Welcome back Kickin Stars

Previously I posted a piece on the blog about the rescue of Kickin Stars, the unassuming little mare saved from a feedlot last spring after racing thirty-nine times. When she arrived here she was injured, confused, and very hesitant about trusting people.Her spirit was broken, something hard to define, but you know it when you see it. She was shy to the point of being unresponsive, and the only time she did relate much to humans was when she had a sense of being comforted. Kickin Stars was one depressed little mare.

She also lacked confidence with other horses, and the best result we got with her was letting her be in a paddock adjoining another group of young mares who were happy, gregarious, and friendly to humans. We hoped it might rub off. Over the summer things slowly improved and she came more willingly to her halter and obviously looked forward to her turn out time across the fence from the other mares. Little by little she gained her confidence, until the day arrived when we could see she was ready to join the herd.

This photo was taken yesterday of the beautiful Kickin Stars, and you can see the spirit has returned to her eyes. Her rehabilitation has healed more than her injured legs, and when the right family comes along to give her love and security she can now be offered for adoption. Welcome back Kickin Stars!


Wild Diplomat retires to Tranquility Farm.

Wild Diplomat is a six-year-old gelding who raced sixteen times with four wins, four times second, and earnings of $161,360. He suffered a career-ending injury on October 1, at Santa Anita. Wild Diplomat is a beautiful bay gelding with the sweetest disposition, and it is hoped that he can recover sufficiently to be used as a therapy horse for the disabled at some point in the future. Tranquility Farm thanks the Smith Family and Sterling Stables for sponsoring Wild Diplomat's recovery here in our rehabilitation barn, where his sunny nature will help him greatly as day-by-day we work toward that goal.


The M and M fillies.

If you have ever raised a daughter you know that the moment just arrives and it overwhelms you. Suddenly your little girl has transformed into a beautiful young woman. She has arrived. Ready for her first dance, her first car, and oh so suddenly, ready to leave her home. It sneaks up on you.
In the same way the newly mature beauty of the two-year- old fillies that we have raised here at Tranquility Farm has taken me by surprise. I have seen them every day of their lives, but through the camera they suddenly look amazingly grown up when I freeze time. I call these fillies the M and M’s: Margaret’s Image, Callthewindmariah, Seattle Moonshine, and Minnahunie, ready now to be offered as sport and pleasure horses to real lifetime homes. These are special girls, each a gentle soul with a wonderful personality, and sadly, ready to fly the nest.


Adoptable horse Good Direction

Adoptable horse Good Direction seems to be growing in confidence every day, and where he once before looked apprehensive when someone came with a halter, he is now eagerly coming forward with a relaxed and happy attitude. His turn out times are doing wonders for him, and here he is, stretching out his long legs in the pasture.

It was interesting that as I stood in the center of his paddock snapping photos he would stop in his play and come over to me with his nose outstretched for a pet or a little kiss,and I could see that after months of care and love, Good Direction is finally headed that way.


Candy is Quicker ?

"Mosey" is a word you don't usually associate with a Thoroughbred. In fact I'm not sure the spelling is correct, as it is a term I don't recall ever using before to describe one of our adoptable horses. But mosey is what Candy is Quicker seems to like to do when he is turned out in the pasture.

There is the usual mad gallop up and down the field a couple of times, but then, interestingly enough, he begins to amble around casually with the low-headed, relaxed walk of a natural born trail horse.

Nothing seems to bother him or create a stir. If you are looking for a big handsome guy that might have a lot of talent for "moseying around", you might want to consider coming up to see Candey is Quicker....or not.


Two winners name Tranquility's new retiree Buddy Gil!

We had two readers correctly identify our new retiree, Buddy Gil, nearly simultaneously! The 2010 In the Presence of Champions calendars will go to Kathy Young and Cay Gilbertson DVM. That was fun and as we get closer to printing the calendars for next year I'll try to think of some other intriguing puzzlers.

We are delighted to announce that Buddy Gil will soon be returning to California to join our stars at Tranquility Farm, and we thank his owners and breeders, Billingsly Creek Ranch, Charlie Johnson, Scott Guenther, Rogers Severson and Tom Schriber, for making his permanant retirement home here possible. We will soon have new photos of Buddy arriving at Tranquility Farm for all his fans, but here, thanks to Youtube, is a great memory from his racing days, a link to Buddy winning the 2003 Santa Anita Derby


Name Tranquility Farm's new retiree and win a 2010 In the Presence of Champions calendar!

