Vow to Fly wings it from Craig’s List to home

Vow to Fly was spotted on OTTB Connect by Belinda Ransom-Davis. Her offer to drive him to his new home became a bigger commitment when she and her husbanded adopted him.

Vow to Fly was spotted on OTTB Connect by Belinda Ransom-Davis. Her offer to drive him to his new home became a bigger commitment when she and her husbanded adopted him.

“Hey, I’ll give that horse a lift,” were the fateful words of horse-loving Ohioan Belinda Ransom-Davis who spotted a ragamuffin T-bred advertised on the Facebook page OTTB Connect last November, and was impelled to help the needy animal along his way to a new owner.

The horse, Vow to Fly, looked so thin and careworn when Ransom-Davis read his ad that when she realized she lived an easy drive from both the horse and his prospective buyer, she offered to hitch up her two-horse trailer and deliver the dark bay beauty to his new home.

But in the way that horse deals have a way of taking unanticipated twists and turns, the original buyer backed out, and Ransom-Davis and her husband Paul decided that though they could ill afford to take on yet another horse—they already had seven—they decided that somehow, they’d find a way.

Vow to Fly
Sire: Broken Vow
Dam: Flying Red Jet
Foal date: March 29, 2006
Earnings: $49,000, 21 starts
As she updated followers of the horse’s story about their decision to keep the horse, and as a bounty of donations, blankets, and other necessities came flooding in, Vow to Fly arrived, walked straight into his stall piled high with bedding, and lied down for a long nap. “Poor Val, he didn’t even turn around once in his stall,” she says. “He just walked straight in, lied down, and went to sleep.”

Her husband was so concerned with Vow to Fly’s thin condition that he slept in the unheated barn for two nights, keeping a close watch and feeding the underweight a pound of alfalfa every two or three hours, she says. “By about March or April he had gained about 250 pounds, but he still did not have enough topline muscle to hold a rider,” she says.

Two months ago Ransom-Davis sat on her horse for the first time. His anxiety melted, and the two had a great first ride.

Two months ago Ransom-Davis sat on her horse for the first time. His anxiety melted, and the two had a great first ride.

In June he was finally ready to be put into training with Anna Hood of Happy Hollow Farm, an exercise on the lunge line revealed the Craig’s List horse had a few surprise moves of his own. “The first thing she said to me was, ‘Oh gosh, he has a lovely movement!’ “”

Though Vow was anxious under saddle and bucked with his trainer, by the time Ransom-Davis tried him just a couple weeks later, his highly held head came down, and his anxiety dropped several notches. “He just calmed right down when I rode him. He just lowered his head, and he was so good with me,” she says, adding, “He was just an angel. After I dismounted I gave my trainer a hug and burst into tears of joy. My tears were of hope, love, relief and gratitude.”

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Two rescued T-breds labor for lives on holiday

Jo Jo's Gypsy, rescued by Jeanne Mirabito of Our Mims Horse Haven, is not nearly out of the woods. But  she is so loved.

Jo Jo’s Gypsy, rescued by Jeanne Mirabito of Our Mims Horse Haven, is not nearly out of the woods. But she is so loved.

On this Labor Day 2014, there is little rest for those working round-the-clock to save a couple of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses recently rescued at the 11th hour.

In Kentucky, Jeanne Mirabito of Our Mims Horse Haven continues to nurse Jo Jo Gypsy back to health.

The 16-hand “walking skeleton” was rescued on Aug. 22, and Jo Jo is not out of the woods yet, Mirabito reports. The severely emaciated mare, who found with dozens of others earlier this month by Animal Rescue, shows an intense will to live, but is far from well. (Please see an earlier story).

“She knows she is safe now. She knows she is loved,” Mirabito says.

Samantha Merz, Volunteer Coordinator at the South Florida SPCA feeds Sosa. Photo by Grace Delanoy

Samantha Merz, Volunteer Coordinator at the South Florida SPCA feeds Sosa. Photo by Grace Delanoy

And as Jo Jo struggles to regain weight, a 22-year-old gelding dumped in the C-9 basin of Florida, is also in a fight for his life. (Please see earlier story). Recovered by the South Florida SPCA, Sosa, a Kentucky bred, suffers severe lacerations on his legs, and is undergoing painstaking care as volunteers lovingly change his wraps and try to keep him cool in the heat.

Sosa is reportedly on his way to a foster home soon.

Hats off to Jeanne Mirabito of Our Mims and to the volunteers at the South Florida SPCA for working so hard, even on federal holidays, to ensure these beautiful Thoroughbreds make it another day.

