‘What’s a horse like her doing here?’

Banker's Heiress had a body score of between 1 and 2 when she arrived at Wishmaker Stable in Dover, N.H.

Banker’s Heiress had a body score of between 1 and 2 when she arrived at Wishmaker Stable in Dover, N.H.

On an August 2012 night when Banker’s Heiress arrived without fanfare at a sprawling animal rescue in New Hampshire, Lisa Healy and her husband John did a double take.

And they thought, “What is she doing here?”

It wasn’t that “here” was so bad. The Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester, N.H. was home to a mixed breed herd of 70 horses, and the Healy’s spent many fulfilling hours tossing hay to the motley crew.

But the bright chestnut Thoroughbred mare stood out like a peacock, says Healy who notes, “The first time I saw her, I couldn’t believe that a horse of her obvious quality would end up at a rescue; She was so beautiful; She had such a presence. All I could say was, what’s a horse like her doing here?”

Banker’s Heiress
Barn name: Goldie
Sire: Banker’s Gold
Dam: Original Heiress
Foal date: May 3, 2001
Earnings: $74,903 in 40 starts
Though that question was never fully answered, because Banker’s Heiress was said to have passed through five different owners between the time of her last race at Suffolk Downs in October 2007, and the night she wound up at the New Hampshire charity,

In those four years, Banker’s Heiress, who they nicknamed Goldie, is rumored to have bounced from barn to barn in the New England area, possibly selling in a dispersal sale at one facility, before ultimately winding up like a ragamuffin at the doorstep of a charity.

In 2011, after she was discovered starved, neglected and standing painfully on two abscessed front feet, the former racehorse and great-granddaughter of Secretariat was taken in out of pity by Wishmaker Farm in Dover, N.H. And shortly after that, the once-lovely race mare became the poster horse for one of those ubiquitous social media fundraisers. “Her life was at an all-time low at this point,” Healy says. “Her foot had become infected from her bad living conditions, and her body score was between a 1 and a 2, according to vet records, which also reported she was developing laminitis in all four feet.”

After a year of TLC, she was restored.

After a year of TLC, she was restored.

Slowly, the hardworking folks at Wishmaker Farm brought Goldie back to her former self. After raising $4,000 in donations, her foot was operated on by Seacoast Equine of Stratham, N.H., and her lameness issues resolved.

But the mare wasn’t done with her travels just yet.

She bounced one more time, to the Live and Let Live Farm, where the Healy’s discovered her.

The longtime horse lovers were not in the market for a new horse, emphatically not, Healy says. With one horse in their family already, they were content with their volunteer work until the night Banker’s Heiress arrived.

“We’ve always loved Thoroughbreds. My husband grew up in New Jersey and rode them as a kid,” she says, noting that it was natural for them to gravitate toward her.

“We started helping to take care of her after she arrived, taking her on hand walks, and feeding her,” she says. “We kept telling each other we wouldn’t get attached.”

John and Lisa Healy decided to give Banker's Heiress a forever home after paying off their mortgage.

John and Lisa Healy decided to give Banker’s Heiress a forever home after paying off their mortgage.

Then when a friend at their barn, who knew the mare’s backstory, told them of her brush with death and her years spent bouncing between homes, the couple quickly decided they would be the ones to end her sad journey from home to home.

As fate would have it, the Healy’s had made the final mortgage payment on their own home, and with the newfound security, and additional financial breathing room, quickly decided there was no horse more deserving of their help than the beautiful Thoroughbred.

“We felt so bad that she ended up in a rescue. She was too nice a horse to be sitting there,” she says. “We were afraid she’d wind up, somehow, going back to a life where she was passed around from owner to owner, and we couldn’t let that happen.”

18 responses to “‘What’s a horse like her doing here?’”

  1. Constance Cook Mogull

    Thank you all so much for caring and passing on the facts about the fate of so many of these gorgeous horses. I never knew of slaughter and the horrible endings of so many. I did dog and cat rescue for many, many years and it is painful to know that almost all the animals that share our world are not really spared in the exploitation that is so common. It seems that breeding whether planned or random is out of control and must be addressed to make a dent in the problem that goes on and on.

