Steven is a successful Thoroughbred racehorse that somehow found himself en route to the slaughter factory just 11 months after his last race start. His last race was October 16, 2013 where he placed 12th out of 12 in a cheap claiming race. The race chart said he was no factor. We keep asking ourselves, what happened to Steven? How did he go from earning a paycheck for his owners, trainer and jockey to the skeleton of a horse that we stumbled across at the very end of the New Holland Horse Sale on September 1, 2014, just 11 months after his last race.
We had already been to the auction cashier. The horses that we had saved that day were already paid for and about to be loaded onto the trailer for their journey to New Hampshire. As we got ready to leave, Steven caught Jessica's eye. It was as if he was saying "Hey don't leave, take another look at me. I was a champion and I need another chance. Take me with you." And so in a last minute decision, we did.
(Phyllis) was not on that trip in person but at the computer posting photos, collecting donations and communicating with Jessica and co. at the auction. I saw Steven's photo, and when Jessica called to tell me about him, saying that we needed to save just one more - "take a look at him Mom! Only $150 dollars for a used up skinny, ex-race horse" - I said yes, do it. Absolutely do it.
hen he arrived Sue and I took him out of his stall and slowly began the healing process. Immediately Steven showed us that he loved attention. He stood quiet as we took the burrs out of his forelock and mane and combed his tail. He had a bad case of rain rot on his back (a fungal infection that causes hair loss among other nasty side effects) and he was thin, so heartbreakingly thin. To this day our first photos of him make me teary eyed. Feeding a horse as thin as Steven was can cause a multitude of problems if not done correctly so we started his feed regimen slowly, building up his rations over the course of 3-4 weeks. We took his photo every week or so to document his recovery as you can see below.
During Steven's first few weeks he was put in a smaller grass pasture with the two pony mules that we rescued from Camelot in August of 2014. Sadly, he did not have the energy to run. I would watch him when I was out there, just trying to find his place in this new life that he serendipitously fell into. Again, we were cautious with his care and introductions to the other horses on the farm. In the mule pasture he was able to meet the other horses that lived in the larger pasture over the fence.
I remember the first time that I saw Steven run. It was a very short distance on the day that Rich Hagerty was here filming the Rescue. I was thrilled. After that day everything started to fall into place. He began making pasture friends, gained weight and his coat grew back! As of today he has been saddled, he ground ties like a champ, he's a sweetheart in his stall, he plays with the other horses and even "pushes" them at times to play with him. He is one of the kindest horse that I have had the pleasure of owning. Every day when I visit him in his stall at the end of the day I am amazed at the animal that he has become. I cherish the fact that Jessica saw him at that last moment. That he is here with us, a healthy, fun loving horse. A true rescue.
t's almost time for Steven to start his re-training so that he can find a person to lease and love him. I made a promise to Steven that he would never again become part of the slaughter industry, that he would never get lost in the shuffle again and that no matter what, we will always be watching out for him.
Steven's Race Statistics:
- Starts: 28
- Firsts: 4
- Seconds: 3
- Thirds: 4
- Earnings: $82,960
- Earnings Per Start: $2,963