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A photo, a miracle, saves 2 from New Holland

Cool Checkers, front, and Nature's Fancy were spotted at New Holland by CANTER Mid Atlantic's Allie Conrad. She took their pictures, posted it to Facebook, and the horses were purchased by Foxie G Foundation from the meat buyer who had them. Photo by Allie Conrad

Cool Checkers, front, and Nature’s Fancy were spotted at New Holland by CANTER Mid Atlantic’s Allie Conrad. She took their pictures, posted them to Facebook, and the horses were purchased by Foxie G Foundation from the meat buyer who had them. Photo by Allie Conrad

How two chestnut Thoroughbreds escaped certain death at a Canadian slaughterhouse after they were sold to a meat buyer Aug. 19 came down to a fluke, a photo, and a frenzy to save them.

The horses— 11-year-old gelding Cool Checkers and 10-year-old mare Nature’s Fancy— were run through the New Holland Auction and purchased by a meat buyer so fast that it was almost a miracle that Thoroughbred advocate Allie Conrad caught a look at them, and better than that, managed to take pictures including their lip tattoos, and put out an alert on Facebook page OTTB Connect.

“I hadn’t been to New Holland in 15 years, not since I bought my horse Phinny there, and started CANTER Mid Atlantic because of my experience,” Conrad says. “The reason I stopped by was that I wanted to see the impact we’ve had” with the widespread Thoroughbred re-homing efforts “because when I got Phinny all those years ago, there were about 40 percent Thoroughbreds at New Holland, racing fit, and wearing their racing plates.”

Cool Checkers
Sire: Rubiyat
Dam: Number One Cool
Foal date: Feb. 13, 2003
**
Nature’s Fancy
Sire: Valiant Nature
Dam: Flemish Fancy
Foal date: April 22, 2004
On this return visit, a fluke trip, she walked up and down the aisles and noticed the regal Thoroughbred heads of Cool Checkers and Nature’s Fancy, scared but noble, huddled together.

She approached the frightened horses, flipped their lips, took a picture of their tattoos, and posted it to Facebook. And though it seemed all hope was lost as Conrad snapped that final picture of Nature’s Fancy, who appeared terrified as she was paraded past auctioneers and finally sold, the photos caused an immediate outcry as it made its’ was through social media and beyond.

And to those it reached and touched, the response was overwhelming as they pulled out all stops to save the horses.

“People returned the information immediately!” Conrad says, explaining that as soon as she posted photos of their lip tattoos on Facebook, the horse’s names were found and also posted to Facebook.

Once the names were known, help came out of the woodwork.

Nature's Fancy walks into the auction. Photo by Allie Conrad

Nature’s Fancy walks into the auction. Photo by Allie Conrad

Laurie Calhoun, cofounder of Thoroughbred charity Foxie G Foundation, which had actually re-homed the gelding Cool Checkers as a yearling for breeders Joan and Dale Everett, stepped into the fray immediately. Shocked to learn via a phone call from Maryland horseman Andi Puckett that the chestnut gelding, who had a nice home for 10 years, had been sold at New Holland, she hopped on the phone.

First she notified the Everetts, who urged her to “get the horse back at any cost,” she says. Next, she called a local dealer, who has done yeoman’s work tracking horses and obtaining them from kill buyers, for Foxie G.

“This local dealer has done incredible work for us. He made some calls for me, and at one point we had the incorrect hip number, but he eventually found Cool Checkers with the mare. He asked if we wanted her too and I said of course,” she says.

Hip Number 272 and 271 were worn by the two Thoroughbreds who were saved. The rest of the horses in this group, which were not Thoroughbreds, went to slaughter, according to Allie Conrad.

Hip Number 272 and 271 were worn by the two Thoroughbreds who were saved. The rest of the horses in this group, which were not Thoroughbreds, went to slaughter, according to Allie Conrad.

Calhoun adds, “It was really intense. At one point I tried to find out if the horses had shipped to Canada already” and she feared the worst. Then, when the local dealer found the horses alive, and shipped them to her at no profit to him, she let out a deep sigh of relief.

Both horses are now in quarantine at a Foxie G Foundation barn, where they will be assessed and cared for until a decision is made about their futures.

Foxie G recently enacted strict contractual guidelines prohibiting adopters from transferring ownership to anyone, Calhoun says, noting that Foxie G insists on taking back any horse who does not work out, no questions asked.

Calhoun adds that she is eternally grateful that Allie Conrad decided to drop by New Holland Auction that day. And Conrad, who has re-homed many ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds for CANTER Mid Atlantic says the experience of Foxie G and Cool Checkers shows that even the best re-homing situation can go wrong.

“This can happen to any of us,” Conrad says. ♥

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