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Jul 31, 2012 - NTRA
Bay gelding by Soldier Boy –Migrate by Rise Jim
Born: May 17, 1996
Race Record: 15 starts, unplaced, $968
Foolish Tom’s story, as told by hiso owner, Christine Lafrance.
There once was a Thoroughbred by the name of Tom Fool. In 30 starts, he had 21 wins, 7 seconds, one third, and had career earnings of $570,165. He was the 1953 “Horse of the Year.”
Forty-three years and four generations later, Foolish Tom was foaled at Pembry House Farm in Sutton, MA, to breeder Velma Emery. That championship bloodline had thinned out a bit over the years, as in 15 starts his best finish was fourth. He had accumulated $968 in career earnings by the time he bowed a tendon and went back to Velma’s farm to recover.
The tendon healed well, and Tom spent his next 12 years taking good care of, and helping, as many of his human friends as possible. In addition to being Velma’s personal trail horse, one winter he was loaned to a woman suffering from Bi-Polar disorder and helped her so much that the veterinarian who had been involved with Tom and the woman called Velma to see if she could leave him longer. Unfortunately, that was not possible, as Tom had seasonal duties at Horse Haven B&B in Salisbury, NH, a B&B that welcomed horses. When a guest's horse was tired or unexpectedly lame, Tom was always on "stand-by". His owner never had so many requests to buy a horse, but Tom was irreplaceable until the B&B closed. When it did he was offered for sale.
Although I’ve loved horses all my life, I wasn’t able to get serious about them, and start taking lessons, until I was 40. Being an adult learner has a unique set of challenges, not the least being overcoming fear of falling. I became a fairly timid rider and thought a pony would be in my best interest. Well, pony and I didn’t really click, and I found him a more suitable owner. I knew I needed a gentler and likely larger mount, but was unsure where to begin my search. I had ridden my friend’s OTTB’s a few times and found them to be a bit too sensitive for my liking. The truth is, although I loved they way they moved, they scared me.
My search for a new horse began and included many breeds, but I was sure I didn’t want a thoroughbred, so I steered clear of them. I met and tried at least a dozen possible horses but didn’t fall for any of them; none of them seemed quite right for me.
In the fall of 2010 the same friend mentioned above heard about an OTTB that was for sale. He was owned by Velma Emery, a very respected breeder, and was reported to be big but very gentle. She convinced me to go meet them. We went out to the field to get Tom. I hooked the lead to his halter and walked towards the barn. By the time I got to the barn I knew, I just knew he would be mine. It’s impossible to describe what happens when you meet your forever horse but it was love at first sight.
Every day for the last year and a half I have spent time with Tom. He is without a doubt the most intelligent, hard working, careful, sweet horse I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. It’s a joy to spoil him. We are working with a hunter trainer and he is doing amazingly well. His tendon has not given him a moment’s trouble.
In the time we have been together he has continued to touch and enrich the lives of us humans lucky enough to get to hang out with him. He has quite the fan club and frequently gets visits from family and friends just to give him a hug or carrots. I feel very blessed that this big guy has come into my life; I know I’ll never love another horse like him.
If someone had told me two years ago that a big OTTB would carry me safely and be the love of my life, I never would have believed it. Sometimes there is a belief that these horses are for experienced riders only and I have certainly learned that is not the case. There is an OTTB for everyone - you just have to find him.
Meet a horse who’s no fool! Read More
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