On his very first trail ride he eagerly splashed through a stream, pausing only to help a timid Quarter Horse across. And later last year, he bravely pushed his way through a forest of balloons, ambled across a mattress, then calmly approached a cowbell, which rung loudly as he stood still.
In Daug, Sabrina Hundley got such a willing partner that she likes to say he’s like a twelve hundred pound canine. “His name really fits him, he’s loyal and obedient!”
His reaction to obstacles that would jangle another horse’s nerves has turned Hundley from an admirer of Thoroughbreds to an ardent believer that ex-racehorses can do just about anything.
“Daug is just awesome,” she says.
“I took him fox hunting a couple of times after we first got him in 2009 and … there was one part of the ride that’s a little hilly. Horses can get overly excited and charge up the hill,” she says. “But Daug is great. We put him in the front, and he just lead everybody up at a walk.”
The wind was whipping that day, and the hounds were making such a commotion. But his disposition held, and in the year since he joined Hundley and her husband at their Washington, D.C. area farm, he has remained a gentleman.
Race name: Big Daug
Sire: Century City
Dam: Big Out There
Foal date: April 7, 2005
“When he first arrived he never raced along the fence line or acted up the way other racehorses might. He’s got the perfect personality. My oldest horse is aloof and my second one, can be a little hyper.”
Not Daug. While other ex-racehorses were running around the paddocks of his previous home at CANTER Mid-Atlantic, he showed great patience when volunteer Kelly Utter arrived to take his picture. She hadn’t known Daug long, because he found a new home and was gone so quickly, but she always remembers the day she conducted a little photo shoot.
“It’s not easy to get photos if you’re alone, as I was that day. It can be very difficult to get a horse to stand still. Big Daug was the exception of the day, because even out in the field, while the other horses were leaving him to go up a hill, he stood perfectly still for me while I took his photos.
“I was actually able to go over to him, lift and reposition his legs as he stood perfectly still. He was like a poseable doll and pretty patient too, considering he was a young horse, and all his friends were running away at the time.”
He made such a positive impression on CANTER Mid-Atlantic Director Allie Conrad that when Hundley approached the organization offering to foster a horse, Conrad immediately suggested Daug.
“After Allie picked Daug for me to foster, she started lining up (potential buyers) to come out to my place and look at him,” Hundley says. “I feel a little selfish, because he showed such great potential as a competition horse, but I couldn’t let him go. So I decided to keep him for ourselves.”
As a pleasure horse, Daug’s future will consist of more judged trail rides, foxhunting in good weather, and small schooling shows with low jumps.
And he will hang out with Hundley’s other two ex-racehorses, Outtasorts and Olympic Cat, a son of Storm Cat.
“I remember when Allie suggested Daug to us. I said it was perfect because we already had a Cat. Cat’s a real diva, and Daug has a dog’s personality. My experience with him proves to me that ex-racehorses can do almost anything.”