||Nine years old|
||Northern California, USA|
(Jockey Club registered name: Courtly Crooner) is a bay Thoroughbred
and a grandson of the racing great and Triple Crown winner,
Secretariat. Eli was raced as a two- and three-year-old, but suffered a stress
fracture in his left front coffin bone (last bone in the leg, inside the
hoof) during his 13th race, and was "retired" as a result of this
injury. The injury had healed by the time I bought him about a year
later, but I bought him to save him from benign neglect.
At four years old, he was still growing, had some baby teeth left, and had
been seriously underfed. He was 600 to 700 pounds. underweight in May
2000. He's undergone an amazing transformation since then; some
people have told me that they think he is the most beautiful equine
they've ever seen. I just think he is the love of my life.
Eli is a very large horse: 17.3HH and about 1700 pounds. I am six foot
tall, and I can barely see over his back! However, he thinks he is a
"pocket pony" and will come running to me to save him when he is scared.
He's spoiled rotten, but doesn't have a mean thought in him. Being a
Thoroughbred, he can be a bit high strung and shall we say opinionated,
but I can put up with his quirks if he can put up with mine.
I was in my late 40's when I bought Eli, and had never had my own horse
before. Getting a four year old with no other training than for racing was
nigh unto total insanity. It has been difficult and scary and I have
gotten hurt a few times, luckily not seriously. I wouldn't trade the
experience for anything, and even though we have an ongoing power
struggle, it is worth the effort to see how Eli has come into his own.
I wouldn't recommend taking on this type of challenge to most people,
but it has had definite rewards. It also has taken patience,
determination, perseverance and a good deal of luck not to mention a
bunch of money. But a great relationship is always work, and worth it.