OTTB Showcase: Scooby Who (a.k.a Scooby)
Name: Scooby Who (a.k.a. Scooby)
Height: 16.1 hands
Color: Dark bay
Sire: Notable Cat
Dam: Worth Catching, by Pass Catcher
Sale History: none
Race Record: 47-4-0-4
Race earnings: $15,469
I am watching you from up above
And we'll meet again someday
I thank you for your selfless love
And I am never far away
And after time, I'll send to you
New creatures who need your care
But for now just keep me in your heart
And feel me everywhere
My loving human, do not cry
For I am galloping across the sky
– Author Unknown
(taken from Across the Sky)
“I bought Scooby in September of 2007 from Suffolk Downs as an 8-year-old through CANTER New England, but I'd met him in January of that year at Beulah Park when I was purchasing another horse out of the same stable,” said Rebecca Greene, an eventing rider, trainer and coach, and the owner of Scooby Who. “I even got to watch him run his last race in person, which was pretty cool. Of course, he finished last, which is why he was being retired [from racing] and sold as a riding horse.”
Under Rebecca's tutelage, Scooby Who excelled. He began jumping in early 2008 and competed in his first horse trial in May of the same year.
“He moved up four levels the first year he completed, from two feet to nearly three feet,” said Rebecca. “That's a big deal for a horse to do so quickly. He had so much potential.”
Seeing that potential, Rebecca made the tough decision to sell her then-current competition horse, and with that, Scooby made the transition from sale prospect to Rebecca's main competition mount. In the years that followed, Rebecca and Scooby qualified for the American Eventing Championships each year, starting with beginner novice and working their way up to the preliminary level – just two levels away from Olympic-caliber competition. Riding Scooby, Rebecca was also one of the top 10 riders in the nation at the novice level in 2009.
“Together we became upper-level eventers,” said Rebecca. “You can have all the money in the world, all the best training – all I had was him, me and three sets of jump standards. You can truly make something out of nothing. We didn't have a lot and just made do with what we had.”
Rebecca and Scooby were aiming for their first One Star Three-Day Event, the Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials and Three-Day Event, in July of this year. If all went well, Rebecca planned to be competing Scooby at the Intermediate level by the fall, and from there go onto advanced-level competition on the international stage.
“He was a future advanced horse,” said Rebecca. “There was no doubt about it.”
But on Jan. 15, Rebecca's world came crashing down in the most tragic way imaginable. She and her husband, Chris, were awakened by a phone call in the middle of the night. Rebecca knew immediately that something was wrong.
The barn that housed Scooby Who, Rebecca's other horse, Cassidy Blue (known around the barn as “Kaz”), and seven other horses had caught fire and within minutes became a deadly inferno. While firefighters were quick to respond, getting to the scene just five minutes after receiving the call, the barn was fully engulfed by the time they arrived and all the horses in the barn had perished.
“My old life ended on Jan. 15 and my new life had no choice but to begin,” said Rebecca. “My life was truly in that barn…my heart has been torn out and stomped all over. They deserved so much better…all of the horses in the barn did.”
Rebecca was there earlier that day, riding and caring for them in the afternoon, just hours before their lives were stolen from them. She was also there the day they were buried.
“What struck me was that my friend John had been working on removing and carefully burying the horses all day, but the timing was exactly right for me to be there for Scooby's burial,” Rebecca said. “I pulled up to the charred remnants of the barn just as he was taking Scooby's body out to of the barn. He was crying and told me to go back to my car, but I felt like I needed to be there. I needed to say goodbye.”
John took Scooby to the gravesite and, with Rebecca standing by, gently lowered him into the ground.
As the days and weeks passed, a plan for how to move forward began to materialize. Friends of Rebecca's established the Rebecca Greene Eventing Recovery Fund to help her re-establish her business. On Feb. 4, using some of the money from the fund, Rebecca made a trip up to Penn National and purchased a 5-year-old Thoroughbred named Eboy through CANTER Pennsylvania.
“The first couple of days with him were tough…looking at him is a constant reminder of what happened,” said Rebecca. “His personality and way of going are similar to Scooby – very kind, very sweet. You can tell he was managed well on the track. He likes the attention.”
Since she no longer has a barn to train out of, Rebecca ties Eboy, known these days as “Phoenix,” to her trailer each day to groom him and tack him up for rides, and has to hold him outside in the open for the farrier. Rebecca says even in the blustery, cold Pennsylvania winter, Phoenix is a gentleman, almost as if he understands that she doesn't want to be out there any more than he does.
“If there is good to come out of Scooby's death, I hope that it allows me to speak about off-the-track Thoroughbreds and share my passion for them with others,” said Rebecca. “These horses have been there, done that.
“All of my experiences have shown me that Thoroughbreds hold up. They're durable and strong. You can go to the track or an aftercare organization and, for not a lot of money, you can buy a horse who was bred to be an athlete. They're solid horses. They've seen so much, and they have so much heart without an ounce of quit.”
To follow Rebecca's progress with Phoenix or to donate to the Rebecca Green Eventing Recovery Fund, go to http://www.rebeccagreeneeventing.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 one-and-a-half retired Thoroughbreds: Point of Impact (by Point Given; a.k.a. Boomer), who retired from racing in late 2011 and will soon be embarking on a hunter/jumper career, and Shotgun Shine (by Tale of the Cat, a.k.a. Gage), whom she shares in partnership with a friend. Contact Jen on Facebook and Twitter.