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!

Welcoming Wild Wasabi

Charlie the Standardbred

He’s here!  He’s here!

I’ve kept pretty mum about this, in hopes of not jinxing anything, but I’d say since this big dude is currently in my pasture, it’s safe to reveal!

This is Wild Wasabi, aka Charlie, aka Charles.  Charlie is a 13 year old Standardbred gelding who I’ve rescued through the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF).  Charlie and a bunch (over 30!) Standardbreds wound up in a bad situation in Pennsylvania, headed to slaughter, before SRF stepped in.  They helped ID the horses, gather donations, find adoptive homes, etc.

Charlie spent about 30 days in New Jersey where he medical care (he’d caught a nasty, snotty cold) at a quarantine facility.  The lady who owns the facility was lovely and kept me updated with texts and pictures.  She’s the one who started calling him Charlie, and it stuck!

After he’d recuperated, it was homeward bound towards Illinois!

Charlie the Standardbred

He arrived last Friday.  The poor guy looks rough — he’s SO skinny!  A big chunk of his mane has been rubbed off, and his forelock was shaved and is currently grown out into a little pompon.  His tail’s been chopped off above his hocks.  Part of his neck’s been shaved to show his brand.  He’s got some nicks and scrapes all over.  He’s got no topline to speak of, and his neck is upside down.

Simon the Tennessee Walker and Charlie the Standardbred

But he’s a sweetheart!  He hasn’t spooked or worried about a thing (besides getting more food).  He and Simon have hit it off.

Charlie was a racehorse in his early years, earning a little over $13,000.  I’m guessing he was an Amish buggy horse as well.  We’ve gone over a few things like ground manners and some lunging, and he picks up on things VERY quickly and tries hard to please.

Charlie the Standardbred

Stay tuned for my Charlie Horse tales to come!