Jim Pettyjohn went searching for a queen to spend his golden years with. That was before he concluded a public-sector teaching position followed by a longtime career at the Oregon Department of Transportation.
One day in 2003 was when he first noticed the high-headed beauty who offered him a glimpse into worlds beyond his day job. Her attractiveness was undeniable, and her high-stepping figure and spirited personality captivated him.
Through the ensuing years, she was often on his mind as he navigated through his position with the transportation department. And as he worked on his own projects, she moved to several racetracks, eventually winding up many miles away, at Marquis Downs, a track in Saskatchewan.
Despite the distance, he kept following her progress and finally, in 2008, Pettyjohn made his move.
“I knew I had to have her,” he says.
Pettyjohn notes: “My journey began with a question I posted on Alex Brown Racing. I asked, “How do I get Queeninbluejeans out of Canada?”
His queen had run 42 races and was eight-years-old when Pettyjohn, who had never done anything even remotely like adopting a racehorse, tracked down the horse’s trainer, made an offer, and sealed the deal.
Dam: Windy Queen
Sire’s sire: Dayjur, world-sprint champion
Damn’s sire: Sharper One
Foal date: 2002
“The great irony is that I had no idea of her personality and the only picture of her in my mind was of a high-stepping, high-headed girl in the saddling arena.”
She was a little wobbly on her feet when she stepped off the truck at 1:30 a.m. after a 3,000 mile journey, but she did not disappoint. “The whole barn was lit up and everyone was waiting for her,” he recalls. After taking about an hour to get her bearings and shake off the trip, she turned her attention to the man she would spend her retirement with.
“She took her long, muscular neck and squeezed me deep into her body, and then she laid the full weight of her head on my shoulder,” he says. “I was a little shocked. After that, she let out the deepest, lowest rumbling whinny that shook through my body.”
From that point on, Queenie’s life in Mulino, Oregon has gotten better and better. “She’s never had it so good.”
In addition to a nicely appointed stall that opens onto a 1-acre paddock, Queenie sees a naturalpath, a performance vet, and a really great dentist!
She is being eased into her post-racing career, and has warm-up rides with an exercise rider and does groundwork with Pettyjohn.
At 64, he’s no cowboy. So before he saddles her up, he will give Queenie a little time to settle into a slower pace.
Although he’d always been a fan of horseracing, it wasn’t until a few years before retirement that Pettyjohn started to focus on horse welfare.
Finding Queenie and bringing her home has given Pettyjohn a new focus in his retirement years. Not only is he learning how to care for a horse he will eventually ride, but he’s also started studying holistic treatments for horses.
For him, having the dark bay with a feminine, intelligent face to work through their retirement years is pure joy.
“It’s just a very meaningful experience,” he says. “We’re both learning about our new life, together. She’s never experienced this amount of freedom, and for me, working with horses is deeply grounding and relaxing.”