How is it that so many successful and well-known horses can so quickly fade out of importance and somehow find themselves homeless and unwanted?
This was the question asked by Anna Ford of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program when she called last week to inform me that Hotstufanthensome, a dual graded stakes winner and earner of more than $750,000, was currently facing a dire situation.
Ford explained that Hotstufanthensome, a son of Awesome Again, had suffered from ongoing suspensory issues and had been dropped into the claiming ranks in 2009. After a veterinarian realized his injuries had flared up again following a routine workout, it was recommended that the then 9-year-old gelding be retired from racing.
Hotstufanthensome’s trainer at the time had contacted Ford to see if New Vocations could help find the gelding a new home and assured her he would be fit for trail riding once he recovered from minor issues.
“When he arrived at our Lexington farm, he was walking okay, but as soon as we went to jog him, he was obviously lame,” said Ford of Hotstufanthensome. “His leg was really inflamed. I called to see if (his former connections) had it x-rayed or ultrasounded, but they said no, they didn’t feel the need because they were retiring them. So we did that…x-rays showed he had a fractured sesamoid and a huge, quarter-sized hole in his suspensory.”
Ford was frustrated the adoption program had to put money into diagnosing the problem, especially since New Vocations is designed to adopt out horses that are sound enough to have second careers rather than being a retirement farm. It’s currently up in the air as to whether Hotstufanthensome will even be able to be a trail horse due to the extent of his injuries. The gelding's former owner sent New Vocations a small donation for helping him, but that was more than nine months ago and doesn’t even cover half of the expenses he has incurred during his time at New Vocations, explained Ford, who called Hotstufanthensome’s injuries “completely preventable."
"It’s really frustrating for us, because this horse is pretty much broken down,” she said. “The other part of the story is that we’re having such a hard time finding him a home. I’m very reluctant sending him to a private individual not knowing if they’re really going to take care of him.”
Hotstufanthensome with Lisa Malloy of New Vocations' Lexington location
Photo by Audrey C. Crosby Photography
Ford would ideally like to place Hotstufanthensome in another retirement facility where he can live out his days in peace. She added that he would need an understanding owner that would give him plenty of time off and realize he may never be 100% sound.
During his racing career, Hotstufanthensome got better with age, winning the Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. III) in 2005 at 5 and the Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. III) at 6. A consistent runner, he won or placed in 10 other stakes during the seven years he campaigned.
Photo by Audrey C. Crosby Photography
“With Hotstuf, it’s so hard to find those true pasture companion type homes where people are actually going to take care of them long-term,” said Ford.
Ford said New Vocations had been privately letting people know about Hotstufanthensome, but the organization is running out of time and resources to care for the gelding. Ford even contacted some local retirement facilities asking if they could take Hotstufanthensome, but there was no follow through on the initial interest they expressed.
“How can there be no place for this horse?” asked Ford. “You hear it all the time. (Hotstufanthensome) is very pasture sound, but it is something where (not running him) in his last race or workout might have saved him. Some of these older geldings like Hotstufanthensome have got a lot of heart, so they’re going to run through a lot of (injuries). We’ve got to really protect theses successful older geldings or they’re going to end up just like him, and nobody wants that."
If you would like to send New Vocations a donation to help cover Hotstufanthensome’s expenses, or if you know of a facility that may be interested in adopting the gelding, contact Anna Ford for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org or click http://www.horseadoption.com/Merchant5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=donations to donate online.
Photo by Audrey C. Crosby Photography
I should have mentioned this before, but Anna has asked me not to mention the specific names of Hotstufanthensome's previous connections, so I was unable to publish several of your comments. Obviously I know that you can look them up on your own, but the point of this article was not to lash out at the former trainers and owners (most of which had nothing to do with Hotstuf's current situation), or at New Vocations for that matter. The point was to raise awareness so hopefully there will be less of these instances, and also to help Hotstuf find a permanent home. Thank you for all your suggestions for possible places for Hotstufanthensome--please know that Anna is doing everything she can to help this gelding and she really appreciates your input. As I mentioned previously, Anna has contacted several local Central Kentucky facilities with no success yet.
But she has received several emails since the blog was put up, one of which was from a retirement facilitiy in a different state that is interested in taking Hotstufanthensome. I will update all of you as soon as I learn more, or if plans are finalized. Thanks so much for all your interest, and remember, if you would like to make a donation to New Vocations, go to http://www.horseadoption.com/Merchant5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=donations.
ANOTHER UPDATE (from Anna Ford of New Vocations--great news!!!)
We are happy to announce that Hotstufanthensome will be going to Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue in Pawling, New York where he will have a forever home. We are thrilled that Akindale stepped up and offered their services to him. In return they will send one of their adoptable horses to New Vocations, which will enter the retraining program and eventually find a new home. This is a perfect example of two programs working together and utilizing their strengths. Hotstuff is scheduled to be shipped next week, weather permitting. Another positive side to this story is that Evening Attire who actually raced against Hotstuff is also a resident at Akindale. It is great that the two will meet up once again.
The support for Hotstuff has been amazing. We have received close to $2500 in donations. The donations are greatly appreciated and will cover his board, farrier, and vet bills during the ten months he has been with us. Any further donations will go towards his shipping and care at Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue. Akindale does have a sponsorship program and will be looking for ongoing sponsors for Hotstuff. Anyone interested should contact Erin at email@example.com. For more information on their program you can visit their website at www.akindalehorserescue.org
We apologize for any confusion concerning the rumors of Hotstuff going to Old Friends. New Vocations had contacted Old Friends numerous times over the past five months but never received any conformation on them accepting him. We are not sure who posted the information about him going there. If anyone has made a donation for Hotstuff’s care to Old Friends you will need to contact them directly with any questions.
In anyone needs to contact New Vocations they may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-642-3171. www.horseadoption.com