Sunday, March 29, 2015

Stalwart Member | 02.12.1993 – 03.30.2013

Stalwart Member <3 in remembrance ... by Susan Kayne

C. McCall, Jockey, Sandy Golfarb, C. Hayward
While taping the first season [2003] of Unbridled at Saratoga Race Course, I met New York's leading owner Sandy Goldfarb. He gave a great interview and we have since developed a long-standing friendship.

In early December 2003, Sandy contacted me to network for a home for his soon to be retired horse Stalwart Member. Goldfarb claimed Stalwart Member for $35,000 as a seven-year-old in 2000. Together, they won several races and graded stakes. I wanted to help, but I was already paying board on three horses. A fourth was out of the question. I proposed to Sandy that he pay the next six months board at a local stable, and I would assure a safe transition for Stalwart Member.  $500 a month at a farm is far less than $5000 a month at the track. He agreed and Stalwart’s off-the-track journey began. The New York Post picked up the story:

Leading thoroughbred owner Sanford Goldfarb announced in the paddock before the Big A’s first race, “Win or lose, this is the final start for Stalwart Member, as a ten-year-old he deserves an easier life, he is sound and fit and that is how every horse should exit his or her racing career.” Goldfarb fondly recounted, “For three years Stalwart Member has been like a member of our family, he has brought us thrilling races and many victories.” He has a lot of life in him, and we look forward to following his progress with Susan Kayne as he acclimates to life outside the track.”

Thankfully, Stalwart Member's 64th and final start was without incident. He placed second and walked backed to his shedrow with eighteen career wins and earnings of $783,807. At the time of his retirement he ranked among New York's state-bred all-time leading earners.

Mid-December, Brookledge Horse Transport delivered Stalwart to Double B Farm in Clifton Park. He must have thought he was headed to Saratoga – but it was winter! Unloading in the brisk air, Stalwart’s nostril’s flared. He snorted and pranced, tap dancing around me with his head held high like a giraffe. His deep brown eagle eyes surveyed the lay of the land. He was oblivious to the chain over his nose and ice under his hooves. I was greatly relieved to let him go in the safe space of his new stall.

Stalwart Member & Susan Kayne (2003)
His initial turn-out was inside; he hadn't been loose in nine years. He seemed stunned at first. He’d stand and buck in place while adding a front leg strike and neck twist. Once he realized he really was free of a lead shank, he took off and frolicked in every inch of the indoor arena as if it were his own personal sand box. By March, Stalwart was ready to be turned out in the fresh air. First into a small pen, and then within days he graduated to larger spaces. Eventually he went into a big paddock with friends. For such a fierce competitor on the track, he was quite affable with pasture mates. In the months to follow, Stalwart settled down and let down. His body began transitioning from lean and sinewy to fat and shiny.

Stalwart was surprisingly easy-going to ride considering his lengthy career on the racetrack. The first time, and every subsequent time I sat on him, he was steady. He never felt like he was going to seize the bit and run-off. The first few weeks under saddle he was stiff and muscle sore like most OTTBs, but he was not lame. His legs puffed as anti-inflammatories and racetrack drugs left his system. By March, he was like a rubber band, stretching, and fluid. It was time to find Stalwart a new home.

On April 4, 2004,  Heather Brandt, a young woman with a passion for thoroughbreds adopted Stalwart. She had the background and skill set to develop Stalwart’s potential as a riding horse. Time Warner News Channel 9 covered Stalwart’s move to Brandt in Ballston Lake, NY. Brandt aptly referred to Stalwart as “Second Chance.” With consistent work Heather helped “Chance” to understand the nuances of English riding. Heather's photos showed a filled out, happy, and relaxed horse.

Stalwart Member and Heather Brandt (2004)
Stalwart fast became a favorite again, this time with riding fans. Heather’s students loved the horse they knew as “Chance.” In many instances he was their only chance to ride. She refined Stalwart into a safe and solid teacher. He loved his job. As Heather’s reputation grew, so did the waiting list of retiring thoroughbreds looking for a stall in her barn. Heather made arrangements to relocate Stalwart to JHA Riding Academy, a reputable local lesson and show stable. He spent one year at JHA where he helped many riders gain confidence and advance.

Stalwart was purchased privately from JHA. Heather and I followed his every move; good reports indicated he was happy and healthy. Then, a hiatus in communication. Something was wrong.

Heather and I investigated, we learned that Stalwart changed hands a few times.  After many calls and emails, in September 2006, I learned that Stalwart was with Dr. Amy French, a veterinarian from Johnstown, NY. On the day I made contact with Dr. French, I learned that she was shipping Stalwart to a livestock auction at JP North's, a place I have known to be frequented by kill buyers over the years.

