On an August night in 2012 when Banker’s Heiress quietly appeared at a catchall animal rescue in New Hampshire, Lisa Healy and her husband John did a double take.
And they thought, “What is she doing here?”
It wasn’t that “here” was so bad. The Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester, N.H. was home to a mixed breed herd of 70 horses, and the Healy’s spent many fulfilling hours tossing hay to the motley crew.
But the bright chestnut Thoroughbred mare stood out like a peacock, says Healy who notes, “The first time I saw her, I couldn’t believe that a horse of her obvious quality would end up at a rescue; She was so beautiful; She had such a presence. All I could say was, what’s a horse like her doing here?”
Barn name: Goldie
Sire: Banker’s Gold
Dam: Original Heiress
Foal date: May 3, 2001
Earnings: $74,903 in 40 startsThough that question was never fully answered, because Banker’s Heiress was said to have passed through five different owners between the time of her last race at Suffolk Downs in October 2007, and the night she wound up at the New Hampshire charity,
In those four years, Banker’s Heiress, who they nicknamed Goldie, is rumored to have bounced from barn to barn in the New England area, possibly selling in a dispersal sale at one facility, before ultimately winding up like a ragamuffin at the doorstep of a charity.
In 2011, after she was discovered starved, neglected and standing painfully on two abscessed front feet, the former racehorse and great-granddaughter of Secretariat was taken in out of pity by Wishmaker Farm in Dover, N.H. And shortly after that, the once-lovely race mare became the poster horse for one of those ubiquitous social media fundraisers. “Her life was at an all-time low at this point,” Healy says. “Her foot had become infected from her bad living conditions, and her body score was between a 1 and a 2, according to vet records, which also reported she was developing laminitis in all four feet.”
Slowly, the hardworking folks at Wishmaker Farm brought Goldie back to her former self. After raising $4,000 in donations, her foot was operated on by Seacoast Equine of Stratham, N.H., and her lameness issues resolved.
But the mare wasn’t done with her travels just yet.
She bounced one more time, to the Live and Let Live Farm, where the Healy’s discovered her.
The longtime horse lovers were not in the market for a new horse, emphatically not, Healy says. With one horse in their family already, they were content with their volunteer work until the night Banker’s Heiress arrived.
“We’ve always loved Thoroughbreds. My husband grew up in New Jersey and rode them as a kid,” she says, noting that it was natural for them to gravitate toward her.
“We started helping to take care of her after she arrived, taking her on hand walks, and feeding her,” she says. “We kept telling each other we wouldn’t get attached.”
Then when a friend at their barn, who knew the mare’s backstory, told them of her brush with death and her years spent bouncing between homes, the couple quickly decided they would be the ones to end her sad journey from home to home.
As fate would have it, the Healy’s had made the final mortgage payment on their own home, and with the newfound security, and additional financial breathing room, quickly decided there was no horse more deserving of their help than the beautiful Thoroughbred.
“We felt so bad that she ended up in a rescue. She was too nice a horse to be sitting there,” she says. “We were afraid she’d wind up, somehow, going back to a life where she was passed around from owner to owner, and we couldn’t let that happen.” — Originally published on Aug. 5, 2015.
15 responses to “‘What’s a horse like her doing here?’”
Hi! My name is Christina, and I trained her when she came off the track. She’s extremely talented. I’d love to see her again!!
I would love for you to come see her and talk with you about her . send me a private email email@example.com
would love to have you stop by and tell me about her prior life. contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SAVING THIS BEAUTIFUL GIRL WHO IS TRULY RACING ROYALTY. I’M SURE HER GREAT GRANDDADDY WOULD THANK YOU IF HE WAS STILL WITH US.
SHE’S ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING.
THANK YOU FOR SAVING THIS WONDERFUL POOR GIRL THAT HAS BEEN THROUGH HELL ON EARTH – HERE IS HER PEDIGREE & BREEDER ( elizabeth r jerkens / KY ) , WHO EVENTUALLY THREW HER TO THE WOLVES TO END UP IN THAT HORRIFYING CONDITION https://www.equineline.com/Free-5X-Pedigree.cfm?page_state=ORDER_AND_CONFIRM&reference_number=6253136®istry=T&horse_name=Banker%27s%20Heiress&dam_name=Original%20Heiress&foaling_year=2001&nicking_stats_indicator=Y
She is now healthy and beautiful thanks to good care, food, and loving people who gave her a wonderful forever home! Thank you for your kindness and I’m sure Banker’s Heiress thanks you too!
Thank you for that wonderful happy ending Susan!!
I am so happy for her and her forever owners!! Thank you Susan for another wonderful story!!
Glad that she has such caring people looking after her, a big thank you for your devotion to this horse, from Mary McLeod in New Brunswick, Canada.
Thank God you saved her. She is just beautiful! God bless you
Goldie is doing great. I actually just started riding her western and she really seems to like it! Got to love these TB’s ! Her front feet will always be a work in progress I think, and new x-rays show a lot of arthritis in her fetlocks, but she is very comfortable and we pretty much just do a lot of walking around since I really hadn’t ridden for 20 + years when we got back into the horses. (Both John and I did the hunter/jumper circut back in the day!) We are enjoying spending time with her and our other 2 old rescues. The other dark bay in the picture is another OTTB . She is 27 this year and her name is Excellent Moves if anyone out there knows anything about her I would love to hear back from you. She was at the same rescue for 4 years and seems to be very well trained . Big thank you to Susan for writing all these wonderful stories. I love reading them every day and it’s nice to see so many positive outcomes for so many horses .
Thank you for giving her a permanent home. I hate that many will never be as fortunate as you and Goldie!
Lisa, Thanks for the update on beautiful Goldie. What a wonderful story. As a longtime rescuer of small animals our paths occasionally crossed those of an abandoned horse our two. We did not have the facilities to care for them and our role became that of finding a safe place for them. In most cases it was not only emotionally, but physically and financially draining as well. I was so touched by Goldie’s story and imagining what her life might have been without you and John. May God bless you, Goldie and your other rescues.
So glad Banker’s Heiress finally found a forever home. Were the people who almost starved her to death ever held responsible and prosecuted?
Susan, have you gotten an update on her? Thank you, Lisa and John, for giving Goldie a forever home!! xoxo to that lovely girl, Mary in Boone