I have always been a huge horse racing fan. There aren’t many Kentucky Derbies that I’ve missed and I watch racing any chance I get. These days I am fortunate enough to be able to write for a handicapper, covering the latest news and recapping weekend stakes races. He has also been generous enough to send me to major races like the Breeders’ Cup and the Pegasus World Cup.
Despite being a fan of the Thoroughbred for many years, my experience with them started about six years ago. I had ridden horses my entire life, but when we started our first business life got hectic and I sold my horse. When we moved to the Lake Fork area about 8 years ago, I was determined to start riding again.
I found Carrie Zirretta of Windhaven Ranch and started taking lessons with her to get back into the swing of things. Her farm was only a couple of years old at the time. She had Mistic Gray (Jockey Club name “Scenaroid”) and I rode him in my lessons. She didn’t have panels around her arena yet and on my second ride, he dumped me and ran back to the barn! It also wouldn’t be the first time he dumped me either.
Despite that, I fell in love with the silly gray gelding and my husband bought him for me for Christmas that year. Mistic had a very brief racing career as a 3 year old, only winning $600 at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. We showed at a few Windhaven Ranch shows as well. He still has a goofy personality, but he’s not as silly as he was back then and has settled into the lesson horse role rather well.
I boarded him at Aiming High Ranch, also in Sulphur Springs but closer to Yantis for four years. During my time there, I was introduced to the opportunity of buying a broodmare, Abra Joy.
I bought Abra Joy and that winter we sent her to Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky to be bred to Wilburn. The result was Follow My Path. Path is now 3 years old and nearly 17 hands.
Also during my time there, I was able to partner with them on a racehorse name Johnny Hurricane. Johnny was a much better racehorse than Mistic and won over $6000. Still, as often happens in racing, the funds to continue racing weren’t really there and we purchased our own land and built Lake Fork Stables.
Now my horses were just a few minutes away from home. Johnny wasn’t really lesson horse material, so I traded him for Burntcinnamontoast. She was trained to race but never went to the track. She was a “been there, done that” kind of horse and exactly what we needed. Unfortunately, she had an accident shortly after coming to the barn that caused her to have a broken tail. She has spent the last several months healing and has made great progress. It’s now time to get her back into riding shape.
It’s also time to finish breaking Path so that he can go on to be a show horse and perhaps give lessons as well, as he is a really nice guy.
Since buying Mistic, however, I have become very passionate about Thoroughbred aftercare. It’s very important to me, as these horses give us so much from the entertainment value and thrill of watching them race to their whole heart when it comes to being a show horse or riding horse at home.