Rescued from a rescue
For those reading this who have followed this blog from the beginning know that Lake was adopted from Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue. The adoption process was not an easy one as it shouldn’t be. This is especially true for a new horse owner. I was blessed to be allowed to adopt her. While I had learned a lot in the short 10 months I had her, it wasn’t enough that I should have not been able to go to a different rescue and be approved within 1 day to adopt another OTTB. That should have been a red flag. Lesson here is always do a thorough research on any rescue you decide to adopt from. Really take time to talk to volunteers working there, other adopters if possible and do a complete inspection of the facility. I’m now at a point where I can share additional facts about Arrow’s adoption which shows the ugly side of some rescues. Please keep in mind that there are many good rescues like SCTR. I would recommend them and would adopt from them again. Quite a bit of what I am going to tell comes from anonymous but legitimate sources.
Arrow was a “Hi Caliber rescue”. From the outside they looked like a fabulous rescue. I contacted them to see if they had any OTTB’s for adoption. I explained what had happened to Lake and said I really wanted to get another OTTB in honor of her. I could continue her story which is the story of many OTTB’s. They replied immediately telling me about Arrow. He was advertised as having Western and English riding experience and would be a great horse for many different disciplines. It did not take Chloe long to figure out that he was pretty green from the track and had not really been ridden much since his racing days. Race horses are ridden differently so it is important that they go through a re-training. He had not. It was not disclosed to me that he had xrays, chiropractic evaluation, lameness exam and steroid injections and was not cleared to ride. The vets knew something was wrong but not sure what so they were still troubleshooting to find the cause, despite Michelle’s attempt to “ride him out of it” for 40 minutes in the round pen and proclaim “he was a fun ride”. (this was witnessed) Needless to say he was dead lame the next morning and the rescue knew he would be hard to adopt out. Even as a pasture pet Arrow is still going to require on going care to keep him comfortable. I learned from a few different sources that he was very close to being euthanized (a bullet and a decision by the rescue not a vet). L Hi Caliber was taking it upon themselves to euthanize horses that had high expenses for care and were more challenging to adopt out. Arrow was one of those horses. At the time of his adoption I did not know that he had a very loving foster family and a foster mom, Shelley, who was starting to see that things were not quite right at the rescue. She had taken on his Vet expenses. Most likely to keep him alive until she was able to adopt him or he found a forever home who would fully understand his challenges. She had wanted to make her home his forever home. Her horses were Arrow’s friends and she vowed to be his safety net if he wasn’t able to find a forever family outside of her own. She has not said this but I firmly believe that Hi Caliber did not like the fact that Shelley was raising some questions about their practices (as were many others) and adopted him out while she was on vacation. They were very eager to have me take him home a few days before she was going to return. Shelley was devastated and heartbroken when she came home to find he was gone and no one would tell her where he went. I cry as I write this because I know how I would feel if Arrow just disappeared. She begged to have legal ownership if he was ever returned to Hi Caliber vowing complete financial support instead of facing a bullet. She vowed to spend the rest of her life trying to find him. Impossible task? Seemed to be but here is where fate plays its role. Shelley’s husband Scott use to work with my ex sister-in-law Stacie. We are both Facebook friends with her. I had posted my announcement about Arrow being the latest addition to our family. My FB page is public so Scott had seen the post because Stacie had ‘liked’ it. He had found Arrow! He contacted Stacie to see if it was ok to reach out to me. Stacie told me about their role in Arrow’s life. Turned out to be a huge role!! I had signed a contract with Hi Caliber stating that if I couldn’t keep Arrow he would go back to the rescue. Michelle at Hi Caliber had told me there was someone who wanted him who she was not going to let adopt (I’m assuming that was Shelley) and that she was thinking there were things wrong with him when that wasn’t true. Turns out it was true. At this point, Hi Caliber seemed like a great rescue. After corresponding with Scott, they came to visit Arrow. I knew immediately he would have been perfectly fine with them and really did have a safe landing with them. They clearly loved him and cared for him. I was torn. I fell in love with him but knew he also had a home. I didn’t have a way to give him back to them. He had to go back to Hi Caliber and if that happened, he wouldn’t have gone to them. I felt terrible. Fortunately they gave me their blessing to keep him. They knew more than I did that back to Hi Caliber could never be an option. They didn’t know me though so I’m sure they were still worried about his future. I encourage those reading to google Hi Caliber yourself so you can read the articles written about them recently. It’s pretty horrific. Arrow was rescued from a rescue. His forever home should have been with Scott and Shelley. We have agreed that this ended up being the best situation for him looking back. If he had gone to anyone else Shelley may still be looking for him today. They are welcome to visit him any time they want and should anything happen to me Arrow will go to live with them. This gives me great peace of mind! Had they not intervened in his care, I don’t believe Arrow would have seen his 10th birthday. I plan on spending many more with him!
I rode Arrow a few times over the last few weeks after he was off for about 6 weeks. He managed to puncture his knee somehow. Still do not know the source. Dr. Huth didn’t rule out a fracture. He had quite a bit of swelling and a nice size hole. Thankfully the swelling decreased over the next few days and the hole closed after about 4 weeks. It couldn’t be stitched because of the location. What I discovered about him is it really is amazing how well he rides after having long periods of time off. He hasn’t had tons of training since his racing days because of his issues so this is really quite remarkable! Our last ride was perfect. J He was very relaxed. He is still getting his massages, acupuncture and chiropractic. This is something that will be life long for him. Arrow is physically broken but has a huge heart and a very sound mind! He continues to surprise, amaze and inspire me every day!!! To this day I will still just watch him in the pasture and cannot believe he is my horse!!