I've worked in the horse industry for a long time. I started working off lessons almost as soon as I started taking them. I remember being a young kidlette, dropped off at a barn for a days work of whatever my trainer wanted to throw at me that day. I mostly did it for the extra riding. I forever am grateful and I wrote a post about my time spent in the barn as a child here. I ended up going to college for an equine degree. I worked as a barn manager for a woman who was legitimately undiagnosed bipolar. It was eventful. I ended up at a breeding farm that I had worked a few sales for when I was in college. I left for a couple of years to try the whole "office job" thing out. I came back.
|One of the foals from last year|
I've seen many foals born. I've raised youngsters and prepped them for sales. I've followed them as racehorses, or desperately tried to find out information on them when I don't see them racing. Are they doing ok? Where are they? Who owns them? Most of the time, to be totally honest, once they leave that sale as a yearling or as a racehorse, I don't know what happens to them. I stalk some rescues of off the track horses and always see if it's anything we've bred. Not because the owner of the farm would ever help but because I'd like to help if I could. If nothing else, I could give background info on the horse that could possibly get them placed into a home. I've never found any of ours in a rescue, although I've seen a few from our stallions that we didn't breed. I do occasionally contact trainers who I know have horses I raised. Sometimes they email me back, sometimes they don't. I check sales to see if any yearlings, racehorses or mares we've sold are in the sale. Regardless, I do care about the horses we breed. I want them to be good racehorses and have good homes when they're done. Does it always work that way? No. I'm not naive. That doesn't mean I don't wish it would.
|One of our yearlings, from several years ago.|
We have a yearling in the barn currently. She is never going to be a racehorse. We have her full sister in training as a two year old this year. The yearling has a hoof injury that kept her in her stall every day of her life (minus one!) up until yesterday. She got turned out yesterday for a few minutes, with the help of some sedatives, for the first time since she was a very small foal by her mothers side. She is not 100% sound. She never has been. Will she be broodmare sound? Yeah, probably. Will she race? Hell no. We, as a farm, spent thousand of dollars trying to make her serviceable as a performance horse. It is not going to happen. We know that by this point, given her x-rays and her being basically unsound for the whole 8 months of her life so far. I hate to see any horses put down, I really do. My inner animal lover just hates it. I've seen it, as unfortunately with 200 some horses, it's bound to happen. Colic happens. Foals with get kicked and break a limb. It happens, though thankfully not often. While I'm glad she's alive, I have given much thought to the fact that we, as a business, will likely not be around in a few years at the most. This yearling has siblings. Many siblings, actually, though most of them aren't full siblings. We still have her mother. We had her mothers mother up until a few years ago when we had to put her down due to thyroid cancer. (I know, what horse gets thyroid cancer? Weird, right?) We have had several of her mothers half or full siblings over the years, who have also produced foals for us. Her mother will hopefully produce another lovely foal this year. She is well bred, with half/full brothers and sisters and other close relatives who have done well on the track, and aside from her hoof issue, she is a nice looking filly. Does she have potential as a broodmare? Yeah, probably. So, assuming the turnout goes well and she maintains her level of soundness, is it the RIGHT thing to do? To keep this filly who will likely NEVER be sound, aside from pasture sound, alive, when we know fully that as an operation we will not be able to keep her for close to her entire life? It's a complex issue.
|Another yearling, from several years ago.|