Pet of the Day

February 3, 2006

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Eli, the Pet of the Day
Name: Eli
Age: Nine years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Thoroughbred Horse
Home: Northern California, USA
   Eli (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.

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