I was angry and horrified. Figuring out a deal to bring Stalwart home safe was the only option. Thankfully, I now had a farm of my own -- it was within ten miles of the auction. I arranged to pay for Stalwart’s shipping and then some. I did not know any of the people with whom I was dealing, and each had a conflicting story. How he ended up with Dr. French is unclear to this day. Finding him in the nick of time was nothing short of a miracle.

Stalwart Member returning from Dr. Amy French (2006)
Late in the afternoon a shoddy stock trailer sped into the driveway. Stalwart’s white star and stripe were visible between the rusted slats. The rear door creaked open. The floor was thick with urine-soaked manure. Stalwart trembled as he inched his way out. Heads of the others on board turned in unison; their eyes hopeful that they too would unload. My heart sank.

Stalwart arrived dehydrated, dispirited and emaciated. He he had been in the hands of a veterinarian, and he looked like he hadn't eaten in six months.

I have re-homed dozens of horses and maintain an open, no questions asked return policy. This is in writing and transferred to successive owners. Sometimes circumstances change and people cannot afford the upkeep. Over the years, only 2 other horses I have re-homed have returned. This was the first re-homing that went horribly wrong. I called Sandy, and explained. Unfazed, he [Sandy] wrote a check to help Stalwart get back on his feet.

Stalwart & Lizzie (2006)
By late fall 2006, Stalwart regained his strength and began adding weight to his big bony frame. He was enjoying life, and he had a new fan club in my nieces and nephews, Lizzie, Kayla, and Matthew, and Sheila Watts, a delightful young girl who took lessons at our farm.

In early 2008, I began seeking a forever home for Stalwart. I interviewed many prospective adopters. The majority were unsuited to look after a thoroughbred. When Erin Looman showed up, Stalwart hit the lottery and a love story was born.

Stalwart at Hillcroft (2008)
Erin gave the “Stally” the very best years of his life at Hillcroft Stables and Windrunner Stables. Together they learned, played, and struggled. Stally was Erin’s prince...for five years. 

In 2012, at age twenty, advanced ringbone and spavins stiffened Stally to little mobility. Erin was faced with an excruciating decision. On April 3, 2013, a note in my inbox read: “On Sat., 3/30/13, @ 3:00, my boy Stally crossed the bridge to greener pastures.” 

Later, Erin summed up a mountain of emotion in one poignant facebook post, “I would like to thank everyone for their kind words. Many made me smile through my tears. Stally for some was a machine, a money maker, to me he was a living, breathing creature who had more heart than some humans I know. He was my boy and will be missed every day.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mighty Mouse Saves A Broken Heart ...

After losing her beloved Quarterhorse, Jet, Valerie Kubit was devastated. On March 3rd, 2008, Jet panicked in a moving trailer and kicked his hoof so hard that it split open from top to bottom, fracturing the coffin bone in two different places. He was unable to heal, and the decision was made to put him down. As Valerie recovered emotionally, she hoped to find a new partner to ride with, and the best option for her budget and riding experience appeared to be an off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB).

Accompanied by her trainer's wife, Beth, Valerie visited a local farm near her home in Aiken, SC, which both breeds Thoroughbreds and re-homes OTTBs, owned by Laurie Calhoun. While there, she met Hudson, a 16.3 hand bay gelding, and knew he was the right match.

When he first arrived at Valerie's barn, he was surprisingly relaxed for a four year old with a racing name like Mighty Yield. His quiet demeanor and former name led to his new moniker--Mighty Mouse. Affectionately called Mouse, he and Valerie bonded immediately and trained each other. As the first horse she had ever taught all on her own, each lesson for him created one for her. "Although the past four years have had ups and downs, the good outweighs the bad by a landslide. I have learned so much just from this one horse. He has taught me to be determined, to never give up, and to never, ever lose sight of your goals." Determination is balanced for the pair with a slow and sensible approach, Valerie considers that "patience is key, [OTTBs] are so sensitive and are just trying to please you, so take the time to notice their attempts."

In the spring of 2011, after a few previous seasons battling water jumps in novice competitions, he and Valerie moved up to training level. Water jumps had previously been a big confidence issue for Mighty Mouse, and it took hard work to prepare him. After a few successful training level horse trials, the next step was a Long Format Waredaca Training 3 day event that she had wanted to compete in for years. "The journey in qualifying for it was certainly a stressful one, but we sorted out the kinks along the road and we finally did it. By the time the 3 day came, we were both more than ready to tackle it. We not only successfully finished the 3 day with huge smiles, but we ended up third place with one of the best rides I have ever had at a horse show. Obviously, Mouse knows when to take things seriously and get down to business!"

