The flashy, full-of-himself gelding named Green Cat is no Zenyatta, not even close.
But after serving as workout buddy to the super star filly, who won 19 straight and electrified a huge fan base following with her special “dance,” a bit of the stardust may have rubbed off.
For when Green Cat enters his paddock, it’s as though he’s imagining the camera flashes and squeals of delight once aimed at his majestic friend, and accordingly, he prances.
With his nose in the air, his flowing tail held high, Green Cat looks like a horse who doesn’t know he is not a superstar.
“He definitely has a lot of attitude,” says Ali Dacher, executive director of racehorse charity CANTER California. “If you watch him in his sales video, you can see he has a real presence about him, as if he is saying he’s wonderful.”
Wonderful. An exceptional mover. Great brain. And for sale!
Green Cat was donated to CANTER California in April 2012 after he was retired from racing. Because he had a prior injury when he arrived and slight swelling was detected in his deep digital flexor, he was sent to the Equine Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. for rehab and retraining.
His regimen included hours of walking, followed by work on a high-speed treadmill. As he grew fitter, the intensity of his workout was increased accordingly, says center Manager Michlynn Sterling.
With a workout tailored down to his every heartbeat, Green Cat was exercised in an aerobic environment that built muscle and stamina while maintaining a steady heart rate of 130 beats-per-minute, she explains.
Many CANTER horses have come through the center, Sterling adds, but Green Cat has been a real standout.
“He’s very fancy with really neat markings,” she notes. “And he’s a very personable horse, who really likes people and is in to everything.”
Having watched him work under saddle, Sterling and others at the center feel he would do best with a competitive home, where his “busy personality” and desire to work can engage him either in the Eventing or Jumping disciplines.
Back at CANTER, progress reports always come in describing Green Cat, his personality, scope and ethic, in the most glowing of terms, Dacher says.
“The Equine Center says he was the easiest horse to train on the treadmill because he’s really smart and picks up things quickly,” Dacher says. “And he’s got exceptional movement and a great brain. He uses his body well, he has a lot of action in his movements, and would also do well at dressage.”
All who have seen him work agree he’s the real deal, a competitive horse just waiting to be turned loose in the sport horse realm.
Just don’t tell him he’s not Zenyatta!
*For more information about Green Cat, please visit CANTER California’s website.