It's funny to think about how some racehorses get their names. For a gelding named Comeonmoe, that name may well have been short for, “Come on, Moe, can't you run faster than that!?”
Apparently, the answer was no.
“Moe,” as he's known today, was a worse than average racehorse, failing to hit the board in five career starts. Wanting what was best for their horse, Chris and Susan Speckert retired Moe as a maiden and turned him into a lead pony before eventually deciding to donate him to the North American Racing Academy (NARA) in 2007.
That worse than average racehorse has evolved into a better than average teacher though.
“Moe was great for students because he was very kind,” explained Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, who heads up the NARA program. “He was better for the beginners for the same reason.”
Moe served as a steady mount for students with aspirations of being jockeys, and many of his former charges have gone onto professional riding careers. At 15 years of age, however, McCarron decided that Moe had served the school admirably and it was time for him to enjoy a slower life.
“He was sound when I received him and he was sound when we retired him from NARA,” explained McCarron, “He deserves the opportunity to relax and enjoy the rest of his life doing much easier work, or just having fun.”
NARA and New Vocations entered into a partnership about four years ago in order to find third careers for the NARA teaching herd, and Moe is one of several examples of that mutually beneficial relationship at work.
“When NARA has a horse that needs a slower pace of life than teaching students how to gallop daily, they typically come to New Vocations,” explained Anna Ford, Program Director for New Vocations. “Once in our program, we start reschooling them for a new discipline with the goal of finding them a suitable home.”
Anna said most of the NARA retirees that have come through New Vocations have gone onto be trail, dressage, or hunter/jumper horses. In her opinion, Moe has many strengths, giving him a variety of options as a riding horse.
“Moe has definitely been exposed to a lot of different places and who knows how many riders, and he's got the disposition for it,” said Ford. “With his background, he has proven to have a lot of patience and should excel at a variety of disciplines or would make someone a fun all-around horse. He'll hopefully be suitable for a less experienced rider.”
On Friday, April 26, New Vocations is teaming up with Steuart Pittman's Retired Racehorse Training Project to put on their second annual “Thoroughbreds For All event at West Wind Farm in Lexington. The event will serve as both an educational and social gathering for those seeking to learn more about off the track Thoroughbreds, and all proceeds from ticket sales will support the two charities.
“This year we have partnered with the Jockey Club's Thoroughbred Incentive Program to recognize the 15 Rolex riders that will be competing on a registered Thoroughbred,” explained Ford. “There will be four sessions covering everything from picking out your next horse, to how Thoroughbreds are ridden at the racetrack. Olympic rider Phillip Dutton will be participating in two of the sessions, along with other upper level event riders.”
Tickets can be purchased by going to http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5663916928 and each ticket includes admittance to a VIP tour of Three Chimneys Farm on Sunday morning prior to the stadium phase of the Rolex Three-Day Event.
“Last year over 300 people attended and $10,000 was raised,” said Ford. “We're expecting to sell over 400 tickets, and it looks like there will be attendees from at least 15 states.”
Moe will be featured in two of the sessions, “Selecting Your Next Thoroughbred,” in which several professionals will give their assessment of several different OTTBs, and “A Closer Look at the First Ride,” in which a rider will demonstrate their typical first ride on a retired racehorse.
Moe will officially be up for adoption following Friday's event.
Name: Comeonmoe (a.k.a. “Moe”)
Color: Dark Bay/Brown
Dam: Shine On Dee Dee
Sale History: none
Race Record: 5-0-0-0
Race Earnings: $570
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 ([email protected]) 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.
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