Here is a puzzler for our readers! A new retiree is en route to Tranquility Farm. This superstar of California racing placed sixth in the Kentucky Derby, and out of twenty-one starts he had six wins that included the Golden Bear Stakes at Golden Gate Fields; the Gr.1 Santa Anita Derby; the Gr.2 San Felipe Stakes; and the Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes. He earned in excess of $800,000, and after his retirement he served for a while as a stable pony in Jeff Mullins barn. Can you name this famous horse?


The first real storm for the weanlings.

The approach of the first real storm every year means the weanlings have to be put into the barn without their mothers for the very first time. In spite of all the schooling for this event throughout the summer, the first time they go through the barn door and into the stall alone is always tense moment. We have had rebellions in the past, so this year we are enlisting a nice quiet yearling to be a "team leader" to encourage any balkers. This sounds like a lot of complicated planning to simply get five young horses into the barn, and I'm sure this will give any cowboys reading this blog a good laugh. But with volitile young Thoroughbreds nothing can be left to chance. They considerably outweigh us now, and they know it.
All five walked right in as we hoped they would, but as soon as the stall doors closed it was bedlam. They tore up their stalls and yelled in protest for over an hour,and there was nothing to do but leave them to their own devices to settle down. Finally they settled in and I had a moment to comtemplate how amazing it is that they are little horses now instead of the babies they were a few short months ago. They grow up so fast!
Now we will begin to groom and handle them individually every time they are put into the stall, which will turn them from willful children into good little citizens. Sweet work for the rainy days ahead, a new season has begun.


Thank You Fort Dodge Animal Health!

We thank Fort Dodge Animal Health for their generous donation of wormers and vaccines for Tranquility Farm's horses!

Keeping our retired horses looking sleek and beautiful year after year is one of our greatest challenges. A good vaccination program is a must on a farm with over one hundred horses, and an effective parasite control program is essential to maintain the digestive health of horses on irrigated pastures. We thank Fort Dodge Animal Health for their help for our horses!


Full Moon Madness on retirement.

Full Moon Madness would like his fans and fellow racehorses to know that retirement is NOT BORING!


Candy is Quicker, Adoption Update.

It's official! Candy is Quicker is now officially adoptable. This big handsome guy got his pre-adoption vet check yesterday and he is now cleared to begin free exercise and a retraining program. "Candyman" is offered for dressage, low hunters, or simply being one of the grandest horses in anyone's barn.


The Beauty of Karazi

There are things my little camera really can’t capture. As I took these photos of Karazi there was a flock of mountain bluebirds passing through, fluttering in his footsteps. I tried, but this puny little camera couldn’t capture the beauty of bluebirds on the wing, and truly, it does not capture the beauty of Karazi.

Karazi is a serious horse. He can be nervous. If he trusts you and he is given a task he understands, here is your guy. I have seen a little catch phrase in the want ads that reads, “Experienced need apply”; perfect for potential adopters of Karazi.


Honoring our Cal Cup Stars: The Mile

Tranquility Farm salutes Lennyfromalibu, winnner of the 2003 Cal Cup Mile.

Hemet Thought, second place in the Cal Cup Mile.

Running Free,second in the 2006 Cal Cup Mile.

Patriotake, second the 1995 Cal Cup Mile.


Honoring Our Cal Cup Stars: The Sprint

Tranquility Farm salutes retiree Areyoutalkintome, winner of the 2004 Cal Cup Sprint.

Photo by Anthony Andrews.

And Full Moon Madness, California's Iron Horse, who ran a blazing second to Areyoutalkintome in the 2004 Sprint. Both are now happily retired at Tranquility Farm.

Photo by Anthony Andrews.


Remembering Valiant Pete

We are coming up on Cal Cup weekend, and it seems a fitting time to honor the memory of our retiree Valiant Pete, who won the inaugural Cal Cup Sprint in 1990. Pete won eight starts out of twenty-five races; placed in the Gr.3 Palos Verdes Handicap; and retired with earnings of $327,325. But Pete will be best remembered for a race that does not even show up in his past performances. In 1991 Valiant Pete took on Griswold, the worlds fastest Quarterhorse, in a tremendous match race at Santa Anita Park. Thanks to the wonders of Youtube, here is a link to that awesome race. The world record that Pete set that day for four and one-half furlongs stood until April of 2007. Valiant Pete was a red rocket.

Valiant Pete at Tranquility Farm in 2007, at age 21.

Valiant Pete was bred and raced in California by the Valenti family, and was originally retired at his home ranch, Mira Loma Thoroughbreds. When that farm was sold in 2005 Pete was sent to Tranquility Farm for his second retirement home. He was one of the kindest old horses imaginable and was always a favorite with visitors, especially kids, whom he loved. You are sadly missed, old Champ, and I hope you will be remembered on Cal Cup Day.