Racing name: Dixie Rumble
Sire: Richter Scale
Dam: Dixie Fever
Foal date: 2003
People meet their spouses online, find new homes and careers online, so it wasn’t a giant leap that equestrian Catherine Viverette met and fell in love with her new horse—online.
Reading a day-to-day blog about the life of ex-racehorse Thoroughbred Dixie Rumble, Viverette came to know his personality—he needs open space and a run-in stall and he loves to foxhunt above all other disciplines— and, before she could discover if he also enjoys ‘long walks on the beach,’ Viverette was daydreaming about what it would be like to own the big bay gelding.
“I’d been reading Dixie’s blog for a while, and just started daydreaming about all the fun things I could do with him if he was mine,” says Viverette, a biologist from Virginia.
After following Dixie’s stories online for a year, Viverette met blogger and trainer Jessica Morthole. Not only did she like the horse; she liked the author. “When I met Dixie, he was everything she described, and I was smitten,” she says, noting that she also liked the way Morthole trained him, and described the process.
The blog was the idea of CANTER Mid Atlantic Director Allie Conrad, who thought it a great chance to show how horses progress from the track to new careers, Morthole says.
“We wanted to show the good, the bad, and the ugly side of how the process really works,” she says. “Writing about their daily lives, our activities and struggles (allows) people (an opportunity) to get to know the horse because I am 100 percent truthful about the process.”
The blog offers a glimpse beyond the blemishes into the potential and the what-ifs, she notes. “When a horse first comes off the track they may look thin and lack muscle,” Morthole says. “Dixie fell into the category of a big, plain bay horse lacking muscle who had ugly hair.
“He wasn’t something that anyone would have given a second glance. But once he got going, he became really quite nice.”
So nice that there was a frenzy to buy him after he had a year of mileage competing and winning ribbons, Morthole says.
Viverette got her guy and has found him to be the “good egg” she imagined. She enjoys hacking around the farm and plans to get Dixie to a show here or there, down the road.
So positive has her experience been that she would wholeheartedly recommend adoption through CANTER. “I like and respect what they’re doing,” she says. And the blog is another tool to help match the right owner with the right horse, Morthole notes.
“We’re now writing about other horses on Dixie’s site. We’re now focusing on a horse named Parker, who has had so many ups and downs,” Morthole says. “People are finding the blog, and I think they appreciate that they can look in and see how a horse is being trained.
“Selling horses is hard. Sometimes you have to show people what a horse can be because they might not always have the vision to see,” she adds.