Esmerelda and Soupy, Playing Silly Games

Esmerelda had to be separated from the other two yearlings a while ago. She was getting to hate the boys anyway and it was time for her to go live with the mares. But in order to introduce her gradually, we tried first putting her out with her mother. Exclusive is old and a bit crippled up with a calcified ankle (not that it slows her down anywhere near as much as it should). She’s a bit grumpy though, since she’s a boss mare too.

Eventually we started putting Soupy in with them as well when it became apparent that Exclusive had very little tolerance for youthful exuberance. Soupy has just retired from the track (and is looking for a new career). There’s nothing wrong with Soupy… she just never really succeeded at the track. And she’s feeling GOOD right now. She likes Esmerelda. Soupy pretty much likes everyone. People and horses both. She’s a happy mare.

I took some pics of them this morning right after we put them out in the big pasture for a change. Soupy and Esmerelda were having a grand time. Exclusive just sneered and went off to graze.

So Long Dot

Dot ambling out after breakfast

Well, we lost our old girl… Queen Dot. She was 24 years old and has had colic off and on for the last couple of days. The vet let her go today.

Dot was crazy. There is no way to soft pedal that. Back in her racehorse days, she had to have her own pet goat. When Dot won a race and went to the test barn afterwards, someone had to make an emergency run for Natasha the goat. Dot would not calm down until that goat was there. She didn’t like flat bed trucks, and would start weaving crazily in her stall when the feed truck pulled up. Loud music bothered her, so radios had to be turned off. She was claustrophobic, so instead of a closed stall door they often just left a stall guard across the doorway.

But for all the craziness, Dot was well-liked by everyone who knew her, and loved quite intensely by her groom. She was kind and very gentle. And she won races. Twelve of them in fact. She was a front runner, and as a handsome grey with a big stride, I’d bet she was glorious to watch. She was quite lovely even in her twenties with her long white tail streaming behind her as she galloped around the pastures with the younger mares.

Dot was claimed in her last race and sent off to be a broodmare. She had at least nine foals, and when she was retired, the breeding farm sold her to her old groom for $1. Corinne brought her to my boss, who had been Dot’s trainer, to retire her. She’s been running with the broodmare band ever since. We let her live out, the way she wanted to do. She’d come in for meals, but we had to leave her stall door open so she could amble up and down the aisles peering in at the other horses (rather smugly, I always suspected), then darting back into her stall to grab another mouthful of feed. She liked to drool feed over my head when she had the chance. And escape out of gates that you just left open for a split second to bring a wheelbarrow through. Once loose, she’d cavort around the courtyard, chortling at the futile human efforts to catch her. Crafty old mare.

It won’t be the same without her.