Meet the newest addition to Achaius Ranch: Patrick!! Patrick is a 16.1 hand Standardbred pacer. He’s 13 years old and an ex-race horse.
Standardbreds are trained for harness racing, as shown in this picture:
But when their racing career is over, their owners often don’t want them anymore. Fortunately there are places (like the Standardbred Retirement Foundation) that take in these unwanted ex-racers to give them a new life.
When his racing days were over, Patrick was taken in by Chasing the Sun in Wallingford, Kentucky, where owner Joe Harvey had him trained for trail riding. He was then adopted out and used for Civil War reenactments (pulling cannons, etc.). Unfortunately, his health declined and he lost a lot of weight. So last fall he returned to Chasing the Sun, where he has been gaining weight and returning to good health under Joe’s excellent care. He still has maybe 200 more pounds to go before he’s at his ideal weight, but he is well on his way!
It was great to meet Joe and spend the day at Chasing the Sun, learning about Patrick and some of the other Standardbreds there, awaiting adoption. Joe shared a lot of information about how he runs his beautiful facility and was very generous in his offers to help Achaius Ranch in any ways possible. We really enjoyed our time there and hope we can return soon.
When it was time to leave, Patrick let Joe lead him right into our trailer with no hesitation, like he’d been in it every day of his life. He did great on the five hour ride home, and he checked out his new home with no apparent anxiety. We have yet to see anything fluster him!
He’s getting along great with our two other geldings, Storm and Scooter. We were able to put the three of them together the very next day after he got here, which is a record! Normally it takes about a week to introduce a new horse to our herd, but Patrick is so laid back that the geldings had no problem with him. It will take some more time for the mares to get used to him, but for now the guys get to hang out.
We are so excited to have Patrick. He’s an awesome horse! Very sweet, calm, level-headed, curious and confident. His many life experiences seem to have made him rather “bomb proof.” He’s perfect for our Youth Program! We’re eager to work with him more over the next few months to get prepared for kids to start coming to the ranch in June. We think he’s just what we need to get this program started on the right foot, or hoof! 😉
By the way, Patrick is not his original name. He was a race horse and had a very race-horse sounding name. Since he’s begun a new life, we felt it appropriate to give him a new name as well. We chose the name Patrick both because we like it and in honor of the patron saint we’ve chosen for the ranch: St. Patrick. Great timing with St. Patrick’s day coming up so soon! (Watch for a blog post about this on the 17th.)