A few years ago, I waylaid a Standardbred filly who was on her way to slaughter. Her name was Stamp the Stars. She is pretty much the only one of my Standardbreds who truly was a rescue. Most of them are actually from owners and/or trainers who really like their horses and are trying to assure them good homes after racing.

I heard about this filly from the guy who was trailering her. She’d never raced. Never even trained down to anything close to qualifying speed. She’d been standing in a stall at a training centre, without any real care. The other tenants had been feeding her, but no one was cleaning her stall and her feet hadn’t been done in months. She hadn’t been out of the stall for a long time. Her owner/trainer had taken a dislike to her. And she to him apparently. She started peeing on him when he was driving her on the track (not as uncommon as you might think – fillies have ways of getting even). She was said to be sound, but really I had no idea. I bought her sight unseen, and had her delivered here.

She came off the trailer at my place and my heart sank. She was dirty, and underweight, with badly overgrown feet. At three years old, she was still rather gawky anyway. Gawky, underweight Standardbreds are not at their best – it takes them a while to grow into their heads. She looked kind of stifle-y. And stocked up. Her mane and tail were matted and tangled, and she smelled bad.

I did my best to get her cleaned up. Had her feet done. Wormed her. Got some food into her and eventually got her turned out on the pasture with the rest of the herd.

A friend came to visit one day, and met the gawky filly (though she was definitely less gawky by then). It actually didn’t occur to me for even a second that she might like the filly (if it had, I certainly would have sung the filly’s praises a bit more!). But a couple of days later I had an email from her. She’d come up with a plan that would allow her to take the filly and still keep her darling old mare who was no longer rideable.

Barb named her “Roxanne”. The filly turned out to have, as Barb puts it “a colourful personality”. They had an occasionally rocky beginning, with Roxanne trying to convince Barb that she should run the show. But with the help of a good coach, they worked through that. Roxanne is a natural boss mare. But she’s also a kind, friendly, and very smart horse. She’s become a good citizen, albeit still interesting. She loves Barb. And Barb loves her. That last bit is an understatement. Barb bubbles over with enthusiasm about her princess.

As you can see from her photos, Roxanne grew up, filled out, and glows with good health. She has her own herd of minis to dominate. Life is good.


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