  2. Susan Samtak

    Thank you for taking her into your family.

  3. beagleland

    THANK YOU ….

  4. Kim

    I volunteer at Live and Let Live and I remember all of the hard work Lisa and John did for Goldie. They really believed in her. You can’t tell from the pictures but Goldie is huge! Lisa and John were always at the farm tending to her many health issues. It seemed like Goldie had abscess after abscess. They would be there for her, soaking her feet, and buying her boots. They really love her. They also adopted the other mare in the picture, her name is Paris. We love Lisa and John! They also adopted a gelding named Buddy from Live and Let Live.

  5. Cary

    No better a pair of horse lovers to find her a forever home!

  6. Kim Ely

    These stories outrage me and give me hope at the same time. I dream of going to auctions or wherever else these neglected and forgotten horses are, and scooping them all up and taking them home to restore them to the beautiful, healthy animals they once were. Thank you Lisa and John for being part of a family that sees the need and takes action. You are wonderful people!!!

  7. Mary Carroll

    To Mr and Mrs Healy,

    The kindness and mercy you showed to that beautiful gift of a horse will be repaid tenfold. My heart breaks over and over when I read these stories until I get to the part where some wonderful folks step in to save these precious trusting animals betrayed by mankind. This time those folks were you. Thank you. I live in Mass if you ever need some help.

  8. Catherine

    What a lovely mare and what a lucky girl! Thank you for giving her a soft place to land. Unfortunately this is common in all racing, I have an OT Arabian and while he was very lucky to have not been exposed to these events, since I acquired him the plight of the industry has made me become involved.

  9. G

    Glad to see another Thoroughbred get a permanent home. No more bouncing around from one barn to another. Goldie looks fabulous. Keep up the good work. Nice to see the wonderful transition from neglected to being loved and cared for by hard working people.

  10. Sally

    I have the gelding version of her, also related to Secretariat. I look at her face, then at the picture of Danny next to me, and it’s the same bright copper color, same soft, intelligent eyes. He has the skinny strip of white with same nose shape. He was shipped to slaughter but caught by a rescue. He became mine for $1 when no one wanted him. Danny has also ended his journey with me. Thanks for loving her.

    1. Ceci

      I am out in Indiana (But I am from New Hampshire ironically) but you just described my rescue 20 year old mare to a tee…and she is …a great grand daughter of Secretariat also! The presence, the copper color, soft intelligent eyes…yes, I saved her too – spent months of daily TLC, care & vet care to get her back to health but as I trotted the outdoor ring tonight on her…life is grand. Love her and love anyone that rescues these sweethearts.

  11. Maria Gold

    Thanks for taking this horse into your family. I galloped horses at the track for years. It’s so nice to hear that some will find a great home like yours. To often racehorses are thrown away after their career at the track is over. I wish more breeders and owners would take more responsibility in taking care of their welfare after they leave the track. Thanks again for having such a big heart, she looks fabulous!

  12. Rebecca Hill

    Yes, Thank you so very much LIsa & John for your.. she looks so beautiful in her (after adoption pic) and I am sure feels much better, too!! So you have a wonderful & loving mare now!! I sure wish more of them got this type of home after racing; like she did! Keep up the great job and keep Sally informed as Banker’s Heiress progresses thru the rest of her… LIFE!!!

  13. Stephanie Morse

    “We kept telling each other we wouldn’t get attached.” Glad you got attached. 🙂

  14. Linda whelton

    You are Angels sent from Heaven. Thank you so much for stepping up and taking care of this beautiful horse. We need more people like you too in this world… God Bless you both.

  15. ShirleyVH

    So nice to hear and see a happy ending. Beautiful mare. Raced the life out of her, didn’t thery.

  16. Tairaterces

    Thank you Lisa and John Healy…..

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