Rescue mare gives birth to first foal, full circle

Silver and Smoke, a mare rescued in South Florida two years ago, gave birth to her first foal last month in New York.

Silver and Smoke, a mare rescued in South Florida two years ago, gave birth to her first foal last month in New York.

A Thoroughbred mare rescued two years ago from a squalid farm in South Florida, where she nearly died of starvation, gave birth last month to her first foal.

Silver and Smoke, an OTTB mare saved by the South Florida SPCA and the Miami-Dade police from a ragtag facility in Miami Gardens, Fla., and subsequently taken back by her original breeder Danzel Brendemuehl, gave birth Jan. 19 to a bay filly sired by graded stakes winner Majesticperfection.

“She foaled very easily, very professionally, and accepted her foal right away,” Brendemuehl says. “It was wonderful. We were so impressed with her professionalism, that we’ve decided to breed her again.”

Silver and Smoke
Sire: Mountbrook
Dam: Quiddich
Foal date: March 5, 2010
The longtime breeder, who nursed Silver and Smoke back to health after rescue in 2014 says she and partner Sandra Lombardo of Royal Thoroughbred Racing in Freedom, N.Y., decided to breed the Thoroughbred to continue the line, which would have ended with her. “She’s the strongest mare we have, and she’s such a kind mare. It’s a great story. She’ll never be offered for sale again, and will be with us forever,” she adds.

The longtime breeder stepped up two years ago and drove out to the SPCA to get her mare when she heard that the animal had been found. Unsure the mare would survive, Brendemuehl placed the gray Thoroughbred in a front paddock at Classic Bloodstock Farm in Florida, and took pains to help the animal regain approximately 300 pounds. It was a personal quest for Brendemuehl to restore the animal’s health.

She’d always promised to take back a horse she’d bred, no questions asked, and went so far as to affix her contact information, with that promise, on every horse’s paperwork. So when Silver and Smoke turned up in a raid the way she did, Brendemuehl made it her mission to not only restore the horse’s health, but to provide her with a wonderful life.

“We’ll keep her forever,” Brendemuehl says.

Please see earlier stories here:

http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2014/08/05/locked-in-tbs-couldnt-lift-heads-in-stalls/

http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2014/08/21/breeder-takes-starved-t-bred-home-in-tears/

Therapy horse helps patients perceive selves

Code Forty, a foster horse from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, works as a therapy horse with Suzanne Carter.

Code Forty, a foster horse from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, works as a therapy horse with Suzanne Carter.

A bay mare who bucks when she’s ridden and has an addiction to windsucking—an act thought to get horses high— has brought hope and healing to therapy patients who seek her guidance in their journey toward wellness.

Code Forty, an off-track Thoroughbred fostered seven years ago from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) has hit her stride, not as a sport horse or companion animal, but as a bona-fide therapist’s “assistant” at Unity Wholeness Center in Denver, Colo.

“Horses are relationship masters,” says Suzanne Carter, a licensed professional counselor, and proprietor of the Colorado center. “Because they’re prey animals, they’re motivated to be connected to their herd. And because of this, they have an amazing ability to know who’s safe and who’s not. They’re very tuned in to nonverbal cues, and I tell my patients they’re like a thousand-pound mirror.”

Code Forty
Barn name: Harmony
Sire: Boon’s Mill
Dam: Landmark Decision, by Fifth Marine
Foal date: April 24, 1999
After welcoming Code Forty into her life and practice, she renamed the horse Harmony to better reflect the mare’s innate ability with people. And together, the pair has helped approximately 300 patients over the years.

Working in sessions ranging from one to two hours, people face their fears, their addictions, and past traumas while working with Code 40 in a controlled setting. Motivated by internal goals to face a range of troubling issues affecting their lives, patients report that the little OTTB has helped them access feelings, thoughts and intuitions that were otherwise inaccessible, she says.

“I was working with a man recovering from drugs. And he went to get Harmony, but she was over by a fence cribbing, or wind-sucking. Her face was contorted and she actually looked ugly,” Carter says, noting that the horse’s addiction reflected symmetry with the patient’s own drug habit.

Code Forty enjoys some "me time" with a furry friend.

Code Forty enjoys some “me time” with a furry friend.

Seeing a horse with addiction inspired the patient to discuss the animal’s situation, and in doing, finding words that could in some ways describe his own, she says.

Patients when seeking to relate to the horse, and to verbalize what they’re experiencing, often choose words that reflect their deeper experiences in life. “In dealing with horses they discover a new way of dealing with their own issues,” she notes.

Carter adopted Harmony seven years ago after becoming certified in equine-assisted therapy. At age 53, the longtime therapist awakened to her own desire to have a horse in her life. Which was a surprise, she says, noting up until then, she’d never even thought about horses or horse ownership.

Shortly after deciding to incorporate horses into her life and practice, she began searching the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s website. Almost immediately she was drawn to Harmony.

