Braving the storm – and taking care of their own
We received this note on Friday night from Susie Hart, who operates Hart Farm in Millwood, Va., with her husband, veterinarian E.C. “Pug” Hart. They've been active in many facets of the horse industry, from farms to racetracks to auction pavilions, and have been involved with such top Thoroughbreds as Maria's Mon and Victory Gallop, among many others.
This isn't a story of a stakes winner, however, but a familiar one of horses that needed help in finding homes after their racing days were over. It's a story of how a community of caring people can make a difference in the lives of those horses. – Ray Paulick
By Susie Hart
It's Friday so usually I look forward to reading the Paulick Report's Three Chimneys Good News article. Not today, I have too much work to do. Yesterday I received one of those emails we get all too often these days. Another group of horses were rescued and the person who has them needs some help.
That person is Laurie Calhoun who, for years, has worked behind the national scene and helped find so many horses homes when their racing careers are over. I remember five or six years ago, Laurie called me and said she had a horse on her farm that we had bred. It had a slab fracture of the knee and she asked if I would consider taking it back. What could I say except, “The van is on its way”?
So when I received the email Thursday, I attached a short note and forwarded it to a few people. Within an hour I had commitments and within the day I had people bringing over blankets, halters, wormers and feed. Tonight we're loading up the donated articles (matching whatever other people gave) and taking them all to Charles Town, where Charlie Harding, who has a van company, is going to meet us. Charlie will then deliver the feed, blankets and other supplies to Laurie on his way home from the races late in the night.
Some people have sent money to the feed store near Laurie and others have brought feed to us to take to the horses. It will be a long night but I'll feel so good knowing those Thoroughbreds will have warm blankets and plenty of feed before the pending storm tomorrow.
The large and well-known organizations do so much good, yet this grass roots movement by local horse people is just as vital to the overall success of these rescues.
It starts with people like Fran Burns, a rescue volunteer and a Thoroughbred advocate. She sent the email yesterday and she does wonderful things for horses.
Then you have Paget Bennett with Fasig-Tipton Midlantic who forwarded my email and has also gotten good response from both show horse and race horse people. This afternoon, Susie Chatfield Taylor (of Morgans Ford Farm) told me that, in addition to the load of hay they are donating, they are also adopting one of the old rescue mares that they bred.
The very first person to respond was Carol Holden who is the woman behind the West Virginia Breeders Classics races. She actually hauled feed, blankets, halters and wormers to us yesterday in the middle of the high wind advisory just because she wanted to pitch in.
Somehow a small group of horse people banded together to take care of their own. Isn't that what it's supposed to be about?
I guess I won't get to try that new recipe tonight as I'm running out of time. Oh well. If the meat isn't any good tomorrow night, I'll feed it to the fox, maybe even inject a little Ivermectin in it. Thank goodness I'm married to a vet, who happens to be my best friend and always supports whatever I do. Besides, he likes pizza just fine.
Why is it I want Rob Whiteley to read this so he can share this “feel good” moment with me? I look at this group of people and think that we are all so different but there is one common denominator that links us together – the commitment to do good things for the horses.
When we get home tonight I might not wait till New Year's Eve for that bottle of Moët (another story in itself: we always drink Moët on New Year's Eve in memory of Maria's Mon's Champagne Stakes win and the Rosenthals, our clients, mentors and good friends).
Maybe we'll pop that cork a little early this year.