Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Shared Goal

I think the thing that blows me away about Diamond is HOW he was rescued. 
When his first off-track owner, Kelly, realized that he had indeed been shipped, she set into motion a chain of events that almost had its own life.  Donations started appearing...twenty-five dollars here, a hundred there, fifty from someone else.
I felt that I had let Diamond down once...when his previous home had wanted to re-home him in February, a good friend told me that I should go to see him.  We discussed it, but neither of us felt ready to bring another horse into our lives when just talking about Boo usually ended with one or both of us wiping away tears.  I even avoided looking into his stall, where emptiness reminded me each night of the keen mind and noble heart of its previous occupant.
I came home late in the evening to a message from Robin, the same friend - that Diamond was in serious trouble now. Her friend had given him away to what she believed was a good home...and then Diamond disappeared.  Kelly realized what day it was....just in time for the weekly mostly-meat auction in Kitchener.
This is where the powers of social media performed a miracle...Kelly posted an APB on Diamond, along with a picture, asking if anyone had seen him go through the ring at OLEX.
The answer?  Yes.
The realization that a horse THIS nice had somehow slipped through the cracks, and was on a livestock transport to a feedlot for slaughter galvanized a number of people.  NYNE, or Need You Now Equine, also recognized him as a special horse, and separated him and a handful of others to post on their page.  Reading their FAQs, you realize that horses with a red border on their page are at immediate risk for slaughter.
Diamond's page was red.
Kelly was determined that THIS horse was not going to take that final step, and began gathering money in order to pull him back.
I knew that there was one thing I could do - I could offer him a forever home. 
I emailed Kelly after I got Robin's message and made my offer, and held my breath.  My DSO, Paul, had given me the green light - he felt that a horse doesn't cross your path twice, and that it was a sign from Whoever rules the universe that this horse was meant to be in our lives.
Over the next couple of days, funds were accumulating....but more was needed.
Someone, I think Kelly knows who, contacted LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, who has a strong affiliation with Woodbine.
Would they be able to help Diamond somehow?
That question, put to their board of directors, had us holding our breath.
Their answer....yes.  They would contribute to his cause.
I have to admit, I burst into tears when I heard the news....Diamond is not a stakes horse, or a famous horse....he is one of millions of blue-collar horses who run at the lower levels.  That doesn't mean they aren't loved or cared for by their connections of trainers, grooms, owners and hot-walkers - and their pony people.  It means that they are one of millions of racehorses who exist on the fringes, successful in their own element.  They are not the Secretariats or the Cigars or the Zenyattas who capture the public consciousness,  always in the public eye.
They are the ones who are easy to lose in the crowd....the starfish on the beach at low tide.
This is Diamond.

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