One of the great things about volunteering at the track is seeing all the great horses ready to move on to their next careers. One of the downfalls is we’re often left wondering what happens to horses when they leave the track; especially those special few who really make an impression. Thankfully, when a horse is taken into our adoption program we’re able to see them as they progress from race horse to whatever their next career is!
Last weekend, armed with my camera, I headed out to visit with some CANTER horses past and present who’ve made deep impressions on all of us! The first stop was to visit one of our longtime foster moms Rachel Grant to see her ponies—what a treat! The highlight was finally meeting Blue, her OTTB who I’ve heard so much about. Blue is, simply, a doll. He happily came over to check us out and get some peppermints, and it was a blast to sit there and watch him as Rachel talked about taking him home from the track and how he’s progressed.
After a while we jumped in the truck and headed off to Letter Perfect Farm in Uxbridge, MA to go see the star of the day, Grif’s Corner, aka Griffin. The last time I had seen Griffin was two years ago on the track, when we took her into our adoption program. It was wonderful to see the horse I had taken a listing on thriving off of the track; it’s clear that Griffin is a happy mare who is really settling into her new job well. As we groomed Griffin I found her to be incredibly curious and it’s clear she has intelligence to back up that curiosity. Griffin has been in training with Kelli Mason for months now, and it was great to get a firsthand account of Griffin’s progress. Kelli reports that Griffin is an extremely willing and honest mare; she likes to bond with her person and the partnership that forms is very strong. I was struck at how observant Griffin was during our visit; she likes to know what’s going on and who’s around her—when we had her out for her new conformation shots she was very interested in what was happening at the house across the street—but she willingly brought her attention back to the task at hand when asked. She didn’t turn a hair when a motorcycle came down the street. This mare clearly has a very level head.
Griffin has been training in dressage and she’s really proving to excel both mentally and physically in the work. Although I wasn’t able to see her under saddle due to a perfectly timed thrown shoe, Kelli reports that she’s progressing really well with her training. She’s a very forward mare, with lovely movement. So far Griffin’s diagnosis of kissing spine (read more here) isn’t affecting her training; in fact the classical dressage movements are helping her to strengthen her back and encourage her to really use her hind end. This mare will go places with the right person!
It was great to see Griffin so obviously flourishing in her new job; now we just need to find her a person! It’s clear she’s in good hands until that person comes along; she’s with a great group of people who are really committed to her success. First and foremost, Rachel Grant has given Griffin a home and helped to facilitate her training and veterinary care while she’s been in her care; she is truly irreplaceable. Kelli Mason and the folks at Letter Perfect Farm have been generous in their time and their expertise, raising money to support Griffin’s continued training. Dr. Liz Maloney of Equine Therapies in Franklin, MA has donated time and treatment in order to get Griffin on the right track. And Tim O’Brien of Douglas, MA has donated his farrier services to keep Griffin’s hooves in tip-top shape.
We at CANTER are so thankful to the many people who generously give up their time and resources to help the horses in our care, and Griffin has been fortunate enough to have several people go above and beyond to get her on the right track in her new career. She’ll make someone very lucky when they take her home!
To support Griffin’s training, please support the Letter Perfect Farm tack sale on May 19!