Jessica Hufford’s venerable ex-race mare Byline Story was as spunky as ever.
At age 26, older than Jessica herself, the mare had earned her time as a pasture ornament: a life of leisurely grass grazing and meandering walks was her reward. And now her devoted owner figured it was time to give another retired racehorse a home.
And it didn’t take long for Hufford to find Byline Story’s successor.
Chromospere, a flashy chestnut gelding appeared on the Sale Horse Listings of New Vocations Racehorse Adoptions, and without hesitation, Hufford decided to take him.
That’s how a horse who just as quickly could have been on his way to the New Holland auction, was plucked from the slaughter pipeline, and then plucked again, from listings of needy horses.
“Every animal I own is a rescue animal. And, I had such a great experience with my first Thoroughbred that I wanted to rescue another racehorse,” says Hufford, 21. “When I saw how quiet he was under saddle, and then heard his story, I knew I had to take him.”
Chromospere was one of six Thoroughbreds spared in August from a trip to the livestock auction at New Holland. California-based Thoroughbred advocate Deborah Jones, alerted to the possibility that the chestnut and other horses were due to be transported to a sale frequented by kill buyers, raised funds through Facebook to save the desperate animals.
Barn name: Cosmo
Sire: Smart Strike
Dam: Sundown Serenade
Foal date: Jan. 17, 2006In September, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption made room for the homeless gelding, and was rewarded by his great personality and calm nature.
“He was so quiet you didn’t even know he was in his stall,” says New Vocations trainer Amy Allison. “He was so easy to handle! All you had to do is throw a lead over his neck and he’d follow you anywhere.”
His hard-luck story and pleasing ways made him a popular prospect among horse buyers, Allison adds.
And Hufford feels lucky to have gotten the chance to take him.
He arrived at the Liberty Equestrian Center in Hamilton, Ohio last week, and she has immediately started him with complete farrier and veterinary attention.
Due to a previous injury, his feet are bruised and a little sore. But, with time, he is expected to be completely comfortable on them again, she says.
And already, he is proving to be smart as a whip!
“The first day I tried to lunge him, he looked at me with this question on his face, as if to ask what I wanted him to do,” she says. “Then he watched as I lunged my other horse, and he caught on really quick.
“Within the next two days, he had totally caught on and was lunging in both directions.”
It might not seem important that this forgotten racehorse would catch on so quickly, seeking approval from his new friend.
But to Hufford, it underscores that a really great animal, with a keen intelligence and willing nature, was spared a bad end.
Now, going forward, Hufford will do her best to provide a safe and happy home for a horse who, just weeks ago, had no future at all.