Following the rumored existence of the proverbial “good horse” like a trail of breadcrumbs, Gayle and Bill Pruitt arrived at the stable door of ragtag racehorse Texas Honor.
Looking not too well after a hard-knocking season, Texas, who reportedly spent time before and after races standing in ice, was nursing an abscessed hoof.
“He looked pathetic,” Pruitt says. “But I thought he was the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen.”
So on a November day 18 years ago, a couple of city folk who had eagerly abandoned urban life to put down roots on a patch of country outside Fort Worth, took a flier with the docile 8-year-old bay.
“I had no background with horses before that,” Pruitt says. “I was 38 and I had always wanted a horse, and my husband, who had them as a kid, wanted one too. We were total novices.”
With no fence around their paddocks, and no horse trailer for transport, they relied upon the kindness of strangers to safely ferry their new gelding to a temporary stall at a race-training facility near Trinity Meadows Race Track.
And after he safely arrived, they put their complete trust in an animal they knew nothing about.
Sire: Double Line
Dam: Date with Honor
Foal date: Feb. 23, 1988“I used to take him out to the training track and ride him around, and people told me I was supposed to ride in the opposite direction that horses race in” to discourage the ex-racehorse from bolting, she says. “But I didn’t. I rode him all around the track, and he was so smooth that all I had to do was smooch to get him to go from a trot to a slow lope, and when I asked him to slow down, he slowed down.”
On the training track, horsemen regaled Pruitt with stories about her gelding. “He was like a celebrity at that barn. They all remembered him from the track, standing in ice buckets before and after every race.”
And on trail rides near the Pruitt’s new property, Texas attracted admirers a-plenty who marveled at his quiet, obliging demeanor.
“One day this horse went flying by us on the trail, and his rider was screaming. I overheard someone saying, ‘I told her not to ride that stupid Thoroughbred.’ So there I was riding Tex, a Thoroughbred, and I had to speak up,” she says, noting that there were some surprised glances of admiration coming Tex’s way after that. “I told them I was riding a Thoroughbred who used to be a racehorse, and they couldn’t believe it!”
In the 18 years since Pruitt and Texas came together, her scrapbook of happy memories has grown to overflowing.
On her gelding’s 25th birthday last Feb. 23, the racehorse’s original owners and family drove nearly six hours to help celebrate the milestone. They brought Tex’s baby pictures, and spent hours feeding him carrots and rhapsodizing about what a good horse he had been.
After racing seven years, and getting knocked around some—as a 2-year-old Texas sustained and overcame a slab fracture in his knee— the scruffy racehorse was always game for a race, always trying hard, his old owner told Pruitt.
And since coming off the track, he has transferred his eagerness to please onto Pruitt.
“For a first horse, and one so trustworthy, he spoiled me. I never worried about him doing anything crazy, Pruitt says. “He truly is the smartest horse I’ve ever been around.”
11 responses to “Texas the T’bred turns city folk ‘country’”
What a story of success! It is a privilege to know the Pruitts and Tex. They are compassionate about all of their animals, but Tex will always hold a very special place in their hearts.
We have been blessed to know Gayle and Bill and their warmth, kindness, big hearts and empathy and are proud to call them part of our Deer Creek Stables family! All of the horses that they have adopted and owned over the years have been amazingly lucky to have had Gayle and Bill as their guardians!
Oh what a great story Gayle! You have immortalized Tex for years to come. Your kindness and compassion for OTTB has opened my eyes and has shown me what fabulous
horses they can be in their second careers.. We love “Prying King” and know he will only continue to make us all proud! We are so thankful for out big guy!
Gayle,Bill & Texas,are so blessed to have each other.it is an honor to have known the complete family for11-12 years.It has been an HONOR . DANA RUTH McCOY
Tex couldn’t have gone to a better home! He has the best owners!
Texas Honor is such a sweetheart. I’m so grateful for having gotten to be around him often the last 14 years.
He’s been an obvious keeper! Tex speaks to the power of the Thoroughbred with his wise and graceful way of accepting change and knowing a good family when he found them!
I love this story – this is truly an OTTB with great character and a very handsome face as well! My OTTBs are all sweet and careful and kind – just like this guy!
This IS such a heartwarming story! Thank you to the Pruitt’s for giving Tex the retirement life he deserves!
House of Vaughan agrees with you, Marti. Bless Texas Honor and his connections.
Another heartwarming Thoroughbred story. Thank you, Gayle and Bill Pruitt for owning Texas, loving and caring for him and giving him such a wonderful life after his racing career was over. You are as special as is your “good horse”. Bless you.