In the Off-the-Track Thoroughbred (OTTB) community, Ted Wells a.k.a. "Ted Peep Lover" is a familiar name. He is an active poster on Facebook, who has reached celebrity status among horse lovers--a notable achievement as a horse himself! Ted’s mission is to raise awareness and much needed funds for his kind in jeopardy. He is the Official Equine Advocate for Special Horses (www.specialhorses.org), an organization started in 2009 that fundraises to help equine 501(c)3 organizations across the United States.
Ted is one very lucky thoroughbred. Thanks to his human, Wendi Neckameyer, Ted is happy and healthy at the age of 23. Most thoroughbreds are not allowed the privilege of living out their natural life span of three decades. Tragically, equine lives are most often cut down to a quarter. The majority of the 20,000+ thoroughbreds annually bred and registered are sent to a brutal death in slaughterhouses between the ages of two to six. This is either because they are not selected to run or because their racing careers are finished, and even success doesn't guarantee a long life.
For Ted, a descendant of Triple Crown winner Secretariat, fate intervened. He was just a short distance from Cavel Slaughterhouse when he and Wendi met.
Wendi found Ted in a newspaper ad in 1998; she recalls, “he had just turned 6, he was one-and-a-half years off the track -- green, bored, and too much time on his hooves.” Wendi, then 40, was a faculty member at a midwestern medical school. “I was 20 years out of horses, and recovering from a herniated back disc.” Wendi deliberated over her choice, but as the nearby slaughterhouse came to mind, she had to act.
Wendi’s research uncovered Ted’s history, “when the breeder and trainer of Ted, Oscar Wells Sr., died from a stroke, his son and daughter-in-law had made a promise to race Ted for an additional year. However, they had two children with health issues. They took Ted to the paddock sale at Fairmount thinking they had sold him to a forever home. Instead, Ted was sold a week later to lesson facility with an indoor but no turn out -- he soured immediately. He was then traded for a horse and was owned by a woman in Wildwood, but two months in she was endued (not by Ted) and he spent the next 10 months in a pasture.”
Ted’s was registered with the Jockey Club as Zen's Secret Reazen. He raced at Fairmount Park in Southern Illinois, with 1 win, 1 place, and 1 show, from 27 starts, and earned little over $6,800. His breeding suggested a better career--his dam was Zen It Happened, by Zen, at one time the Illinois mare of the year; his sire, Secret Counsel, by Secretariat, won almost $500,000 before his early retirement.
As a newly formed team, Ted and Wendi clicked in the dressage arena. Though both beginners to the discipline, they won regional, state, and even national championships through First Level Dressage. In 2006, the pair retired from showing to focus more on clinics and begin their journey into advocacy.
Since 2009, Ted and Wendi have raised almost $50,000 to serve equine rescue groups. Among the beneficiaries The Exceller Fund, Bright Futures Farm, CANTER, Dreaming of Three, Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement, True Innocents Equine Rescue, and Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society.
Ted and Wendi’s next fundraising auction "Trash or Treasure" starts Monday, March 9, 2015 at 9 AM CST, runs through Sunday 10 PM CST.
Wendi encourages other equestrians to consider taking in an OTTB into their own lives with a word of advice--"never abuse their trust." Most enjoyably, she notes that Ted makes her laugh, teaches her every day, and inspires her advocacy.
LINKS TO TED:
TED on facebook