Too broken to fix, Mascot is permanently retired

Mascot enjoys an afternoon with his pal, Pistol Pete

Mascot enjoys an afternoon with his pal, Pistol Pete. Photo by Andra Rudershausen

Melissa Rudershausen, owner of Double Rock Thoroughbred Rescue, announced this week that Mascot, the top-earning racehorse she discovered at New Holland Auction last year, thin and terrified, has been permanently retired.

After every attempt was made to restore the ex-racehorse, who earned $240,000 in racing victories, before winding up at auction, a stifle injury ultimately prevented a future for him as a sound riding horse, says Rudershausen.

“Mascot’s retirement was a hard decision,” she says. “But it was definitely best for him. As a racehorse, he had a long, strenuous career, and he was basically run into the ground.”

The A Circuit rider and operator of her Ocala, Florida-based horse rescue, had wanted to turn Mascot into a show horse.

For months, she treated recurrent abscesses, and medically addressed other trouble spots, including joints that required injection medication, and she fought to keep weight on the high-strung animal who walked and paced with nervous energy.

“It is a challenge to put weight on, but he gets high-quality grain and has access to hay, 24/7,” she says. “Unfortunately, his joints were too far gone, and we couldn’t keep him sound for riding.”

Although she is disappointed that the animal she found, rescued, and restored to gleaming beauty will never set foot

Mascot, shortly after he was rescued from New Holland Auction

Mascot, shortly after he was rescued from New Holland Auction

in a show ring, Rudershausen says he will be well taken care of until the end of his days.

“After spending quite a lot of money trying to get Mascot sound enough to be a pleasure horse, we decided the best thing for him would just be full retirement,” she says, noting that he is retired at a friend’s farm with a large pasture.

And, she went a step further and purchased a companion pony, Pistol Pete, to keep Mascot calm and happy.

“He is pasture sound and still enjoys a good gallop around the field with his buddy,” she says. “But, I am saddened because he is the perfect example of a high-class horse who could have gone on to be a special horse outside racing if he was retired at an appropriate time.”

9 responses to “Too broken to fix, Mascot is permanently retired”

  1. Gloria Stagmer

    Bless you all for letting this gorgeous horse live his days in retirement. Somehow I think he will still be earning his keep with the peace he gives as he is admired in the pasture. The creatures of flight have a way of giving such joy just by our looking at them. I so wish vets would say enough sooner and give these animals a second chance before they end up in this shape. You are all my heros. Hope you will post his progress.Give him a hug.

  2. Kris

    Thank you Melissa for saving this disguarded innocent soul. Like so many others in the racing industry, he did everything that was asked of him for his entire career and was then tossed out like trash when the time came for his people to care for him in return. Thank you so much for being the one person to step up and be his hero.

  3. Lisa Melone

    So glad to see Mascot has a SAFE place where he can live out his days. So many are less fortunate–he was lucky Melissa spotted him.

  4. Neva

    It’s so wonderful what You have done for this horse. Need more people like this in the world…….

  5. Delrene

    What a beautiful horse. The before (shocking) to the aftercare photo – he is breathtaking. Thank you so much for caring for him. And with a best friend to accompany him for his remaining days. An almost perfect happy ending. As you say, his life could have been more productive with more caring owners/trainers/ or whoever it was that ran him down. But he is obviously a happy horse. Thanks for saving him and his best friend.

  6. Bonnie

    Here is a story that I wrote for The Exceller Fund that talks about horses like Mascot and the coalition of people that are working hard to make more happy-ending stories:

  7. Jon

    This is an example of the need for the thinking of racehorse industry to change. They need to realize that a horse has value beyond the track. The common thinking is to keep dropping the horse down until it either wins or breaks down. A poor example of thinking outside the box. If the people involved with racing understood that there is a market for the horses that are good horses that are slowing down or the horses that just should not be racing, then we would see a reduction of things like this. I have no doubt Mascot could have had a very good second career outside of racing if his connections and /or his trainer had said this horse has run enough, he needs a new home and job.Two of my OTTB’s were owned by a man that said this and they went onto fun careers as eventers and pleasure horses.

  8. Andrea

    Thank you for taking care of Mascot. His post-auction photo sickens me and I am saddended when I think thatt for every one saved there are countless who are less fortunate. He is a beautiful animal and I hope he is happy with his buddy Pete for the remainder of his life.

  9. Carmel

    What a gorgeous boy. Such a shame, thank you Melissa for what you did for him. It’s good to know there are good people in the world like you.

Leave a Reply