Saturday, February 2, 2008

Does Class Always Show? You bet it does!

"Class Always Shows"
a 5 year old, 16.1 hand, bay, Thoroughbred gelding
Well, here's my guy, "classalwayshows" (his registered Jockey Club name) better known as "Class Always Shows", "Valentino" or "Valie" for short (thank you Toni Sabella for helping me choose this special and oh so romantic, Italian name for him)!  Valie was foaled in Florida at a very impressive breeding farm!  He was a hard campaigner on the race track and with an impressive bloodline and a Breeder's Cup Nomination, you would have thought that this horse was going to be a contender!  But, it quickly became evident that his racing career was being mismanaged and with that, his life began a chain of disastrous events that started with an entry into a claiming race.  He was claimed by a person that surely must of been unscrupulous, an owner/trainer who raced him hard and didn't provide the level of care that would meet his needs.  He was eventually found by Canter USA - New England at a typical fairground racetrack in Northhampton, Massachusetts.  They only needed to take one look at his "kind eyes" to know that despite being in poor shape, he had a big heart and a deep soul.  Canter volunteer Fran Recchi immediately loaded him into her trailer and took him to her farm in Vermont.  And, as the story goes, by providing top-notch care and the "let-down" time he needed, he began the process of learning to be a horse for the first time in his 5 year old life.

His first time in a pasture was foreign to him, he didn't know what to do, he was skin and bones and just stood there looking lost and forlorn.

Fran began a program to build weight and muscle (see the outcome of her care in the photo at the beginning of this blog) and while giving him a slow but consistent start he began to adjust and relax!  While he was getting healthy, I began to Volunteer my services to Canter, in an effort to raise funds, to help the many horses in their program.  I was also at the very beginning of my search for an off-track Thoroughbred but I didn't want to start with one that was "fresh" off the track.  As a young adult, I was comfortable buying right off the track but at my "advancing" age, I wanted to find a TB with some let down time and maybe even some training!  One evening, early on in this exciting search, I received an email from Ellen O'Brien (Canter-New England's President), she said that she was quite sure that the perfect horse was waiting for me!  She attached a few photos and it was "love at first sight" but I knew that I needed to meet him in person and that he would need to be vetted too!  He was on trial here in Massachusetts with someone else but they had made the decision to pass on him; so, I went to meet him and after a short "trot", I knew he was going to be mine!

He vetted sound and was soon trailered to me and that began "The Adventures of Cathy Ann and Valentino".  So please, come along with me as I begin to chronicle our life together!  I promise to tell you the good, the in-between and even the bad but no matter what, when or how, I'm confident that he and I are in for "one heck of a ride"!  Go Team CaVal!

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