Dreamer’s blue ribbons help save ex-racehorses

Photo by SpringTree Photography

Every time Dustin’s Dreamer collects a blue ribbon, his victories help some other less fortunate racehorse get the chance to live a better life.

Through a Blue Ribbon Fund established by his owner Fran Burns, a donation is made to Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue, whenever he is victorious in the show ring.

And thus far, four racehorses at risk for slaughter have been rescued by donations made in his name.

Angel Acres founder and president Jo Deibel credits Dustin Dreamer’s Blue Ribbon Fund with providing transportation costs and other fees for a horse recently injured at a New York track, and who is arriving at the facility this week.

And of Burns, she says: “Fran Burns is a relentless crusader for the Thoroughbred horse. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty.”

It hardly started out this way, Burns says. All she wanted was to buy a nice horse to take on trail rides in her retirement years.

Race name: Token Gesture
New name: Dustin’s Dreamer
Sire: Saucy Token
Dam: Let Me Do Sum Good
Foal date: March 7, 2002
She got wind of a gelding named Token Gesture who just wasn’t cutting it as a racehorse Pimlico, and shortly after, found herself getting her 11-acre farm in Monkton, Maryland ready for the arrival of the new three-year-old.

“When a friend suggested I get a three-year-old racehorse, I remember thinking, ‘Yeah, right.’ But, I was told he was dead quiet, so much that he actually never raced. Because he was just too slow,” she says.

Over the course of a couple of years, she realized Dustin’s Dreamer really was as quiet as promised. And more surprising, he possessed a wonderful aptitude for jumping. He was so good in fact, that Burns decided that someone more talented than she was needed to show him the ropes.

She called in A-Circuit rider Jennifer Marshall Radebaugh who taught the horse to handle a course with style. “Jennifer worked miracles with him,” Burns says. “Part of the secret of his success in the show ring was finding someone with a lot of experience retraining Thoroughbreds. She changed his bit and taught him to engage his hind end rather than bearing down on his front legs.”

Dustin's Dreamer at a recent show

After his retraining, 16-year-old rider Abbey Margiotta took it from there. She has ridden him successfully in numerous competitions. This year he is ranked No. 1 in the Children’s Hunter division and No. 2 in Equitation in the Baltimore County Horse Show Association standings.

Last Saturday the pair won two blue ribbons, and $40 in donations was sent to the blue ribbon fund.

Burns became associated with Angel Acres nearly five years ago when she began volunteering in different capacities. But it wasn’t enough for Burns. She wanted to find a unique way to contribute to horses at risk for slaughter, and do it in a positive way. What better way than to send money when her own off-track Thoroughbred won a competition?

“Dreamer has become a great ambassador for Angel Acres and for the breed,” she says, noting that he is one more horse proving that an ex-racehorse can be successful after track life. “He represents those horses who are not as lucky as him, the ones who have sadly gone to slaughter, or are in danger of it.”

And sometimes, just sometimes, Dustin’s Dreamer’s hard work helps send a horse in danger to a safer haven.

(To watch a video of Dustin’s Dreamer please click here.)

10 responses to “Dreamer’s blue ribbons help save ex-racehorses”

  1. Jo Deibel

    The Angel Acres gang just loves Dreamer!!! Big thanks to Fran for establishing this fund and thanks to her gang for making it happen :o)

  2. Jacqueline King

    I had the pleasure of spending a day with Dustin’s Dreamer and his owner, rider, trainer, shipper, and rider’s mom at a recent horse show. The horse is a real charmer, and he and his people are wonderful to know. That day, Dreamer won another $60 for Angel Acres horses. Thank you, everybody, for all that you are doing to “play it forward.” You are the best!

  3. Louise Ferro Martin

    Another lovely story! This is a dream come true and a beautiful way to help the Off Track Thoroughbreds! Thank you Dustin and your “dream!” Loved the video 🙂 Thank you Susan! I so look forward to everyone of your blogs….

  4. Janet Rothstein

    Wow, that is a great article Fran, Dreamer is a lucky horse to have such a caring, nurturing person in his stable!

  5. Sandy Gonyea

    What a great idea! Awesome article.It has got me thinking on ways I can do more to help.

  6. Blue Blue Sea

    Wonderful article! I love it and that picture is too cute.

  7. fran

    Thanks so much for the wonderful article on my horse Dreamer…. I forgot to mention that he is also #2 in the Baltimore County Horse Show Association Thoroughbred Division Standings for the season thus far.. A HUGE thank you to them for establishing this division for the OTTBS!!

  8. Natalie Keller Reinert

    “She changed his bit and taught him to engage his hind end rather than bearing down on his front legs.”

    I like it! It’s so important to understand their past – run with your weight on your forehand, bearing down on the bit! – in order to give them a strong future.

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