Around the farm, "Mouse is the biggest lovebug. He is friends with all the small critters of the barn including the barn cat, and even the baby bunnies. Not only does he love small animals, he loves little toddlers. He may be one of the biggest of the barn but he is so gentle with everyone he meets. There is truly no other horse like him. I am blessed to have been able to get the opportunity to bring along such a loving OTTB. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing! I am a firm believer that Thoroughbreds have the biggest hearts of them all!" He is best described as smart, dedicated, and loving, with a sense of humor as well. "We always joke around that if Mouse were to have a voice, he would sound just like Bullwinkle, since he is one big goofball."

Valerie and Mouse went on to accept a working student position at Stephen Bradley's barn in Virginia in 2012.

In the spring of 2013, another accident nearly ripped Valerie's life apart again. "Mouse and I were involved in a trailering accident. I was stopped, waiting to make a left hand turn, and out of nowhere a woman rear-ended us at 60-mph. I got out of my truck and went around to the back to find that the entire right hand side of the trailer was demolished. Amazingly, when I walked inside the trailer, Mouse was just looking back behind him and looked over to me, paused, and went back to eating hay. He walked away from the accident needing a few minor stitches and a chiropractic adjustment. I am so very thankful for all the help received from passersby; I was an emotional wreck. Mouse walked off the horse trailer on the side of a busy road and went straight to munching on grass. He immediately got back on a replacement trailer to go home with no trouble--it's still incredible to me."

After the accident, Mouse and Valerie "have not competed, but have enjoyed taking it easy and with fun trail-riding and dressage."

"He has been the quirkiest horse I've ever dealt with, but has proved to me over and over again that he is one of a kind and I wouldn't change a thing about him, even when it's frustrating!"

Story and Pictures submitted by Valerie Kubit | Written by Rachel Carter

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guinness: A Dream Come True

"I was made and meant to look for you and wait for you
and become yours forever." ~ Robert Browning
Kristin Leason, has always been drawn to Thoroughbreds. Her parents had racehorses when she was young on a farm in Ridgeway, Ontario, where her mother rehabilitated many horses and her father trained at Fort Erie Racetrack. “My exposure to this breed early on on life gave me a strong appreciation for their unique qualities. I always knew they were special,” she says.

Kristin attended college at SUNY Morrisville for Thoroughbred Racing Management where she rehabilitated her first off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) Chicken Tango. After college, Kristin worked miscellaneous track jobs at Turfway, Mountaineer, River Downs, Ellis Park, and Thistledowns to make ends meet and pay Tango’s board. Having seen the highs and lows of racing first-hand, Kristin decided to focus on the rehabilitation of thoroughbreds’ whose careers came to an end.

While at Churchill Downs on September 9, 2009, to meet and greet trainer Buff Bradley, and multiple graded stakes winner Brass Hat ($2,173,561) she was drawn to a beautiful black colt with a large blaze in the neighboring stall. As he chewed on a jolly ball, she noted his name magic markered on a piece of tape "Jump Start Now". “For fun,” Kristin said, “I added him to my Equibase stable.” Three days earlier, Jump Start Now placed 6th in allowance company. It was his first race back from a 4-month layoff. Jump Start Now raced four more times in 2009 for a total of twelve starts. In his final outing of the year he placed 2nd in a $30,000 claiming race at Turfway Park on December 10th. Kristin kept track of his progress online and through the friends she made in Bradley’s stable; Maria his assistant, and Jeff an exercise rider.

In the same year, Kristin unexpectedly rescued J.R.s Heat:
“I stumbled across a TB for sale ad on Cincinnati Craigslist. A “big bay 19hh” was listed for a mere $200. With my rehabilitation experience, this was a red-flag, and I thought maybe I could help re-home him, since I personally was not looking for another horse. I made the call, and brought my friend Suzanne. We arrived at a small cow farm in Walton, KY. It was a ramshackle place with hazard written all over it--a molded round bale to eat from, only a scummy pond as a drinking water source, and tube gates and barbed wire for fencing. We looked at each other thinking, there's no way this is going to be good. A man came to greet us, and told the story of how a local racehorse trainer dropped this colt off in the cow field, claiming to come back for him later. The trainer never came back.

The man whistled, and the sound of galloping hooves could be heard. A beautiful coppery bay with jet black mane and tail came up to the gate. He had a blaze that resembled a tadpole. He was short-backed and stood at about 16 hands, his body in good condition for the circumstances. But he had a bleeding growth on his back fetlock: proud flesh. He certainly needed a better home and some restorative care.”

