Rachel Grant hopes one special person will come along and provide a storybook ending.
For her foster horse.
After getting to know the leggy 16-hand mare over the last seven months, and becoming so close to the horse that she calls her “girlfriend,” and not her given name Grif’s Corner, Grant has come to hope for the best for the sweet-natured lady who nickers a friendly hello each morning.
“My ideal person would be someone who’s willing to continue her training, and who recognizes that she’s very curious and very brave,” Grant says. “But Grif also needs someone she can lean on when she’s afraid. She needs someone who won’t get angry with her if she has a little ‘moment.’ What Grif needs is kindness and consistency.”
And any buyer would also need to accept Grif just as she is.
Grif shows signs of “kissing spine,” a condition in which the tops of her bones in the spinal column come too close together, and are “touching” or “kissing”, as they say.
Race name: Grif’s Corner
Dam: Carousel Corner
Foal date: April 2005As with other physical conditions, severity can vary. And the good news with Grif’s situation is that she is responding very well to shockwave therapy and walking exercises, and thus far, the condition has not impeded her abilities under saddle, Grant says.
“When I ride her, I use a pad and a properly fitting saddle,” she says. As the months have gone by, and the pair has logged many successful rides, her soreness has dissipated, she says. The combination of affordable shockwave treatments and walking exercises, that encourage Grif to stretch out and down with her neck, has reduced side effects of the condition, she adds.
Grif has gone well at the walk and the trot, and possesses a ground-covering, four-beat walk that is very comfortable to sit to, and a nice trot that is not too hot. As for the canter, she is still a bit disorganized, but they are working on it.
“She’s lovely on the trails and to watch her canter and gallop around the fields, she looks like a horse who is completely comfortable,” Grant says. “She’s one of those horses you can pull out of the stable and say, ‘Lets go trail riding!’ ”
With her attractive conformation and the lovely set of her neck, Grif looks to be well suited for either dressage or jumping. What she needs now is a little luck, and someone who believes in her, says Grant.
Grant has been fostering horses like Grif for CANTER New England for nearly six years. In that time, she has helped retrain and re-home several horses by working collaboratively with the nonprofit agency.
Her experience, she says, gives a prospective buyer an edge when it comes to choosing an ex-racehorse.
“The horses have already made the transition from track to farm life,” she says. “They have let down and have become easier to handle for folks that are not equipped to take a horse right off the track.”
“CANTER also evaluates the horses through the foster providers to understand more about what the horse is really like and what they might do well at in their next career.”
This experience, combined with the depth of knowledge she gained when she chose to buy an injured ex-racehorse for herself five years ago, gives her confidence to vouch for Grif, who is available for adoption at CANTER New England.
While the kissing spine will require ongoing attention by a new owner, Grant believes that regular treatment and exercise, and the use of a properly fitting saddle will help keep her sound for riding.
Owning an American Thoroughbred is a point of pride for Grant. She loves to brag at horse shows that her own off-track Thoroughbred, who is often mistaken for a Dutch Warmblood, is actually an ex-racehorse who once blew a tendon so badly his leg looked like a banana.
Although there is no guarantee Grif will blossom into a show horse, there is that hope, she says. And if not a show career, lovely trail rides await.
In a lot of ways, horses like Grif have already proved themselves, and Grant hopes someone will look at the stately beauty and see that too.
“These horses are wonderful athletes. They’re not stupid. They’re not crazy. They’re really nice horses who just need someone to take a chance on them.”