Stepping off the trailer into a swirl of snow from a storm that had threatened all day, the ex-racehorse emerged through rising steam as though descending from Mt. Olympus.
In a flash Kimberly Compton DiCostanzo decided to name her new horse Zeus.
Called Kinney up until that moment, the Thoroughbred got a new name, new home, and future career on New Year’s Eve last year. At the same time, he added a warm, soft presence to a barn recently bereft of DiCostantzo’s eventing champion Midnight, who succumbed to colic just days before.
So when her 22-year-old champion died on Dec. 28, DiCostanzo started looking immediately for a new horse.
“I needed to get a new horse for my mare Topaz,” she says. “The night Midnight got sick, she was inconsolable; she was panicking herself, pacing and spinning in her stall.”
While her veterinarian tranquilized her healthy horse to prevent injury, DiCostanzo immediately started the search. After contacting several Thoroughbred agencies, she found her new horse through CANTER New England.
Race name: Kinfolk Moonshine
New name: Resilient
Barn name: Zeus (was Kinney)
Sire: Slew Gin Fizz
Dam: Parental Uproar
Age: 5Seeing a picture of the horse looking a little forlorn, she read a few comments about his large gait, warm eye, and eventing potential, and bought him.
“In the pictures he looked like he didn’t have much life to him, but for some reason I was drawn to him anyway,” she says. “He was being fostered in Vermont and I thought about driving up to see him, but I decided to grab him, sight unseen.
“I was shocked! I’d never done anything like this before, but it worked out well.”
Soon after he arrived in the barn, life started to return to normal. Topaz settled back down, and DiCostanzo
got going on her new “project” in March.
Focusing on rebalancing him through flat work, she is concentrating on getting him to swing through his back and build his top line. And Zeus is demonstrating to her just how quick his mind really is.
“He is far too smart!” she says. “He’s unfazed by everything … he needs to be challenged and thinking.”
One rainy day when he was unhappily cooped up in his stall, DiCostanzo decided to take his mind off his confinement by teaching him tricks. “He learned to bow, to give kisses and to ‘paw for gold’ and he did each one in about 10 minutes,” she says.
A dedicated horsewoman from age 11, DiCostanzo and Midnight were ranked 22nd in the country for three-day eventing at the height of their career together.
“He gave me everything, this horse,” she recalls. “When he died, I was amazed at how many lives he touched. I got letters and cards and artwork—there was such an outpouring of support it was overwhelming.”
With her new Thoroughbred her goals are not so lofty. Rather than being driven to “climb the levels” she is going slowly, enjoying the ride. “When I was younger I was in a hurry. Now I’m enjoying the process.”