One of the most influential horsemen of the Twentieth Century adopted one of the least likely to succeed racehorses this week in order to give the red mare a second chance.
USEA Hall of Famer Denny Emerson, the only rider to have won both a gold medal in Eventing and a Tevis Buckle in endurance, this week welcomed Frosty Lover to his farm.
The famous rider, who trains from his Tamarack Hill Farm in Vermont and Southern Pines, N.C., spotted the luckless racehorse in a photo shared online by Parx Racing’s Turning for Home, and soon decided to make the mare’s day.
Sire: Frost Giant
Dam: Ardent Lover, by Mr. Greeley
Foal date: May 2, 2011Emerson plans to transform the mare, who failed to break her maiden after 22 races, into a competitive sport horse and compete her in October at the Retired Racehorse Project’s annual Thoroughbred Makeover in Kentucky.
Of his decision to support the effort to elevate the image of the retired racehorse in the sport horse realm, Emerson was sanguine.
“I’ve been riding OTTBs since I was in my early 20s. I think Thoroughbreds are primo athletes who, if they’re not injured on the track, can do just about anything,” he says. “Racehorses have already seen and done everything, and make wonderful horses for second careers.”
Emerson adds that the Retired Racehorse Project’s show, which he supports wholeheartedly for its efforts to raise the awareness and value of OTTBs, is the perfect venue to demonstrate the talents of ex-racehorses. He deliberately chose a red Thoroughbred mare —the most difficult OTTBs to re-sell due to a reputation for being fiery and difficult, to debunk that myth.
“My objective is to support the Racehorse Project,” he says, noting that he plans to train his red mare in a low-key manner, without over taxing her. Emerson will chronicle the training on his Tamarack Hill Farm Facebook page.
His decision to retrain the mare, who finished 10th in a 12-horse race at Parx Racing on Nov. 24, is a boon to both the Retired Racehorse Project and Parx Racing’s in-house charity, Turning for home.
Steuart Pittman, founder of the Retired Racehorse Project and the Makeover show series, lauded Emerson.
“Denny was at last year’s Makeover and he understands that the event is all about improving horsemanship, training, and riding skills. That is the work of Denny Emerson’s life and it is a huge honor that he has chosen the platform of the Makeover to share his methods and his insights,” Pittman says.
“Had he not entered a horse we’d have recruited him as a judge. People should pay close attention to his Tamarack Hill Farm Facebook page and not only read his words but also meditate on them. The guy is wise. Trainers should think of him as a virtual coach.”
Danielle Montgomery of Turning for Home, a retirement and re-homing charity at Parx Racing, says Emerson’s decision buoys the effort to find new careers for retired racehorses.
“I think it’s fantastic. Denny is an Olympic rider and he has such a great reputation. It’s great that the two of them, (Frosty Lover and Emerson), can be ambassadors for the OTTBs, and can raise awareness. These are great racehorses that come off the track,” Montgomery says. She notes she was especially pleased he chose a chestnut mare. “The red mares have a bad reputation for being fiery, and they’re the hardest for us to adopt. So we’re thrilled he chose Frosty Lover.”
8 responses to “Riding legend to transform luckless racemare”
I don’t know why they say the chestnut mares have fiery temperments; it sounds like an old Irish slam to me. Denny had auburn hair the last time I saw him (’64 Olympics.) He looked quite calm in the hot tub the night before cross country. I think they will be fine. I would, however, like to know Frosty Lover’s pedigree so I could assess what her temperment might be. I’ll be watchin for well matched results. Go Denny!
Thank you Denny for all that you do with OTTB. Good luck with Frosty Lover!!! She is so lucky to have been chosen by you.
How exciting !! I’ll be following ! And I know this will be a success!! OTTBs never cease to amaze!!! Wishing this team all the best !! Boy how I would love for him
to meet Three Angels!!! Lol
Love you, what more can I say. Thoroughbreds are the most versatile breed, they can do anything they are trained to do.
Thank you for all you do and the insights you share ! Will watch this red head’s transformation with interest and gratitude! !
While the horses may not all be world class champions at the top of their game, deserving of accolades, the folks who rescue them definitely are. Bless you for taking such excellent care of so many . . . My heart sings while I read the stories of rescue and success.
This is especially exciting for those of us who already follow Denny Emerson AND the OTTB sites every day! I am looking forward to everything I will learn following Frosty Lover’s journey, as well as all those days Mr. Emerson will make us smile in the middle of all the hard work! 😀
Kudos to Mr. Emerson and all the best to him and Frosty Lover. I will follow their journey on Facebook for sure! Hope others will follow his lead!!! 🙂