The past few weeks have been quite full and exciting, in both bad and good ways. Things are slowly returning to "normal" (is there such a thing in the horse world?) and I am so pleased to finally be able to write today's post containing the Best News Ever.
After nearly five years of searching, I have finally connected with the lady who bred Legs!
I'll admit, my search has not been continuous, nor has it been exhaustive. More intermittent and somewhat - well, can't really say lazy, but cautious. When I first took Legs over from his previous owner I got his Jockey papers transferred to me, so I had the breeder lady's name. At the time I was curious, but not really sure who I would encounter. Thoroughbred breeders come in a variety of types. Would this be a representative of some big conglomerate who could care less? A sketchy one time back yard breeder type? Who was this person? And more importantly, what did she know of Legs? Was she still around? Would she remember Legs at all? Would she be happy or bothered at hearing from me? These questions kept my search efforts at bay.
The catalyst for our connection came in the form of a hasty email fired off on April 17th, Legs official 21st birthday. I had gone for a ride and - I admit it - split a beer with the old boy. Hey, he is 21 now! Chef came home from work early and we had a bit of a celebration. A few beers later I decided it was appropriate to continue my search.
I pulled out the old file I had on him, and looked through all of the dead ends I had encountered over the years. I had a name (a very common one as it turned out - a Google and white pages search listed literally hundreds!), and knew he was bred in Texas. On a whim, I shot an email off to LOPE, a TB rescue in Texas run by Lynn Reardon, author of Beyond the Homestretch: What I've Learned from Saving Racehorses (a wonderful read - highly recommended by this discerning and avid reader!). I asked if anyone there had ever heard of this lady and knew how to get a hold of her. Not really expecting too much, I then
The next morning, after washing down some ibuprofen with coffee, I opened my email to a pleasant surprise - an email from Lynn herself! While she was not familiar with the lady in question, she did give me some links to various Texas Thoroughbred breeder sites and wished me luck.
Low and behold, one of those links turned up a farm that shared a name with the lady in question. After looking at the farm profile, I saw that they were certainly in business when Legs was born. As a bonus, I found out that they used to stand his sire! This had to be it. There was an email and phone number listed. Being still a bit unsure of my reception, I thought to try an email first. Unfortunately, the emails would end up bouncing as an invalid address. So, it would be phone call or nothing.
It took a few days to work up the courage. I looked at that number until I could stand it no more, then took a big breath and dialed. On the fourth ring a pleasant sounding gentleman answered. After explaining that I was not sure if I had the right number, I told him I was looking for a lady named S.S. who was breeding racehorses in the late 80's, that I had a horse of hers and was looking for information on him. A small chuckle preceded his response.
"Yes, you've got the right place. She's not in right now, but I'm sure she could help you out. She's pretty in touch with her horses." He took my name and number and said he expected her in later that evening.
It was already almost 8:00 NC time, and while I did not really expect a call that same night I laid awake well past midnight listening for the phone, excited an nervous at the same time.
The phone did not ring that night, but the next day on my way home from work I turned my cell phone on to a missed call and new message (I usually keep my phone off during the day - no reception on the mountain I work on and it just runs the battery down searching for signal). It was her, and she would be around all day if I wanted to call her back.
If I wanted to call her back? I could hardly wait to get home and make that call.
I spent almost two hours on the phone with her that evening. She is an amazing woman with equally amazing stories to tell. She very much remembers a horse foaled on her farm named Read My Legs, and told me all about him. But, as I have rambled for way too long as it is, I will leave that for another day.
Coming up..."Why I Love This Woman and What She Told Me".