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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Old Dog, New Tricks. Joe Favorite from the Oval to the Ring

January 15th I received an email from a concerned FOB about a 12 year old gelding entered to race at Retama Park. The horse named Joe Favorite was racing for the 101st time in his career, and the 6th time in 40 days at the bottom claiming level where he had been for quiet some time. Needless to say he finished nowhere.
The morning after the race I sent someone over to the trainers barn to see if he would sell Joe. He agreed to sell him for $500 and I quickly summoned the FOB family who post on the Alex Brown Racing Forum for help in raising the money. In 4 hours we had raised enough to purchase Joe and have him shipped to Remember Me Rescue.
Joe arrived thin but unbelievably sound. He had no major issues other than some girth itch and a little rounding to his 'racetrack' ankles. We put him on a special diet to help him gain weight which he did very quickly. Joe was very happy at Remember Me Rescue and enjoyed freedom to run, graze and socialize for the first time in years.
When Joe was ready to adopt I posted his information on our rescue site. I received tons of interested emails but one lady, Deirdra Marr, got my attention. Deirdra came to the farm to meet Joe and the two bonded at first site. Within hours Deirdra had brought her husband to meet Joe and scheduled his vet check.
I called Dr Roeber at Diamond W Equine Hospital and told him I needed to do a pre-purchase exam on a rescue horse. He exploded with laughter when I told him the exam was for a 12 year old with 101 racetrack starts. Much to his surprise Joe passed with flying colors. He was a freak, totally sound after 101 starts.
Deirdra took Joe to his lavish new boarding stable where she gave him some time to acclimate and then start his dressage training. Joe is now loving his new life. This goes to show you can teach an old dog, (or old racehorse), new tricks. You have got to watch this video. Joe absolutely loves his new lifestyle and it truly shows in the ring. Thank you Deirdra for giving this horse the life that he so much deserved.

To donate towards the rescue and rehabilitation of other ex-racehorses like Joe please visit our site at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Missing for 20 years, Yeah Me Do is back on track

In early May I received a call from a local man named Kevin who owned an old thoroughbred gelding that he was no longer able to take care. He said the horse needed special senior feed, vaccinations, and needed major teeth work that he was unable to afford. I asked Kevin how old the horse was and if he had his registration papers to establish his eligibility for our racehorse rescue program. He told me he didn't receive papers when he purchased "Sonny" from a horse trader 8 years ago and didn't have any luck reading the faded, scarred tattoo for the Jockey Club to research him. Kevin mentioned the horse was very thin and that he had tried to donate him to several other rescues who refused him. Kevin's last call before dooming Sonny to the local sale barn was Wings of Hope, a therapeutic riding facility in Burleson, Texas who recommended that he try contacting us.

We arranged a time for Kevin to bring Sonny to Remember Me Rescue. He arrived in a stock cattle trailer and never picked up his head up even though all the other horses on the farm were whinnying at his noisy arrival. Kevin's 9 year old son opened the trailer and climbed in with the 16.3 hand white hide stretched over the big framey skeleton. Dallas and I were appalled at the horrid condition of this once beautiful thoroughbred. Kevin went on to justify why he was so thin. His age, who he thought to be around 15 to 20 along with being kicked in the mouth sometime during his life were his excuses.

Sonny was led to his new deeply bedded stall and given a timothy alfalfa hay mix. To eat hay Sonny had to chew, spit it out, pick it up and chew again. Trying not to cry I called Dr Gene White of Diamond W Equine Hospital to come perform a much needed power float on what was left of Sonny's teeth. Realizing how upset I was Dr White fought traffic and arrived for duty at 6 pm that evening.

After heavy sedation Sonny allowed us to examine his mouth. None of us had ever seen such a dental train wreck. One of his bottom teeth was growing straight out like a tusk and was pulled. The remaining front teeth resembled a roller coaster. While floating the back teeth a molar fell to the ground. There were 2 other top molars missing and the bottom molars had grown up into the top gum causing major pain and preventing his jaw from proper chewing motion. The sides of his cheeks were raw from the hooks that had developed from neglect. Upon further examination we found that Sonny's hooves were actually starting to turn loose from the inside out and required immediate attention to save them.

Sonny was immediately started on a special senior diet and hoof maintenance program and within a few days began to enjoy eating grass and walking without limping for the first time in years. He has continued to gain weight daily and his personality has bloomed.

During the first week Sonny was here I started my own research on this big grand gelding I had become so fond of. I called the Jockey Club and spoke with Andrew Chesser who was extremely helpful. Although the letter at the beginning of the tattoo and one of the numbers were not legible we searched through all the grey geldings born between 1980-1990 with 2 back socks and a blaze. Andrew told me we could be reasonably sure the horse we had was a 26 year old thoroughbred named YEAH ME DO. Yeah Me Do won six races in his career at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate back in the 80's. I was so excited about the possibility of learning this guys history that I posted on the Alex Brown Racing forum about our new discovery and talk about being in the right place at the right time.

I was notified by a member of the forum that her partner trained a horse called Romantically, Yeah Me Do's dam, and that they wanted to donate towards his recovery. Days later I received a call from Joe Shell, the trainer of Romantically who passionately referred to Yeah Me Do as Yammi-Do. What Joy this call brought to everyone. I asked Joe about Yammi's breeders and he said he would try to contact them.

Another miracle, Roy, Yammi's breeder was so excited to find he was still alive. They were told he has died by the folks who claimed Yammi from them during his racing career in California. Roy and Joe confirmed without a doubt that the horse we had was definitely Yeah Me Do through some unusual hoof markings.

Who knows how this once beloved gelding found his way to Texas but as many thoroughbreds do I assume he was brought here after his racing career ended to be butchered in a Texas slaughter house many years ago when it was still a booming practice. I am sure if Yammi could talk he would have an incredible story to tell about his life long journey.

At Remember Me Rescue we work hard to help all exracehorses find permanent homes after the careers at the track are over but occasionally one comes along that touches our hearts in a very special way. Yammi not only blessed us but left a lasting impression on everyone his life touched. I hope his story has brought joy to you and that people everywhere will recognise the importance of supporting your local horse rescues to keep helping horses like Yammi. Please visit our website at for continuing updates on Yammi and our other horse rescues.