bedding to see if they’re better than what I’m currently getting.

Looking Forward

Overall, I’m really excited about 2018.  I have no idea what’s in store, but I’m sure it’s gonna be fun!