“Hey, I’ll give that horse a lift,” were the fateful words of horse-loving Ohioan Belinda Ransom-Davis who spotted a ragamuffin T-bred advertised on the Facebook page OTTB Connect last November, and was impelled to help the needy animal along his way to a new owner.
The horse, Vow to Fly, looked so thin and careworn when Ransom-Davis read his ad that when she realized she lived an easy drive from both the horse and his prospective buyer, she offered to hitch up her two-horse trailer and deliver the dark bay beauty to his new home.
But in the way that horse deals have a way of taking unanticipated twists and turns, the original buyer backed out, and Ransom-Davis and her husband Paul decided that though they could ill afford to take on yet another horse—they already had seven—they decided that somehow, they’d find a way.
Vow to Fly
Sire: Broken Vow
Dam: Flying Red Jet
Foal date: March 29, 2006
Earnings: $49,000, 21 startsAs she updated followers of the horse’s story about their decision to keep the horse, and as a bounty of donations, blankets, and other necessities came flooding in, Vow to Fly arrived, walked straight into his stall piled high with bedding, and lied down for a long nap. “Poor Val, he didn’t even turn around once in his stall,” she says. “He just walked straight in, lied down, and went to sleep.”
Her husband was so concerned with Vow to Fly’s thin condition that he slept in the unheated barn for two nights, keeping a close watch and feeding the underweight a pound of alfalfa every two or three hours, she says. “By about March or April he had gained about 250 pounds, but he still did not have enough topline muscle to hold a rider,” she says.
In June he was finally ready to be put into training with Anna Hood of Happy Hollow Farm, an exercise on the lunge line revealed the Craig’s List horse had a few surprise moves of his own. “The first thing she said to me was, ‘Oh gosh, he has a lovely movement!’ “”
Though Vow was anxious under saddle and bucked with his trainer, by the time Ransom-Davis tried him just a couple weeks later, his highly held head came down, and his anxiety dropped several notches. “He just calmed right down when I rode him. He just lowered his head, and he was so good with me,” she says, adding, “He was just an angel. After I dismounted I gave my trainer a hug and burst into tears of joy. My tears were of hope, love, relief and gratitude.”