I received a call today from a woman looking for papers for a mare that Tranquility Farm rescued in 2007 named Cherry Chassie. How we came to own Cherry is a tale in itself. A friend who was running at Santa Anita at that time saw someone leading a filly through the stable area, offering her for sale for $50.00. At first our friend thought the man was joking, but realizing the terrible implication for the horse, he immediately paid the money and found her a stall. And so Tranquility Farm became Cherry Chassie’s new owner, papers and all. Cherry had no pedigree, a sweet face, and a hot bow.
Giveaway mares just seem to fall like rain at the racetrack. Usually they are too immature to train in the first place, and many simply have no ability or inclination to run. Mares are homebodies, and lots of them never do take to the track. Cherry seemed exactly this type of mare; she was very quiet, even a little shy. But she was a gentle soul that seemed to be enormously relieved to once again live at a farm where she could relate to what was going on around her.
Unlike our old-fashioned ideas in Thoroughbred breeding, a great many Warmbloods, Quarterhorses and Arabs today are born to surrogate mothers by embryo transfer. Young Thoroughbred mares are sought after to carry these foals because they are of a good size and usually make excellent mothers. With Cherry’s doubtful prognosis for adoption as a riding horse, this seemed a perfect option, and she was soon sent off to a very nice farm in Santa Ynez for this purpose.
Two years later she is carrying her second foal, and this time it is for a 23-year-old mare who has never had a foal, and whose owner is so fond of her that she is willing to pay for the expensive surrogate breeding process so that she can raise her only offspring for her next lifetime horse. She called today to request permanent ownership because she has fallen in love with Cherry.
All of us know that our love of racehorses means that we will sometimes endure the terrible randomness of their loss. And then a horse like Cherry is plucked from doom and sent to a forever home just because she happened to be walking down the right shedrow at the exact moment that her life was offered for $50.00. If there is a balance here, I don’t know. Rescuing horses allows you no perspective, because the next one is always right in front of you.
I never took a photo of Cherry in the brief time that she was with us, but here in her honor is a photo from our garden. Call it the butterfly of random happiness.