Friday, October 17, 2014

I'm Blogging Again...

Let's go back in time and remember some moments I posted about a horse named "Canoodler"...

It all began back in 2009 when I made an offer on the largest, cutest horse I've ever been around.. I'm going To Jinx it, and again I mention him a couple weeks later on Illinois Champions Day

Then his name is mentioned in cameos in a couple posts, here after the Preakness in 2009, then again here when I made an offer on Ollie, and then again from the Arlington Million. My most painful post about him was this one when I found out he was neglected at a hunter/jumper barn - what a day... and finally my last word about him in November of 2009 On The Bit. That was the last time I had any news on Canoodler. I always had an offer open for him and reminded his owner after each race that it still stood but was always turned down because of money. Or lack of money on my part.

That was until April of 2014. That's when I got an email from a young woman in Pennsylvania. She wrote..."Hey Wendy!  I recently purchased a TB gelding from auction and (after some tattoo deciphering) thought that I had a match.  So I googled the name and your website popped up with photos of him from spring of 2009!  His name is Canoodler and you were hoping to get him from the track."

My heart sank.  What you don't know is that oddly, on that same day, I talked about Canoodler to a friend and said "I always have wondered how he was doing." That exact same day!

The auction he went to was the New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania. It's essentially a last chance place for horses before they go to an unspeakable end. Some are lucky. Some are not. Thank you so much for making Canoodler a lucky one!

That email shook me up so much. I cried. I cried because he didn't deserve to go to such a place and I cried because I was so happy he found a home! I sent his new owner photos that I had of him from his racing days and wished them well!

Some time goes by and Canoodler's owner contacts me again. This time it's because she's putting him up for sale. He just isn't a good fit for her. Totally fair and good to say! However, I felt that I could handle all I could handle with 2 horses and said I could not take him. A few months later, I broke down.  He was now listed as "free to good home" and that always makes me worry because in my mind, this is a horse with a great deal of value. I loved him! Now I was constantly worrying about him. I realized that I would always worry about him. That's when I had a talk with my husband Matt. At first we both felt we could find him a great home but that lasted about 10 minutes. Canoodler needed to be in our home.

 What I wasn't prepared for were all the people behind this decision and willing to make it happen!

I always knew the people that worked for and with Graham Motion were the best of the best. I just didn't have any idea how much they would dig down to help out one of their friends.  They made it happen for me since Canoodler, fortunately for me, was located very near by to them! So first off was to get him to a farm where a shipping company comes to and the handlers are some of the best equine professionals in the business. These would be my friends Fenella O'Flynn and Bridget McFadden. They operate a lay up facility called Gratton Farm where they have some pretty cool horses that need down time come to hang out. I once visited them when they had the race horse Pluck on their farm.  They had room and welcomed Canoodler for a few days until he would ship out.  The next piece of the puzzle was finding a shipper.  That's when Sue Kenny, the office manager at Herringswell Stables and Maggie Kimmitt, office assistant and photographer at Herringswell Stables took over. They contacted their people at Brook Ledge Horse Transportation.  They all made it happen without killing my piggy bank. I never could have gotten this kind of service and help without all of them! Brook Ledge was incredibly great to work with and happily loaded up Canoodler onto my little 2-horse trailer for me when I picked him up at their Lexington facility!  They even stopped to let me take their picture for the records.

  Canoodler was all about photo opportunites.

So here we are! I have 3 horses. One who is 24 yrs old and pretty much hangs out to care for Ollie.  Then I have 14 yr old Ollie who has been coming along in dressage but at the moment has a bruised hoof and needs a little time off to feel better and be less grumpy about riding.  And we now have 10 yr old Canoodler. I haven't ridden him yet and I have no idea what he can or cannot do. All I know is that he fox hunted for a few years after his racing days and because he was 10 yrs old, he was sent to the New Holland Auction.  Yes, that's what we were told by the gentleman that took him there.  His elderly female owner that fox hunted does not keep horses that are 10 or older.  Makes me sick to think of it.


  1. Wendy, I've wondered what has been going on in your life, and am so happy to see a post from you! Even happier to find out you have Canoodler!!! Some things are just meant to be, and you having him sounds like one of them. I hope you'll start posting regularly again, both because your photography inspires me and because I want to hear all about your journey with Canoodler, as well as Ollie and Toby.

    1. Thanks Michelle! I didn't think anyone read this little ole blog! But I'm happy to be blogging again! Oddly, it's because of this blog that Canoodler came back to me!

  2. YAY,YAY,YAY!! I have always like Canoodler (for himself AND for you)!! Happy endings :o)

    ALSO a "triple YAY!!" for blogging again!!

  3. Well of course off they go to whatever horrible end at age 10... otherwise for gods sake you could be a responsible owner and ethical human being with a 24 yr old hanging out and a 14 yr old with a bruised hoof!

  4. I have been watching this unfold on Facebook and I'm so happy you were able to find a way to add him to your family. Looking forward to more updates as you get to know each other and build a partnership <3

  5. Dear Canoodler,

    Thank you for bringing Wendy back to blogging -- she has been missed. Can not wait to hear about your adventures with Toby and Ollie.

    I will never look at people who fox hunt the same.

    Most of all -- kudos and hugs to all the people who brought you to a safe place where you will be well loved.

  6. This is such an amazing tale! And one thing I always hope of when I blog about my horses...that maybe relatives of my horses will find homes also.

  7. So glad you are back! Canoodler is incredibly fortunate and kudos to you for keeping tabs on him!

    As for the foxhunter owner- in our area the foxhunting club does NOT operate by that rule. Older horses may have to bump down a field but there are plenty of happy horses well into their teens enjoying foxhunting. The members also have numerous foxhunters which they've retired on their farms. Said previous owner sounds like maybe she had a bad experience with an older foxhunter and has issued that blanket statement out of fear.

    Anyway, GLAD you are back!

    1. What I can't get my little pea brain wrapped around is the thought that any horse is just a dispensable item. To me, they are all living, breathing, feeling souls. So regardless of what type of equestrian activity, there are people like Canoodler's previous owner, that thinks of them as just livestock that can be traded without regard to where they may end up.

      Again, I just can't wrap my pea brain around that kind of thinking.

      At any rate, it's my gain! I've wanted him for years! And here he is! It's truly a dream come true for me!

      BTW - the fox hunting crowd here in Kentucky doesn't operate under that rule either! They are great people! I love them! I think I'll categorize Canoodler's incident as "old school" thinking? Whatever, it doesn't matter. I got the horse in the end! Woo hoo!