While I have had a couple of bay thoroughbred geldings in my life for some time (Gallon & Ghost, predominantly), this summer has been quite special because I have had the opportunity to work with a total of five (FIVE!) different bay thoroughbred geldings. I wanted to take a few minutes and write a bit about all of the boys, since they are easy to get confused.
1. "Gallon" / JC: Gallon / 2005 16.2h OTTB by Victory Gallop
Gallon is my personal horse, whom I adopted from CANTER California in April 2018, after being his volunteer since October 2017. Gallon came to CANTER with many old injuries and was mechanically lame. I worked for months, extensively rehabilitating him, hopeful that I would end up with a light riding horse. When I adopted him, he was cleared by CANTER's veterinarian for light to moderate work, and I was over the moon with joy. Things were going wonderfully for quite some time, and I even got to jump Gallon over a few crossbars in January of this year - Which he loved! Unfortunately, soon after that, he began going downhill soundness-wise, and I noticed that he just wasn't being himself. I had my veterinarian out to do extensive diagnostics on him. We took so many images! After all of the radiograph findings, my vet and I both agreed that retiring Gallon was what was in his best interest. He is now retired and living at the barn I train at. He currently lives in pasture, but I will be transitioning him back to stall life (with plenty of turnout and handwalks!) because he is such a submissive guy and getting a little too beat up in pasture for my taste.
I want to reiterate that I adopted Gallon knowing he was lame, and despite my rehabilitation efforts, my only real goal for Gallon when I adopted him was to give him a safe place for the rest of his life. I love this boy. Look at those eyes - How could I not?
To tell him apart from the other boys: Gallon has light eyes, absolutely no markings, a double whorl on his forehead, and a big moose-y nose.
2. "Owen" / JC: Air Nashoba / 2012 16h OTTB by Birdstone
Owen is the horse I currently half lease from my trainer 3 days per week. Owen lives at the same barn as Gallon does, in a neighboring pasture! I began leasing Owen in May of this year, after about a month of finally considering a lease - It took me so long to feel like I was financially stable enough to take on a lease (and sometimes I still worry that I am still not making enough!). I tried him out in a lesson and immediately loved him. He has a huge sense of humor and makes me laugh often. I describe him to people as a draft horse stuck in a thoroughbred's body, with a talent for jumping. He is not spooky; he is steady and keen under saddle with a natural talent for jumping. On the ground, he is pretty dense and a total goofball. He is a puppy dog and loves to follow me around. He doesn't understand personal space. Each day when I go to get him from his pasture, he walks up to me like, "Hi friend! What are we doing today?". I adore him and look forward to growing as a team in the coming months.
To tell him apart from the other boys: Owen has a *total* baby face, and he is also the smallest of the bunch. He has a wispy forelock and a little star with a thumbprint taken out of it.
3. "Ghost" / JC: Ourwestcoastghost / 2008 16h OTTB by Muqtarib
Ghost is my current CANTER horse. CANTER is a thoroughbred aftercare organization. Ghost arrived to CANTER in January of this year. Like with Gallon, Ghost and I instantly clicked and I became his main volunteer. CANTER California has a special program in both SoCal & NorCal that aims to take off-track thoroughbreds and rehabilitate (if necessary), retrain, and rehome them to non-racing homes. Ghost had 25 starts with a total earnings of $226,062. He was originally purchased off of the track as a barrel racing prospect, but ended up back with his race trainer, and then came to CANTER. Ghost is an incredibly sensitive boy with a sweet soul. My goals with him are for him to be comfortable and confident enough to be a lower level dressage horse and get adopted out to a great home.
How to tell him apart from the other boys: Ghost is the only dark bay! He also has no markings.
4. "Newman" / JC: Cardinal Newman / 2007 16.1h OTTB by Victory Gallop
Newman is my trainer's personal horse! I have ridden him in a few lessons prior to leasing Owen, as well as ridden him when Owen has thrown a shoe or had an abscess. Newman is by the same sire as Gallon, so he naturally holds a special place in my heart. Newman is incredibly fancy and a super fun ride. His trot is huge and ground covering, and he has a big, fun canter with what I call a hammer-heading stride. He is a dressage master and has really helped me to understand the basics of dressage. I have also ridden him in jump tack and taken him over a few jumps. I adore this guy, but I do not lease him and mostly just get to enjoy seeing him when others have him out! I haven't ridden him in quite awhile now, but was riding him often in May, June, and early July. I hope I get to ride him again soon - But we will see!
How to tell him apart from the other boys: Newman also has light eyes, just like Gallon! However, Newman has a star on his forehead. He is also a little toed-in (if you see a full shot of him).
5. "Goose" / JC: Studhammer / 2013 OTTB by Exhi
Goose is my friend's horse, who I just recently started helping out with when she is busy with work and/or out of town. I have only ridden him 3x and lunged him once at this point in time, but he is such a talented boy! He recently came off of the track and is a super solid citizen on the ground, and tries his hardest to be the same under saddle. He's very intelligent, sweet, and handsome, and I cannot wait to see him develop and become a perfect mount & friend for my friend! I do not know how often he will be on my Instagram page - But I wanted to include him on this post just to round it out and be complete.
How to tell him apart from the other boys: Goose also has a star, like Owen and Newman; however, it is teeny. He also has the narrowest face. Additionally, if he is tacked up, you can tell by his tack! He wears white boots, a figure 8 bridle, and a breast plate, which none of the other boys wear.