Kristin had no luck finding a home for the needy colt. A month after her visit she received an from the cow farmer, begging her to take the horse, “he took to you the best, I’ll give him to you for free.” Kristin made arrangements with her barn and worked very hard to pay the board on both horses. She renamed J.R's Heat to Fresco--Spanish for “fresh” and fitting his feisty disposition.

Kristin nurtured Fresco back to health; “when I finally rode him, he was perfect. It was through my experiences training him that I finally learned how to jump.”

Kristin & Fresco
By the end of 2009, Kristin fell on hard times financially and emotionally. Heartbroken, she was now forced to choose which of her two horses to keep; Tango or Fresco. “Tango just didn’t have the personality or desire to jump. I decided to keep Fresco,” she said. Through her network, Kristin rehomed Tango to Dennis Woodruff at the Sarasota Polo Club.

Six months later, Kristin moved home to New York. Fresco arrived a month later – he too was struggling. “He had a club foot, and it was hard for me to keep him sound at times, especially in limited turnout,” Kristin said. She was not only losing hope, but also losing money trying to work with vets and farriers.  She wondered if it would be better to move him into a pasture pal position or with a new owner. “Fresco was feisty and a little territorial, and an owner without an understanding of Thoroughbreds might mistake his quirks and special needs for meanness. I was determined to wait until I could place him properly, even if it was fiscally tenuous for me,” she said. Kristin remembers the time as personally challenging. “I was unsure of my future or my goals, I was very unhappy. I was only 21, and partying often to numb my discomfort and uncertainty. It felt like I was in a downward spiral and out of touch with my true self.”

Yet Kristin’s good deeds with horses did not go unnoticed. In early February 2011, she received an unexpected email from Buff Bradley’s exercise rider Jeff, he said, “Jump Start Now needs a home!” Jeff went on to explain that Jump Start Now, now a gelding, had had a very small bowed tendon. He was rested for several months and was now healthy and ready for work. Kristin said, “he asked if I knew anyone who wanted him -- I said that I wanted to take him, but I already had a horse I was seeking to place.”

Kristin thought more about how to re-home Fresco safely. Networking again, after weeks of phone calls, she managed to place him on a large farm in Alabama that provided equine therapy for wounded Veterans and the disabled. She said, “I thought it would be a good fit for my fair-weather Fresco. I knew it would be perfect to see my horse--who had been dumped and left for dead in a field--healing the hearts of humans.

Guinness after a beauty treatment by Kristin
With Fresco safely rehomed, Kristin said, “the wheels were finally turning for me and I couldn't believe I was going to potentially own a horse I fell in love with three years earlier in a chance encounter. How lucky was I?” 

Jump Start Now, shipped to Kristin on May 25th, 2011. She renamed him GUINNESS; “within 30-minutes of arriving, he was hunkered down and falling asleep as I groomed him and gave him a new and improved haircut.”

Today, Kristin and Guinness are successfully Eventing and competing in combined tests, hunter trials, and paces. The pair has consistently earned top honors and even a high point year-end award. In the off-season they enjoy time on the trails. Kristin says, “though there have been some bumps in the road, every single time I spend any time doing anything with him, I realize just how extraordinarily lucky I am.”

Kristin & Guinness on course.
 Story submitted and Pictures provided by Kristin Leason | Written by Susan Kayne | Rachel Carter, Editor

Sunday, March 8, 2015

TED: A Special Horse for ALL Horses

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 (, 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.


TED on facebook

Sunday, March 1, 2015

One Shade of Gray to the Rescue

Trina Maus rode before she could walk. The Ottawa Citizen, her local newspaper, featured an 18-month-old Trina riding her pony Pansy on Page One. In subsequent years, Trina honed her skills with the help of Olympians Ian Millar, Jill Henselwood, and Hugh Graham. She earned many championships and titles until she placed her equestrian endeavors on hold to pursue a career in media in 1999, developing over time into a respected Canadian journalist.
In 2008,that special place in her heart reserved by horses long ago began to yearn. Ready to saddle up, Trina  began to search for a new partner. After a year of looking, Trina discovered Lasting Freedom, better known as Lou. He had recently joined the stable of owner/trainer Marvin Buffalo, for whom he had raced only two times. She recalled that, “he was noticeably lame, and the trainer intended to race him that weekend.” 

