The shining ex-racehorse looked at Laura Jones with trusting, liquid-brown eyes as if to say he knew she would make him well.
Carrizo Creek had sustained a slab fracture in his knee after seven lackluster starts at various Florida tracks, when he was introduced to Jones at the Calder Race Course.
If he was in pain, he didn’t show it.
He was gentle and calm as he walked out of his stall to allow Jones to look him over, and later, he willingly allowed himself to be led to a trailer and hauled off to the next chapter of his life.
“I’d never owned my own horse before,” Jones says. “I waited until I was 32, and had started my career, before I went to Calder to take a look at him.”
Despite his injury, Carrizo Creek had impressed enough people with his demeanor and other fine qualities that all who met him described him as “a really good horse.” And even though it would take some dedication on her part to rehabilitate him, Jones decided to take a chance.
“He was so calm when they lead him out of his stall, and he seemed perfect. And, I knew that if he didn’t work out with me, I knew plenty of people who could take him.”
Racename: Carrizo Creek
Barn name: Flash
Sire: Snow Ridge
Dam: Missing Dancer
Foal date: Foal date: Feb. 26, 2007Jones had a network of Florida-based equestrian friends, connections she made riding at Collins Horse Farm in Miami. They were the ones who helped her find her new horse, and she trusted she could lean on them for help navigating the rehabilitation process, and, if necessary, re-selling him if it didn’t work out.
After the gelding arrived at his new home, he was confined to his stall for three months of rest.
And as his condition improved, Jones started bringing him on hand-walks to stretch his legs and enjoy some time outside of his stall.
“He was never really lame, but I wanted to go really slow with him to make sure he healed adequately,” she says.
After about six months, Carrizo Creek let her know he was fine, and that she could stop worrying. And while he never spoke the words, a la Mister Ed, he did the next best thing:
“After six months of walking, he got down on the ground and rolled while I held him on the lead rope,” she says. “I knew he felt better when he did that. And, when he got back up, he gave a huge kick. That told me he was ready to work.”
By this point, they were well into 2010. She had adopted the horse in February that year, and, it was with great anticipation that she began prepping him for his first ride.
But as luck would have it, during a lunging exercise, he struck a rock with his back hoof and opened up a new wound. This time, a deep quarter crack.
“I didn’t realize what he’d done until we were walking back to his stall, and I noticed he was limping,” she says. “When I looked at his foot, and saw all the pink, it was pretty bad. I thought I’d killed my horse.”
Fortunately, Carrizo Creek, a battler all the way, took only two more months to heal before he was ready to try again.
When the day finally arrived for her to mount the beautiful horse, Jones and her husband were a bundle of nerves. This was a racehorse, after all. Would he spook at the mounting block? Would he bolt? Would he throw her?
“I got on him and he wouldn’t move!” she says. “We were all laughing so hard that my husband finally said, ‘Make him do something!’
“We were even ringing a bell to simulate the sound of the starting gate, but he wouldn’t budge. I finally had to kick him to get him to walk.”
His demeanor is so gentle, in fact, even walks quietly beside Jones’ niece, a toddler.
“When people first hear that I got a racehorse, they say, ‘Oh, you’re crazy!’ And, I say they don’t understand—he’s bombproof.”
He has taken her on trail rides and hacks around the property. Other riders offer to keep their horse reined in so they won’t excite Carrizo Creek into the frenzied gallop they imagine he’ll spring to, and Jones always replies with a smile that says she is confident her ex-racehorse will keep her safe.
She kept him safe during all those months of recovery, and Carrizo Creek is saying, thank you, every day.
“He’s perfect,” Jones says. “I let everybody ride him, even the kids. He’s perfect for everyone.”
6 responses to “After slab fracture, a grateful OTTB heals, bonds”
Flash truly is the sweetest horse in the world. Laura has loved horses her entire life. These two were meant to be together! I am lucky to share some of my own experiences with Flash. He is truly a gentle giant, not much of a rider myself but, I always feel safe on him. 🙂
What a great story! It’s so nice to hear of another horse saved after sustaining injuries at the track. And given time, they repay you for that kindness by being such wonderful friends and mounts. When we take out OTTB’s out on trail rides, we have to laugh about the “hot runaways” people think they might be. Quite the opposite–they are truly amazing creatures. Thanks for sharing your story.
Congratulations Laura and Flash!! This is a wonderful story of patience and love. Laura, the most wonderful days are ahead for you and Flash!! I am so happy for you both!
Again, thank you Susan for a wonderful, heartwarming story. As always, good job!!!
What a wonderful story and it is all true!. You should be proud of all you and Flash have accomplished! He is a sweetheart…Go get em’ girl.
Dear Laura, Your story about your race horse andhis injuries makes me smile inside. I am a Reiki Master and used to give free Reiki to the horses at a rescue here in Maine. One particular horse ( Vinnie) that I worked on was an ex-racer, and had a fractured elbow and was going to be sent to slaughter when a lady bought him, took him home and when she could no longer keep him sent him to the rescue. I began doing Reiki on him twice a week at first….his right front leg was curled and couldn’t be straightened, as if was frozen in place due to his injury. He couldn’t stand on it, walk, or anything. He put all his weight on his one good front leg and hopped everywhere with great difficulty. After about 3-4 weeks his leg was then touching the ground and he could stand on it. Another two weeks and he could pivot on that foot with all his weight and move around quite well. He was such a nice horse, so sweet and gentle. In another 2 weeks he was let out into a paddock to move around and he was trying to protect his hay by charging the fence when other horses came near. within another week he was playing in his paddock, rearing, bucking and just having fun. It was such a site to see that everyone was in tears that he had come so far and was on his way to healing completely. I very STRONGLY reccommend that you find someone who does Reiki to work on your horse, even if he is doing much better. When an animal or person is injured like that it creates energy blockages within and the energy cannot move correctly and help them heal totally. Reiki is wonderful for many many things, even to relax an animal or person. A great stress reliever. It would help both you and your horse to have regular Reiki cessions.
As for Vinnie….he eventually was feeling so good and even playing in his stall. When one morning someone had left the fence down when he was in his stall and the other horses came over to pick on him…Vinnie trying to protect his food reared up and got his foot caught on the half door and ripped his shoulder muscles and rebroke his elbow….his shoulder hung down about 6 inches lower than it should have been and his leg was curled up again. There was no fixing it the second time. They ahd to put this dear horse down. That was so sad after all the progress he had made. Your horse has that same gentleness and goodness about him that Vinnie did. Reiki will help him in so many ways… I suggest that you seriously look for a Reiki Practitioner or Master to work on your horse and you would benefit from it as well by having it done. I’mhappy to hear of your connection with this animal of such beauty….enjoy him and learn from him…Kindly, Bridgette
so many of these wonderful horse are never given this chance! They are so deserving and worth it patience and love is the answer, they are ever so thankful. Most have impeccable ground manners learning so at an early age that generally remains with them forever. They just need love like all of us!! God bless you for saving this one!!