Horses have always been the central passion in my life, from the time I could crawl (the neighbors made my parent buy the rocking horse that I was always crawling over to ride on their porch at age two) until now at age 50 – pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Medicine on muscle diseases in horses. After a 10 year hiatus from Three-day eventing, I had found my “perfect” horse, a half-starved racehorse named Tricky. At seven, he was ready to take on Training level when an unfortunate accident ended his life. I was devastated. Thanks to Dr. Julie Wilson, I learned about the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue, Drew Fitzpatrick, and ultimately, Fred.
Fred is also a racetrack washout, and was brought to MHARF at two as a severely underweight cryptorchid stallion with three other Thoroughbreds. I had been watching the racehorses coming into the rescue for over a year when I spotted Fred on the website. Drew prepared me for what to expect, but it was still shocking how truly neglected these horses were. Fred is not a “garden variety” racehorse – he has impeccable breeding, and is a half-brother to Bellamy Road, a Derby winner. The other horses in his group were equally well-bred. On my first visit, Fred was standing only by leaning against the stall wall for support. I was afraid to lead him out of the stall or even pick up his feet, but I could see the fire in his eyes and the fighting spirit that was still in him, even in this horribly abused condition. I told Drew I was interested in adopting him when he was out of rehabilitative care.
Fred came to me in a few months, when he was strong enough to undergo the relatively complicated surgery needed to geld cryptorchid stallions. He spend a leisurely summer recovering and then settling into his current kingdom at Savehaven Stable, where he is the uncontested leader of the herd. In 2007, Fred started on his career as an event horse by attending a few clinics at places like Pine Meadow and Freedom Farms, training with hometown Olympic hopeful Becky Holder and Eric Dierks, for example.
Fred is now competing at Beginner Novice levels, and scored a respectable 37.4 on his first dressage test and went clean cross country at the formidable Otter Creek course in May of 2008.
This photograph was taken June 21, 2009 at the Fargo Alpha Equus English Riders Eventing Show, where they have a special competition for retired racehorses. Fred won the Novice division, finishing on his dressage score of 23 points. Last year, Fred won the Beginner Novice Horse division at Trott Brook Horse Trials, and finished third in the Area IV Beginner Novice Championship.
I am so thankful to Drew and MHARF for helping Fred and all the other horses in their darkest hours. I hope that everyone who reads this feels the same and helps in whatever way they can to give these horses a second chance.
– Lisa Borgia