Once starved racehorse blooms in good health

Fair Weather Stan hacks with Lisa Molloy

Fair Weather Stan hacks with Lisa Molloy

Fair Weather Stan, the multiple graded stakes winner who nearly died of starvation in January, is so fat with good health that his rescuer claims he has a “muffin top.”

As in, not-ready-for-the-beach “muffin top.”

“He’s now just under 1,200 pounds and I’ve finally been able to reduce his feed to a normal amount,” says well-known off-track Thoroughbred trainer Lisa Molloy.

Under constant care and supervision since he first arrived wobbling off the van at her Virginia-based facility, Lisa Molloy Training Stables, Stan has since blossomed with health.

Molloy explains, “He was fed a high protein, high fat diet starting off with 18 pounds per day of grain, plus Free Choice Orchard Grass and alfalfa. Blue Seal kindly donated a substantial amount of their Demand high protein pellet, and he just packed on the pounds.

“He gained over 250 pounds in approximately three months.”

In addition to the high-octane feed, he was also on Red Cell supplements to help with anemia, which has rectified itself as his health improved, she says.

He has made a complete turnaround since he took his first tentative steps at Molloy’s Thoroughbred re-homing facility.

Known as a “fighter on the track,” who’d earned $300,000 in 39 starts, Fair Weather Stan seemed pretty beaten down by life.
Sire: Tiger Ridge, by Mister Baileys
Dam: J’s Toy
Foal date: May 13, 2004
Earnings: $269,706

He had a body score of 2 out of 10, and wobbled so badly when Molloy unloaded him, that the longtime horseman was afraid he would die that night.

She covered him with a blanket, and bedding him down with plenty of food, left the barn with a sinking feeling. “He was the worst case I’ve ever seen,” says Molloy, who works for Thoroughbred charities ReRun, Inc., and Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue.

“When he first came, he wouldn’t lift his head” from his food, Molloy says in an earlier interview with Off Track Thoroughbreds.com. “Then he realized meals were coming in a sufficient amount, and at the same time, so now he’ll lift his head up and he’ll watch me.”

Stan now can’t take his eyes off Molloy when she enters his paddock, and if she takes too much time to come to him, he becomes a little demanding of her attention.

“If he’s outside and calls to me, I sure better hurry myself up and get him,” she says, noting that if she dawdles, Stan will chase her!

She also recently started him under saddle. “Stan was shocked to find out he was required to do something, and although he is not a fan of the arena, he loves to go trail riding,” she says.

Stan, as he appeared in January

Stan, as he appeared in January

Although he may be a bit finicky at the moment, Molloy is confident that by the time she unveils him at the Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Show in Virginia this June, he will be happy to strut his stuff.

She is currently riding him on trails four days a week, doing light jogs and walking, as they explore the 150 acres surrounding her farm.

As he builds up his strength and fitness, Molloy grows increasingly excited to enter  him in the War Horse division of the June horse show.

“If any horse deserves to earn the title of War Horse, Stan does, after all he’s been through,” she says.

14 responses to “Once starved racehorse blooms in good health”

  1. Lisa Melone

    Another story to make me smile–lucky Stan to land at Lisa’s place. What a fighter!

  2. Glori Stagmer

    Terrific story of success. Thank heavens you were there to help. I so wish these owners would be made responsible for the abuse they cause. This horse is now in good hands. I know you will take care of this beautiful animal.

  3. Lisa Molloy

    While I appreciate your concern, Stan was pulled from the starvation situation late last summer and sent to a “rehab” farm where he was fed 4lbs of feed per day which clearly was enough to sustain him but not for him to gain additional weight besides the fact he was riddled with parasites. Within 24 hours of arrival, he had a CBC and kidney and liver function tests – the anemia was giving him a rapid irregular heartbeat, everything else was relatively normal. We knew exactly what issues he had and what we needed to correct and he was fed accordingly with the full backing of not one but 3 vets and 2 of the country’s top equine nutritionalists. Throughout Stan has never displayed any digestive issues and made consistent weight gain and his feed was dispersed over the course of 4 feedings. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

    1. Faith

      Sue and Lisa,

      Thanks for your prompt clarifications. As I first stated, there appeared to be an error in the reporting. I could not imagine any of the parties named over-loading a starvation case like that. (Rehabbing starved horses is a whole series of articles!)

