OTTB Showcase: King of Spain (a.k.a. “King”)
Name: KING OF SPAIN (a.k.a. “King”)
Dam: Royal Fandango
Sale History: Sold for $9,896 at the 2000 Tattersall’s Autumn Horses in Training Sale
Race Record: 68-3-10-13
Race Earnings: $51,396
Those who know Thoroughbreds know them to be one of the most versatile breeds on Earth. They can jump, perform dressage, herd cattle, zip through barrels, be bold on trails, be steady police mounts – the list goes on and on.
This week’s featured horse does none of those things. In fact, while he’s totally capable of just about anything, his owner prefers simply enjoying his company and companionship from the ground.
Unlike many of the owners whose horses have been featured in “OTTB Showcase,” Jan Anderson did not grow up as a life-long equestrian. In fact, it wasn’t until she watched the movie Seabiscuit that she became interested in horses and horseracing.
“That movie moved me emotionally like I had never been. I had never known an animal could have so much heart,” said Jan. “I’d never really been around horses, but I became obsessed with racehorses. I read everything I could about them and started going to our local track, Monmouth Park.”
Researching racehorses eventually led her to learn about racehorse retirement, aftercare, and rescue. After educating herself about those issues and horse slaughter, Jan was compelled to be part of the solution and even went so far as to lobby against horse slaughter in Washington D. C. with her young daughters.
Having become so engaged in equine welfare, Jan was constantly hearing of horses who were in need of intervention. One such horse, a chestnut by the name of King of Spain, was in a particularly difficult situation.
“He was eased in his last race, but proved to be uninjured – just tired,” said Jan. “CANTER New England made urgent pleas to people to find him a home ASAP, but he was a nine-year-old in-tact male. No one wanted him.”
Fearing what might happen to the horse if sent to an auction, Jan stepped up and offered him a home.
“I shipped him from Boston to New Jersey, had him gelded by the new moon, I’ve had him ever since,” said Jan. “I don’t ride, but I do play with the Parelli methods on occasion with King. People think I’m nuts that I have a horse I don’t ride, but we are best buds. We graze, play games and just hang. We love to be together.”
Jan explained that she has been on King’s back several times and also had a trainer working with him at one time, but after a few riding lessons on him, she realized that what brings her joy isn’t riding him, but simply being with him.
“One of my friends is a local female jockey and she gets on him once in a while. He just trots along like his last ride was yesterday. He’s so good like that.”
Aside from not riding her horse, Jan is the typical horse owner in many other ways, especially when it comes to wanting the best for King. King is a connoisseur of treats and Jan was always on the lookout for high quality, healthy treats for him.
“I noticed that all the treats have a lot of fillers in them and I didn’t want to give King anything but the best,” said Jan. “So, I started King’s Cookies in 2007. They’re made fresh with no preservatives.”
Jan’s “over and above” mentality with King doesn’t end there.
“He will remind you that his name is King and he likes to be treated as such,” said Jan. “I hand-carry warm water out to his paddock each and every day in the winter, I get him smoothies with healthy, tasty stuff in them. I can’t explain why I do this. I just love being with him and taking care of him.”
Jan’s long term goal with King is to continue to get better with the Parelli training methods and eventually buy a home with enough land to keep King and another off-track Thoroughbred in her back yard.
“There are so many people who deeply care about these magnificent beings and I hope that in my lifetime, I can see every racehorse live a dignified retirement that is befitting of all of them, just like King will and just like his sire did.”
If readers would like to purchase King’s Cookies for their own horses, they can visit www.kingscookies.com.
If you have or know of a retired Thoroughbred with an interesting story to tell, we’d love to hear about it! Just email Jen Roytz (Jenlroytz@gmail.com) with the horse’s Jockey Club name, background story, and a few photos.
Jen Roytz is the marketing and communications director at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky. She also handles the farm’s Thoroughbred aftercare efforts. She currently owns two retired Thoroughbreds: Point of Impact (by Point Given; a.k.a. Boomer), who retired from racing in late 2011 and is just starting back under saddle to find his forte as a riding horse, and Shotgun Shine (by Tale of the Cat, a.k.a. Gage), who is in training as a hunter/jumper. Contact Jen on Facebook and Twitter.