Wednesday, September 03, 2008

From Slaughter Truck to First Class

A few days ago, I was delighted to report on the successful rescue of the 2001 Texas Horse of the Year, Lights on Broadway, and his new home with Donna and Dallas Keen. However, some smart alec (read: husband) said, “You actually walked across a pasture?? Now, that's something that you should write about!”

My relationship with horses is notably on the pari-mutuel clerk side of the rail. However, I do recall sometime during my youth of riding a trail horse named Loco. And I use the word "trail" and "horse" very loosely: I'm not sure if he was really a horse, and he definitely wouldn't recognize a trail unless it was a short path from the barn to the feed bin.

Undaunted, I visited the Keens to see firsthand their operation, as well as Lights on Broadway's new home. First and foremost, Donna and Dallas Keen are wonderful and hospitable people; I was welcomed warmly. When I first entered their home, there were numerous photos of horses adorning their walls. Dallas Keen pointed to one, indicating, “That’s Valhol

Val-who?? I thought.

Note to self: Google trainer/jockey/groom/beerman/person-of-interest to get background information so that I don’t look like a complete moron when meeting individual.

Dallas quickly pointed out more photos and paintings of a some of his celebrated horses: Allens Oop, Yessirgeneralsir, My Misty Princess, and his stable pony, Blue, just to name a few. I was very impressed, having remembered I had won a bucket full of money on Yessirgeneralsir more than once.

Anyway, Donna was proud to take me on a tour of their farm, especially to see Lights on Broadway via a visit to their foals. It was during this trek across the pasture that she shared her own background with horses: She got her first horse at 12 and "it was a bronc so I had learn to real quick". Later after high school, she would ride match races at old Ross Downs out by Colleyville, Texas, for trainer Johnny Hendricks and that he would “make me cry all the time. I have him to thank for making me tough.” And on a personal note, I would like to thank Jim Mulvihill for posting that Lone Star Press release about Donna [Gowdy] because I was too busy concentrating on avoiding horse poop in the pasture to really pay attention to what she was saying at the time.

Donna Keen is a devoted horsewoman and seemingly aspires to have a “collection of horses”, as her husband refers to her acquisitions. FOBs, compassionate horseplayers, animal lovers, and plain ol' human beings in general, should appreciate her passion and devotion to care, rehabilitation, training, re-training and placement of horses. The Horse Whisperer. Or is it Whisperess??

This evening, I received an update on Lights on Broadway,

I rode Lights today. I swear I think he is the smartest horse I have ever met. He learns everything so easy. He hates being in the pasture. He walks the fence wanting to come back in the barn. He is definitely a 'kept man'. I leave him out a little longer each day trying to acclimate him but the second he sees one of us he follows us around until we let him back in his stall.
What a character he is.

Donna maintains her own blog - when she's not busy training horses or rehabilitating horses or working on her property with her husband or developing racing partnerships. In the meantime, Lights on Broadway is scheduled to make an appearance at the Equine Expo on September 13-14 in Fort Worth. Knowing Donna, she'll have him doing some tricks by then, i.e., bowing, rearing, the rhumba, baking an apple pie, etc.

And finally, an answer to all of the smart alecs reading this blog entry: No. I never stepped in any horse poop.

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