Ailing ex-racehorse survives, finds ‘silver lining’

Lazaria and Cynthia Minchillo

Margaret Kennedy has been in the horse business long enough to know that when it comes to a Thoroughbred’s future, it doesn’t matter what famous forbearers light up a racehorse’s family tree.

If a horse can’t win, and can’t breed either, they are no different than any other failed racehorse who has no safe harbor, or no secure home waiting.

This was the case with a little mare named Lazaria, an untalented racehorse and luckless broodmare, who boasted a lineage right out of the Who’s Who in horseracing.

The granddaughter of Seattle Slew was descended from greats such as Bold Ruler, Native Dancer and Nashua. But when a horse-rescue organization discovered Lazaria and contacted Kennedy last October to come look at the mare, the bay with one small star had sunk to depths far beneath her luminous ancestors.

Matted and terrified of people, she was a bag-of-bones just riddled with infections and parasites. It looked like she’d come to the end of the line when the lifelong equestrian, competitor and Texas horse farmer decided to intervene.

“How could I not help her?” asks Kennedy. “The medical problems she had weren’t worth dying for. This wasn’t a horse who was beyond help, but I knew if somebody didn’t do something soon, she would die.”

Tattoo: 9931146
Race name: Lazaria
Barn name: Lizzy
Sire: Distant Ryder
Dam: Show’em Slew
Foal: Feb. 10, 1999 in Texas
And so it was in late October last year that Kennedy took Lazaria home to her Texas farm The Silver Lining Training Center to work “from the inside out” to restore the Thoroughbred’s health and her trust of people.

Lazaria was wracked with infection and infestation. Her bladder and kidneys were so compromised that whenever the horse sneezed, she wet herself. Worse, worms seeped out of her body in her urine and nasal mucus.

Her ears were crawling with mites, and from a cribbing habit, she had worn her teeth down to mere stubs.

“The two biggest things were the worms, and the bladder and kidney infections,” Kennedy says. “Every time she had to inhale or coughed, she would wet herself, and worms escaped in her water.”

In her darkest hour

To combat infection and strengthen her immune system, Lazaria was placed on oral antibiotics and steroids. She was also placed on a fat-absorbing supplement to help her gain weight.

She was fitted with a specially designed collar to prevent cribbing, and a farrier was brought in to attend to her very soft feet.

Then there was the issue of her ears. Sensitive to many horses, this mare was understandably uneasy about people to begin with, and she especially didn’t want anyone touching her ears.

But Kennedy had her sneaky ways to get at the mite problem.

“The meds she was on made her slightly docile and a little loopy, so I would give her the meds first and then when she got loopy, I’d feed her carrots,” she explains.

In this way, she was able to get the mare to tilt her head and allow her new owner to clean her ears a little bit every day.

And over the course of the year, the mare cautiously began to trust people again.

“When we first got her she was so, so afraid of people. She tried to kill the farrier,” Kennedy says. “In her mind, she was fighting for her life.”

Then, little by little, the mare took notice of the people around her. In particular, Kennedy’s teenage son Jason became a person she trusted and tried to spend time with. “She followed him around like a puppy dog, and would actually wait for him at the paddock gait.”

And last March, Lazaria met a rider she would give her heart to.

Shining through after the crisis

“I’ll never forget the first time they brought her out of her stall,” says Texas paralegal Cynthia Minchillo. “She was a bony, skinny horse and I thought, ‘This is the horse you want me to ride?’ ”

But she climbed into the saddle and was taken on the most beautiful ride she had ever experienced.

“She was just so calm. I got on her and she didn’t take off on me, she was just calm and smooth,” Minchillo says. “Her trot was wonderful. She kept her nose down and we had a great ride.”

The pair even started showing weeks later!

For Kennedy, the emergence of a healthy and successful creature like Lazaria, who only one year earlier was so sick she appeared near death, is truly emblematic of her foundation, The Silver Lining Training Center.

“The deeper meaning behind the name of my farm is the idea that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

A light that shone on Lazaria.


19 responses to “Ailing ex-racehorse survives, finds ‘silver lining’”

  1. Lynda Janzen

    Thanks for this story. Wonderful. I grew up riding and raising horses. Beautiful animals. NOT PETS, but best friends. I sincerely hope that someone has paid for this beautiful girls treatment.

  2. john

    a great story may your work with horses bring you the good fortune you deserve

  3. Mary Johnson - Deputy Broad

    What a wonderful story. I wish all horses were as fortunate.

  4. Mary Ann Wrenn

    Thank you for saving this beautiful horse!!! You will have a special place in Heaven for helping these beautiful animals!!!

  5. Sarah

    Susan, this was one of my favorites! Lazaria-what a gorgeous name, and an apt name for this beautiful girl. Thank you to everyone involved in her rescue and recovery, and to Susan for getting the word out! With all the crap news out there, I needed to read something “good” today:)

  6. Lindsey Fletcher

    What a lovely story!

  7. Michelle

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us. I too rescued an off-track Thoroughbred three years ago. He is so wonderful and comepletely devoted to me, it is almost as if he knows I rescued him….he knows.

  8. Diana Harris

    that is such a great story! I love that you took your time with her and gave her the story book ending they all deserve. We should never give up on a Thoroughbred they have a way of knowing you saved them and they will always pay you back with the love they have for you and the need to please you that they all have even in the worst of conditions and shape. thank you so much for sharing this story and for doing the wonderful things that you do!

  9. KC

    What a marvelous story. Congrats to all, especially Lazaria. What a lucky, lucky girl.

  10. Anita

    What a wonderful story, just goes to show you…what love, attention and grocery can do. Anyone that could treat an animal (especially a horse) in such a manner as to let it get into this condidtion I don’t ever want to meet.
    Thank God for Margaret and Silver Lining TC, keep up the good work. There are people out here as well as the horses, that appreciate all you do.

  11. Margaret

    We were the ones blessed by her coming to us. Thank you so much Susan for telling her story. Her and the other thoroughbreds here have really enriched our lives and those who know them. They are all winners to us.

  12. sybil miller

    LOVE this! she is beautiful, so glad you could see past her condition and give her a chance! i have an ottb, too, they are the best!

  13. fran

    Love this story. So glad Ms. Kennedy invested her time… Sweet little mare with an awesome future!! Bravo!

  14. JoAnna Zumwalt

    I love this! Lazaria is a lucky girl and deserves the very best.
    I am also a foster mom for a OTTB, Judges Decision, an early Lit de Justice foal bred by the Ridders. He too found his way down the tubes and was found for sale on a CraigsList ad. He was in a state of neglect and slowly being starved. Thankfully he is not in as bad shape as poor Lazaria, but was certainly on his way if the intervention had not happened.
    I want to hug the horsemen and women that shine a light on these horses, and give them a chance at life. Cheers to you and Lazaria; she is a winner!!!

  15. Kim Gatto

    What a wonderful and inspirational article, and a lovely mare! Keep up the great work!

  16. Blue Blue Sea

    Wonderful story. I am so very happy that Lazaria met Ms. Kennedy and then Ms. Minchillo. Great work all the way around. Thanks for sharing stories like this!

Leave a Reply