First day.


The first day of training means not doing anything, just letting the horse rest in her new environment. If OTTBs are coming right off the track, it’s especially important to give them some time to wind down after that busy life. In Bizzy’s case, she’d been off the track for two years, because the racetrack where she worked, Suffolk Downs, was closing. Though there were still a few race days a year — six spread out over three months rather than a ninety day meet — her trainer didn’t have the means to bring her horses back and forth. So she’d brought them home to New Hampshire, with no income for them anymore, and had begun to sell them off.

Bizzy was the only one who was so thin. We never could figure out why, exactly. We dewormed her right away, got her tested and treated for Lyme, and just fed her – and fed her, and fed her. We gave her a salt lick and plenty of water, and let her settle into a new routine of stall time, turnout, and handling – starting with grooming.

Lauren texted me that morning when she turned her out and said, “She just did a quiet canter across the field.” It was significant because it was probably the first time she had cantered in two years – as we’d seen, she hadn’t really even had the room to trot.

Time to eat. Good hay, good grain, grass.
Fortunately for us, she loves her stall. I guess she had plenty of time outside over the previous two years. On her first night, she walked right in, just as easily as she had loaded on the trailer. The horse was exhausted and hungry and she knew a good thing when she saw it.