Corredor dela Isla
As many of you know, Dorian is an ex-racehorse, whose racing name is Corredor dela Isla, which means "Runner of the Isles." His sire was El Corredor, so you see where he got the name. And, being an OTTB, he comes by his early spookiness legitimately!
A while back I was in Kentucky, where Dorian was bred, raised, trained, and sometimes raced (he was all over), so I thought I'd give you an "inside look" at what racehorses' lives are like.
Kentucky Thoroughbreds are raised in some of the most beautiful country the U.S. They're pampered as babies, weighed and measured routinely, given great feed and vet care . . . There's a horrible, horrible dark side to racing, as I know all too well, but this post won't be about that. Later, maybe.
Below you see a yearly (already 16 hands) being prepped for the September Keeneland sale. He's being measured and weighed by the yearling manager.
Dorian would have been pampered as a baby. Foals get to stay with their moms, and turned out together, often at night in the summer when it's cooler. Here you see a bit of mud on their legs. They do that to keep the flies off.
When they enter training, they adhere to a routine (horses love regularity), and they aren't trained hard all the time. Below are some photos and videos of the early hour of training--typically racing folks are up before dawn.
These shots are of Keeneland, where I got to hang out with an Argentinian trainer and hear his great stories as well as learn a lot about the "backside" life. Above you see Keeneland's horse barn where racehorses live as they train and race. Below are some of the "greeters" as you enter Keeneland.
When the race horses walk down to the track, they all line up at the edge to wait their turn. Not all the horses get "blown out" each day--some days they "breeze" and so on. The trainer decides how much, how hard, and how frequently to train.
Above you see the horses are "hot walked" after training, then they get a bath. The horses shown here weren't trained that day, so they just got hand-walked.
There are two training tracks at Keeneland. This is the big track, where the races are also held. There's a smaller one at the backside--you'll see the racehorses being led there below. Interesting, too, is the fact that there's a training protocol on the track--horses have specific "lanes" they train in based on how hard they're running that day.
Below is the head trainer I spent time with and his goat :) I could listen to him tell stories all day--his family has been in horse racing since the 1800s.
When horses get injured, a good bet is they'll end up at Rood & Riddle, one of the world's best equine hospitals. Below you see an operating room there--I took this photo when I was there. Don't know who the racehorse is, but he was in very good hands. Everything is state of the art, as you see.
When the horses come out of surgery, they go to a padded room, and are overseen by attendants. These people (and there is more than one), lay on the horse as she wakes from the anesthesia because it's a really dangerous time for the horse. She is disoriented, doesn't know where she is, and can inflict great harm on herself (and the attendants) if she panics. Those attendants are really brave, and the room's padding is thick!
There's a great library at Keeneland, which is where the horse shoe above resides; I spent a lot of time there doing research. There are so many beautiful statues and artifacts . . . it, alone, is worth the visit--well, I'm a geek. Maybe not for everyone :)
And speaking of training, injuries, and rehab . . . Below you'll see me with Kitten's Joy (looks like Dorian!)--a very famous turf horse, who is now at stud. Jeff Ramsey of Ramsey Farm was nice enough to escort me around his place. Below me and Kitten's Joy, you'll see Ramsey's rehab facility. Pretty cool whirlpool water walker--the horses, as you see, walk forward through it and it's great for sore muscles, circulation and so on.
Above is a vibrating platform and it has a warming light overhead. You can see this guy was just in the whirlpool--he's feeling pretty good!
Ok, I could post a lot more about the life of a racehorse, but I probably should end here. Below is Dorian in his prime--I'm so grateful to be a part of his life now!