Prodigioso, the Thoroughbred ex-racehorse who was starved, blinded, and abandoned in the Florida Everglades before his rescue, was awarded 4th place in a model class this month, with judges deciding against penalizing the pretty chestnut for the physical scars of his past.
Though his right eye is permanently disfigured after it was blinded somehow in Florida, the survivor of starvation and abuse now better known more as The Everglades Horse than as Prodigioso, was awarded high marks at the Nov. 15 Royal Winter Fair in Ontario for his good conformation and wonderful expression.
New name: Pipe Dream
Sire: Southern Leader
Dam: Spirited Affair
Foal date: March 14, 2007“Despite everything he went through, God was smiling on him that his legs came through without a mark,” says his owner Marilyn lee of Sherwood Farm in Ontario. “He doesn’t have a mark on his legs, aside from the area behind the pasterns where the ropes were. But that’s not obvious. And the judges chose not to penalize him for his (blind) eye.”
Not only did the animal with the beautiful expression beat 10 to 12 other horses who had not seen such hardship as he had, but he also placed 6th in the Hunter Suitability class.
Every time Lee takes the good-natured horse to a show, she hangs up a laminated copy of his story (please see the original story in Off-Track Thoroughbreds here), near his stall. And every time, the story of the horse brings tears and admiration to passersby who stop to take note of a Thoroughbred who spent eight months recovering from wounds and starvation.
Few would have expected Prodigioso to have turned out as well as he did if they had seen the emaciated, cut, blinded animal as he was found in the sweltering July sun, in 2012. Dumped on a stretch of road slicing through sugarcane fields in the Homestead region of South Florida, the terrified animal was withering in the sun, tethered to cement blocks.
Discovered by police, he was immediately taken to the South Florida SPCA and then turned over to Thoroughbred charity Florida TRAC for intensive care. After eight months of painstaking care to rebuild the horse mentally and physically, and help him to cope with his right-eye blindness, Lee offered to adopt the gelding and bring him to Ontario for a new life.
Since he arrived in 2013, Prodigioso has been blossoming as a show horse. Possessing a rocking-horse canter and a long, low hunter style of going, he is well on his way to an A circuit career, Lee says.
And the model class and hunter competition this month, as well as a successful Florida season at HITS, are a prelude to a big career, Lee predicts.
“He’ll be showing in the A circuit this summer. He has a show career ahead of him,” she says. ♥