Indy Knight was a 5 year old racehorse that retired after 25 starts when he came to After the Races in 2011. He crashed harder than most coming off the track, was a bit of a hard keeper, and was overlooked by many due to his “plain” appearance. However, he would go on to win everyone over with his heart. Indy was so kind and so honorable that we now say of kind-eyed horses that enter our program as having “an Indy eye.” Despite having some “trash” in one knee, Indy stayed sound and proved himself to be a great little trail horse at our farm.
Knowing this, he was adopted by a wonderful woman named Sue Kinney with the intention of keeping him to the trails, but fate had another plan in store for Indy. Read Sue and Indy’s story below. Sometimes the best things come in plain packaging…
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t obsessed with horses! Growing up, it was not financially possible for me to have a horse or even take lessons so I worked on farms doing anything from baling hay to mucking stalls just for the chance of riding one of the camp or farm horses. Many of you reading this can probably relate! Eleven years ago, I bought my first OTTB, Hero, and fell in love with the breed. I was always fascinated with the Thoroughbred’s speed, beauty and courage and Hero embodied all these qualities. Unfortunately, he contracted lyme disease over 3 years ago. After many tears and many vet bills later (don’t ask how much!) he is pasture sound, but too lame to ride.
This meant I needed a horse to ride and so I went online and started my search for another OTTB. I found the website for After the Races, scoured the pictures and descriptions of the horses available for adoption and filled out the application. At the time, I decided no more dressage for me, I just wanted a trail horse. Bonnie said she has the perfect horse for me so I drove down to the farm and met Indy Knight, a 5 year old, solid bay gelding. We went for an hour and a half trail ride and he was so quiet I could hardly believe I was on a horse that was off the track for only 5 months. I loved him at first ride.
Indy came home with me about two weeks later and I started lessons with the goal of learning to ride him to ensure his comfort and confidence as well as my safety both indoors and on the trail. Now remember, I earlier wrote that I no longer wanted to ride dressage and had no interest in showing. As a result, when I built my barn and fenced in acres of pasture I did not build a ring to ride in, which left me taking lesson in an open, flat pasture with just cones as markers. Indy never took off with me, although all that pasture must have been very inviting! Over the next few months, Indy not only started to put on weight and muscle, but he started to blossom into a horse that was and still is, beyond my imagination!
What I mean is that my trainer and I realized that we have a very special horse that is smarter and more talented than we initially realized. She said to me one day last spring, “Sue, you need to show Indy.” After some persuasion, I entered Indy in some schooling shows and although the first few were pretty much a disaster because of my show nerves, by our fourth show Indy was a star! We have nicknamed him “Awesome Indy.”
Some believe the OTTB to be “unsafe and hot.” We need to be wary of generalizations; all breeds have their “challenging” horses. I have never regretted adopting either of my OTTB’s and, honestly, if I had all the money in the world to buy any horse I wanted, I could not find one more perfect for me than Indy. So if you are looking for that horse who can be your trusted and loyal riding partner, please consider adopting an OTTB. If you have love, patience, and gentle confidence, you will discover that these horses will exceed your expectations. Most of them have incredible breeding, like Indy. When I looked up his bloodlines I found that his father is Kafwain (earned $700,000+ on the track) and that his grandfather is A.P. Indy, his great grandfather is Seattle Slew and his great, great grandfather is Secretariat!
I am so grateful to Bonnie and her staff for all they do to raise awareness of the versatility of the OTTB and to place these horses in their forever homes. Indy thanks you, too!