In a flurry of snow, a new horse arrives

Kinfolk Moonshine's headshot was not very glamorous. But still ... there was something about him.

Kinfolk Moonshine’s headshot was not very glamorous. But still … there was something about him.

Stepping off the trailer into a swirl of snow from a storm that had threatened all day, the ex-racehorse emerged through rising steam as though descending from Mt. Olympus.

In a flash Kimberly Compton DiCostanzo decided to name her new horse Zeus.

Called Kinney up until that moment, the Thoroughbred got a new name, new home, and future career on New Year’s Eve last year. At the same time, he added a warm, soft presence to a barn recently bereft of DiCostantzo’s eventing champion Midnight, who succumbed to colic just days before.

So when her 22-year-old champion died on Dec. 28, DiCostanzo started looking immediately for a new horse.

“I needed to get a new horse for my mare Topaz,” she says. “The night Midnight got sick, she was inconsolable; she was panicking herself, pacing and spinning in her stall.”

While her veterinarian tranquilized her healthy horse to prevent injury, DiCostanzo immediately started the search. After contacting several Thoroughbred agencies, she found her new horse through CANTER New England.

Race name: Kinfolk Moonshine
New name: Resilient
Barn name: Zeus (was Kinney)
Sire: Slew Gin Fizz
Dam: Parental Uproar
Age: 5
Seeing a picture of the horse looking a little forlorn, she read a few comments about his large gait, warm eye, and eventing potential, and bought him.

“In the pictures he looked like he didn’t have much life to him, but for some reason I was drawn to him anyway,” she says. “He was being fostered in Vermont and I thought about driving up to see him, but I decided to grab him, sight unseen.

“I was shocked! I’d never done anything like this before, but it worked out well.”

Soon after he arrived in the barn, life started to return to normal. Topaz settled back down, and DiCostanzo

got going on her new “project” in March.

Focusing on rebalancing him through flat work, she is concentrating on getting him to swing through his back and build his top line. And Zeus is demonstrating to her just how quick his mind really is.

“He is far too smart!” she says. “He’s unfazed by everything … he needs to be challenged and thinking.”

Kinfolk Moonshine, purchased off the track from Suffolk Downs, arrives to meet his new Eventing mom, KC

Kinfolk Moonshine, purchased off the track from Suffolk Downs, arrives to meet his new Eventing mom, KC

One rainy day when he was unhappily cooped up in his stall, DiCostanzo decided to take his mind off his confinement by teaching him tricks. “He learned to bow, to give kisses and to ‘paw for gold’ and he did each one in about 10 minutes,” she says.

A dedicated horsewoman from age 11, DiCostanzo and Midnight were ranked 22nd in the country for three-day eventing at the height of their career together.

“He gave me everything, this horse,” she recalls. “When he died, I was amazed at how many lives he touched. I got letters and cards and artwork—there was such an outpouring of support it was overwhelming.”

With her new Thoroughbred her goals are not so lofty. Rather than being driven to “climb the levels” she is going slowly, enjoying the ride. “When I was younger I was in a hurry. Now I’m enjoying the process.”

16 responses to “In a flurry of snow, a new horse arrives”

  1. Jane

    Such a great story! KC has so much to offer her horses, and she does not ever take for granted how much the horses’ give back to her. TBs make delightful companion animals & are so athletic, they can excel in every discipline.

  2. Arliss

    What a beautiful story, beautifully told! It is so amazing how things worked out for Zeus and KC to come together when they both needed each other so much. I wish them a wonderful, happy future together.

  3. Aislinn

    The story was beautifully told, and beautiful it is.

    I too have had the pleasure of meeting the handsome Zeus, and he has captured my heart.

    It is a joy to see the bond that he and KC have formed. They’re both so in tune with one another, reassuring the other that everything is going to be just fine. It’s magical.

  4. Karma Kitaj

    Hi, KC,
    I read your story here with pleasure. I can just feel how you bond with your horses and what a compelling thing to do – to buy, train, and love these ex-racehorses.
    I hope you’ll find the story of Carol Kozlowski, 3-day eventer, in my new book, Women Riders Who Could.. and Did, inspirational. I certainly did as I traveled around the country interviewing a dozen top level equestriennes in all different disciplines. Enjoy the book 🙂

    1. KC DiCostanzo

      Karma, I was a working student with Carol one summer! She is one of my most favorite mentors, and someone I greatly admire. Small world!

  5. Bev

    Great Story Thankyou!!

  6. kathy shaver

    As usual, I’m teary eyed while reading this beautiful story, but they are happy tears.

    1. Susan Salk

      I can’t stop thinking about what a good, beautiful home Zeus got because he was spotted by CANTER and fostered long enough for KC to find him. Now look at him! And what a beautiful barn and pasture he now has!

  7. Catherine Evans

    What a lovely and moving story. Fate was obviously at play to ensure Zeus and KC crossed paths. What a great article, complete with a happy ending.

  8. KC DiCostanzo

    Susan, thank you for telling our story so beautifully! I can only sum it up by saying that Zeus and I saved each other – him from an uncertain future, and me from falling into a chasm of grief. I think we’re both lucky to have each other, and that’s made our bond stronger.

    Susan, you have a new fan and loyal reader. Thanks again!

    1. Susan Salk

      What horse person doesn’t understand how it feels to be reconnected to childhood (childlike) joy by a special horse? As an aside, I love the black and white photo of the two of you last January, and also of the one of you two on the flat. The pictures are very artfully done! Your husband must be a photographer. 🙂

  9. Cynthia Doran

    What a beautiful story about a beautiful horse. I have had the pleasure of seeing this Thoroughbred in the flesh. It’s amazing to see how quickly the bond between KC and Zeus has grown.

  10. Ellen O.

    I’m so pleased to know that he is doing well…and to all I would say “use a little imagination!” when you come to the track or see a horse right out of training. It’s amazing how they blossom!

    1. Susan Salk

      Somebody else had your “vision.” They seem so happy together.

  11. Wayne Darden

    Great story and a lovely ending.. blessings to all.

  12. Kim Rigolini


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