      Sue, thank you for your wonderful reports on OTTBs. I eagerly look forward to them in my inbox. My concern here was that someone might interpret the condensed version of Stan’s story as the way to go.

      Lisa, thank you for turning Stan around and for all the work you do with ex-racers. Please take my appreciation of you personally, not my concern about the content of the article.


  4. Faith

    This is a GREAT story, except the part about what Stan was fed when rescued.

    Surely there was an error in reporting, either about his body condition or the volume of feed.

    No experienced rescuer would feed a starved horse with a “2” body score 18 pounds of grain per day immediately upon rescue.

    It takes a while for a horse to deteriorate to a score of 2. Not knowing how long he’d been starved and the impact of that starvation on his body organs would require a very slow introduction of concentrated feeds.

    The appropriate protocol would be starting with unlimited grass hay, then adding alfalfa, then adding grain incrementally over a period of weeks. I could see 18 pounds divided between 4-5 feedings a day at some point…maybe…that’s a LOT of grain, but certainly not right off the trailer.

    Readers, please do not give a starved horse grain until it has proven its internal organs are healthy enough to process that much nutrient. UC Davis has published a guide describing the impact medically of various feed combinations on starved horses, and there are many others available with an online search. (I personally do not encourage starting with rich alfalfa because of digestive issues. If you’ve fed alfalfa to a horse unaccustomed to it, you know they can get severe diarrhea.)

  5. Kris

    Great story, and thank you for the before and after photos. It will be great to watch Stan’s progress.

    I also love that you mention he likes trail rides. Thoroughbreds can make excellent trail horses. They are often over looked for trail riding and western events because people assume they are only good for English disciplines. The best trail horse I’ve ever ridden is an OTTB. They are safe, reliable, and can carry larger riders easily. For many OTTBs that have arthritis or past injuries that prevent them from competing in jumping or dressage, trail riding can be an excellent retirement career for them.

  6. Delrene

    Thank you so much for this article and your update about the owner. Sad how someone who wanted to do right by his horse and then the horse got caught up in a horrible situation. Thank you so much for helping him and the others. He looks terrific and sounds like a great War Horse candidate. He sure looks happy now.

  7. Lisa Molloy

    The owner/breeder is not to blame in any way – he donated him to a TB charity with a donation and Stan was one of 20 horses adopted outo one individual. They ended up in a starvation situation and some died. Other TB charities stepped in and took the other horses and Stan came to me via ReRun. When his owner became aware of what had happened, he immediately contacted us and also sent more money for Stan – he did his part. It was others that let Stan and his friends down.

    1. Jo-Anne Ward

      Thanks for making that clear. It’s fantastic that Stan made it back so well, and that his breeder sent more money for his upkeep.
      Good to know, that’s for sure! I cannot even begin to describe how
      angry it makes me to see any horse or OTTB starved or slaughter bound. I hope those people who let Stan and his buddies end up like that faced charges.

  8. Jo-Anne Ward

    Such a cool horse with a not so cool breeder/owner! One of those
    Ahhh, he’s just livestock… $$$… type of thinkers.

  9. Jon

    What a noble beast! I do not understand how someone can do that. It makes me ill to see any animal treated in such a manner. We would be welcome in my barn. We love OTTB’s!

  10. Carmel

    Great story! Keep ’em coming! Good to know there are some wonderful people out there willing to take the time to help these horses. Thanks Lisa and thanks Susan for bringing us these stories of hope and inspiration.

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