“I don’t know what it was, but my eye just kept touching her photo. There was something indescribable about her,” she says. And since shipping the mare from Kentucky to Colorado, not a day has gone by when she hasn’t been delighted with her equine friend and partner.

“Horses are relationship masters,” she says. “They help people learn to reconnect with themselves … and I think, for me, the horse’s true purpose is to help humans.”

Tiznow son reunited with seller; a big surprise

Flexnow, an 8-year-old son of Tiznow, was reunited with Britt Wadsworth yesterday. She sold him as a 2-year-old, and always wanted him back.

Flexnow, an 8-year-old son of Tiznow, was reunited with Britt Wadsworth yesterday. She sold him as a 2-year-old, and always wanted him back.

An eight-month mission to obtain and return a majestic Thoroughbred gelding to a woman who sold the animal six years ago, but carried a torch for him ever since, ended yesterday with tears of happy surprise as the statuesque horse came walking back into the life of Britt Wadsworth.

Thoroughbred gelding Flexnow, a son of Hall of Fame racehorse and dual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, was delivered to Wadsworth at the Saratoga, N.Y. offices of equine hospital Rood & Riddle, where she now works, after a yeoman’s effort by Wadsworth’s boyfriend Sean Mahoney, and their friend, pinhooking business partner and fellow horseman Danzel Clarke Brendemuehl.

“I was working at Rood & Riddle when Dr. (Travis) Tull came to tell me a lameness case had shipped in. He told me (the horse) was walking a little funny, and could I come out and look at him, and maybe give my opinion,” says Wadsworth, a horseman who rides for famous trainer Shug McGaughay in the summer, and who formerly sold yearlings and 2-year-old Thoroughbreds professionally.

Flexnow
Sire: Tiznow
Dam: Fleas Louise, by Storm Cat
Foal date: Feb. 8, 2008
Earnings: $77,151 in 29 starts
Moments later, Wadsworth accompanied Dr. Tull to a turnout area, and focused her attention on the animal’s gait. Watching him walk and seeing nothing “off” about him, her puzzlement soon turned to shock when she lifted her gaze up and studied the big ears and the handsome face from her memories.

“I was very surprised,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it. I’m looking at him, and looking at him and then he walked right over and buried his head in my arms.”

Her boyfriend, who for years had become familiar with the horse from an old picture that Wadsworth had kept, slipped from a hiding spot and photographed the reunion that had taken months to bring to fruition.

Those few minutes on a muddy, puddled parking lot in Saratoga brought nearly as much joy to the man who spearheaded the effort after listening to his girlfriend talk about the long-lost horse.

“When we moved in together a few years back, she brought with her this picture of her sitting on Flexnow’s back, while he’s lying down with his legs tucked under him. She told me his name and that she loved him, and that she hoped one day she could get him back,” Mahoney says. “She kept track of his races and about a year ago, I noticed he was running for less money. So that’s when I started to think of ways of getting him back.”

Flexnow arrives at Rood & Riddle in Saratoga, N.Y. Thursday to be reunited with his past owner, Britt Wadsworth.

Flexnow arrives at Rood & Riddle in Saratoga, N.Y. Thursday to be reunited with his past owner, Britt Wadsworth. Photo by Sean Mahoney

Soon after, he enlisted Brendemuehl’s help in the effort to surprise his girlfriend with her favorite horse.

Brendemuehl jumped in with both feet, contacting the horse’s connections. Early enthusiasm was soon dampened however, when the horse’s trainer indicated he wasn’t ready to let the horse go. After winning his last race at Churchill Downs, Flexnow had shipped to Arkansas and was prepping to run at Oaklawn when hopes were momentarily dashed of getting him back.

“I started watching the races and thought that in the worst case, we could pull the money together and try to claim him,” he says. “And sure enough, he won his last race. I was devastated.”

And then came a change of heart.

This old photo of Flexnow and Britt inspired the all-out effort to retire the OTTB with his former owner.

This old photo of Flexnow and Britt inspired the all-out effort to retire the OTTB with his former owner.

Flexnow’s trainer Ron Moquett contacted them and offered to give them the horse, provided they promised not to race him.

And a mad-dash scramble soon began. Brendemuehl contacted a shipper, found temporary stalling between Arkansas and New York, and even Wadsworth’s colleagues at Rood & Riddle got in on it.

“We had text messages going back and forth and at the end of each one, we’d say, ‘Delete this text!’ because we didn’t want Britt to find out. It was so much fun,” Brendemuehl says. “And people everywhere stepped up to help us.”

Sally Thomas of Kentucky opened her barn to the horse, and shipper Jerry Price drove all night sneaking the beautiful bay Thoroughbred to Rood & Riddle, where, too, “everyone was in on it,” Brendemuehl says.

Still bemused that on a fine day in February, the horse whose picture she carried for years was standing right next to her, Wadsworth was nearly at a loss for words.

“He never turned out to be a great racehorse, but we always had a neat bond,” she says. “He was the one horse who was always looking for me when I came into the barn. And after we sold him, I never forgot him.”