Thursday, January 12, 2012
A Rainbows End the Story of Judges Decision
The Second Race will feature a story on at least a weekly basis of a horse that needs to be adopted through us or in conjunction with another group we have partnered with to help a horse. We are kicking off the new year with the story of Judges Decision aka "JD" who is looking for his forever home. The Second Race was told in July 2011 by JoJo of a horse on Craigslist that was for sale for $ 500 and in someones backyard. A horse on Craigslist is a daily occurrence and so are the notifications to our offices that one is in need. We don't respond to many of the posts, we simply can't. However something about the forlorn look of Judges Decision made me want to help. And then in an ironic twist a personal friend of mine actually rode Judges Decision and earned his first stake race in America on him. Where "JD" had been from the time he left the winners circle to being advertised on Craigslist is a bit of a mystery, with few gaps filled in.
JoJo a friend of The Second Race agreed to take him in after his purchase. Here are her words regarding the day she met him and the progress he has made to this day:
It was the ad that caught my eye, with this picture of a pitiful looking skinny old horse. Normally, I would have said something like, poor old guy I hope he finds a good home; but he pulled at me through that picture and I had to go see him that day. I called my friends, Sharla at the Second Race and Deborah at Emerald City TB Project told them about the situation and they both saw that he needed help; we were going to get him out of that situation, the net was cast.
I called the number on the ad and was given the address of where he lived by a very disinterested female who could not or would not give me any information about him over the phone. She just said go here and I will meet you there. So I went there. My girlfriend and I pulled up at a pasture along the side of the road; I looked beyond the fence and saw the grey standing across the way. The grey stood away and just looked at me. His dark eyes searching wishfully, his nose to the air; did I have something to eat? or was I going to eat him?
The pasture gate was padlocked and there was no way to get in, or out; so we waited, and waited, for the owner to show up but she never did. I called and did not hear back from her. A couple of days later I was able to reach her. I told her I was still interested in the gelding and really wanted to see him, could she please meet me again? She agreed and once again I went out to the location and waited and waited. A woman came out of the house adjacent to the pasture; I asked her if I could come in and look at the horse as I was waiting for the owner to show up. She told me she did not have the key to the gates, but if I could squeeze through the side I could come on in. She was a renter, I thought it strange that she didn't have a key to the gates on the property, what if there was an emergency and a horse had to be taken out? This “pasture” really is a dirt lot there wasn't a blade of grass or green anywhere within the fences, but there was plenty of tall green grass outside and just out of the reach of a hungry horse.
I walked up to the grey gelding for the first time and saw how skinny he was, his feet were flared and chipped. He put his head in my arms and looked me straight in the eye. That did it, I told him then and there he would not be left behind. I wasn't sure how he would react to me, he stood quietly and patiently while I put the halter on him and easily walked him into the renter’s back yard. I gave him a couple of cookies and he hung out with me eating some grass and leaves. About that time a car pulled up; I put on my happy face and asked her if she was the owner of this beautiful grey horse and that I was interested in buying him. She said she was anxious to get “rid” of him, she did not need another mouth to feed and I told her I was ready to take him home and wanted to clear up the business part of the deal. She told me her step-daughter was out of town and she would take the money. I wasn't comfortable giving her the money so I said I would be back to pay for him and pick him up when the girl returned. That was the longest couple of days of my life.
I finally got a hold of the owner. She was a young blonde girl with two toddlers at her side. She explained to me that she got him as payment for babysitting someone's kids and that she really did not want a horse, but she thought she could get some money for him. We had the trailer and we were ready to go. Oh, what if he won't load? He hopped right in. It was such a happy day for me and I felt so thankful to Sharla and Deborah for seeing the need and without any hesitations, stepping up and helping to bring him out of that situation. He was coming home to foster with me.
JD never was a million dollar winner. The wins were elusive for him, and he was claimed and ended up with his last racing owner in 2003. I contacted her and she recalled him, but didn’t have any memories, she only had him for a couple of months and then “found him a good home”. The reality of this world hits me hard; one loss, one bad day can have such an ever-lasting effect on a horse. Green pastures are not guaranteed for most of these horses that are bred to run and sadly the majority end up like JD, lost and forgotten.
It has only been a few short months that he has been with me. He has come from being a skinny depressed horse; to being beautiful, healthy and happy. He has a nice conformation and looks very much like his sire (Lit De Justice). His character is loving and willing. He just started with a trainer, who works with him under saddle once a week. She was surprised to find what he already knows; his walk, trot and canter cues are spot on, he knows his lead changes. He’s collected and flexible. She is sure that he has had some formal training somewhere in his past. We are continuing his lessons and he is always surprising us.
I wonder what his life was like; how he ended up in that situation what led him there? Someone loved him and cared for him at one time. He went through some hard times,but like the rainbow at the end of a storm he is special and loved again.
Judges Decision is available for adoption through either The Second Race or Emerald City TB Project. His adoption fee is $500. To request an adoption application contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org He is currently located in the Sacramento area (Northern California).
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