At 17-hands, Lou towered over competitors at Assiniboia Race Track. He placed 2nd in last start, the 27th of his career, which brought his lifetime earnings to $48,730. The steel gray was so prized as a two-year-old, that he made his maiden debut in a stakes race. Now a 5-year-old, his last two starts were in $5,000 claiming races. Trina knew she had to rescue Lou. “Against my better judgement, I agreed to pay the trainer a profit and purchased Lou -- I knew I had to buy him and get him off the track before he was permanently injured.”

Once liberated from the demands of racing and given time to recuperate, Lou blossomed. He thanked Trina with a big tri-color championship ribbon at their very first show together. “I have never sat on a horse with such a heart; all Lou wanted to do was please me.  He is a tough horse to ride because he is so big and powerful, but I trusted him -- I knew LOU would never do anything to hurt or scare me,” said Trina.

Lou’s proclivity for jumping evolved very quickly. He and Trina brought home a champion or reserve from every show in 2010.

But then it all came to a crashing end.

In April 2011, Trina’s left leg and ankle were crushed, and her right ankle fractured when a young horse she was riding tripped, flipped, and fell. Trina said,“it took 5 plates and almost 40 screws to fix the 100 breaks, my Doctors told me I would never be able to walk on my left leg or ride again.”

For the next two and a half months Trina made the best of life from a hospital bed complicated by a hospital-borne infection that severely threatened her recovery. She said after two months, her family quickly noticed she was becoming depressed and arranged for doctors to allow her out of the hospital for a day to go see Lou.

At the stable she called for Lou -- he came running to the gate calling back.  Trina didn’t know how Lou would react to seeing her in a wheelchair. She said he just ignored it.  “The barn owner led him into his stall and put up a stall guard so I could pat him,  Lou gently nuzzled my face and chest -- he was so quiet and gentle, and never once touched my legs." Trina said after seeing Lou, that’s when things started turning around.

Once out of the hospital, with the help of friends, Trina visited Lou every day, she said, “he stood quietly while I patted him from the wheelchair.” Eventually she started brushing Lou and when she graduated to crutches she would lead him. Trina remembers, “he would take baby steps, not an easy feat for a 17-hand horse. Lou knew I needed him -- every day he inspired me to do a little more, he became my physiotherapy, and my reason to get out of the house.” Trina’s high strung thoroughbred jumper had turned into the quietest horse.

Nearly a year post accident, Trina ached to ride. A cast, a fracture that would not heal, nor a prospective fifth surgery stood in the way of her desire.  Understanding that healing is more than just physical, her surgeon gave her the green light to get back in the saddle. He simply cautioned,  “do not use stirrups, and PROMISE to be careful!”

Lou hadn't been ridden in almost a year, but Trina knew he would be the one she would get on first. The coach at the barn advised otherwise, “Trina, Lou is a bit high strung in the field, use a school horse instead.” Trina’s gut countered, if any horse would understand I needed to be looked after, it would be Lou.

Trina believed in Lou, she trusted him, and listened to her instinct. “He never liked mounting blocks, yet he stood like a rock while I maneuvered my way into the saddle,” she said. When asked, Lou quietly went forward. Trina said, "he would walk for an hour and never put a foot wrong." With Trina’s leg signals locked inside a cast Lou quickly learned her voice commands instead.

Healing and progress ensued. She gives Lou all the credit, “without him I do not believe that I would have been able to pull through this ordeal.”

Miraculously, by April of 2012, Trina & Lou began to show again. In the same month Trina learned she was pregnant -- with triplets !!!

Despite a high risk pregnancy, Trina continued to ride. “I rode Lou at home, he stood patiently at the mounting block while I struggled onto him. We mostly walked, until I was just too big and tired to even tack him up." Once again, Trina’s gentle giant looked after her.

At five months pregnant, Trina recounts a terrifying incident, “I was brushing Lou on cross ties when the pony in front of us freaked out and started rearing and pulling back on the cross ties headed right for us. I knew Lou, being a horse, would also pull back. I had nowhere to go to escape the chaos.” Unable to get out of harm’s way, Trina quickly pulled the cross ties off Lou's halter  and turned her back to the pony. "It was just then," Trina said, "Lou stepped in front of me and shielded me from the panicked pony -- Lou saved me, and my unborn children, from what could have been an unspeakable disaster. That is when I truly realized the bond we share.”

On December 17, 2012, Trina’s healthy triplets were born, a boy and two girls, John-Peter, Ashton and Taylor.

Trina succinctly sums up her great love, saying, "Lou has been with me every step of the way, and he is so gentle with the little babies.  I still can't believe all this horse has done for me. Every day I count my blessings that I took a risk on a lame older race horse. He is the one who really saved me!”

Story submitted by Trina Maus | Written by Susan Kayne