Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
edited April 2013 in General Interest
We were briefly discussing war horses and roles race mares have after retirement under the topic: Rachel Alexander. But rather than get too far off RA's discussion. I thought it best to make a new topic so others who know of amazing "true" horse stories can share their "tails".

The link below is about a former race mare who became a vital "soldier" during the Korean War. Her name was SGT. RECKLESS.

Videos on Sgt. Reckless:

Her Foal: Fearless- his broken blaze reminded me of Rachel Alexandra as a foal.


  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited April 2013
    Here is another amazing true horse story which I earlier posted under "Horse Slaughter" but this story deserves to be placed in a more appropriate category.

    It is about an Amish plow horse who had lost his usefulness and was to be sent to the slaughter house back in the 1950s. He was rescued by a young Dutch immigrant/riding instructor named Harry de Leyer. De Leyer used all the money he had which was a mere $80 to rescue this unassuming white horse. It was during winter when this plow horse arrived at de Leyer's home and the snow was falling. Harry's children named him "Snowman"!
    Please read this amazing story of a plain, unassuming horse that turned heads in the international jumping show ring! It is so humbling and will touch your heartstrings! Be sure to have kleenex at the bittersweet end of the story.
    I'm not sure if they've completed making a movie (documentary) of "The Eighty Dollar Champion"...there was mention of it during 2012.

    Below is a 2011 update on Harry de Leyer’t-Lost-Its-Legs

    For those who want to see videos of Snowman's amazing jumping abilities...please check these links:

    If you have any amazing true horse stories to share...please submit! :o)
  • I've added video clips of both Snowman and Sgt. Reckless to each article.
  • Thanks for the links, PanioloGal! :D They were much enjoyed <3 I have always loved the story of Snowman and can't get enough of him, and I've heard the name "Sgt. Reckless" mentioned before but I never knew her story... Glad I do now! :)
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    Both remarkable animals....but then every one is remarkable in its own way
  • cigarcigar Member
    The 80 Dollar Champion was a great book. Boy, coud Snowman jump!
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited April 2013
    A legendary horse who won 50 of his 100 races and lived to the ripe age of 30. This gaunt, rather unattractive gelding was purchased as a training pony by Sun Briar's Trainer (Henry McDaniel). Sun Briar was a favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. When Sun Briar was scratched from the Derby, Old Bones was a last minute replacement much to the disappointment of his owner Willis Kilmer and jockey, Willie Knapp as well. As a 30 to 1 longshot, Exterminator won the 1918 Kentucky derby over Escoba by a length. Kilmer was completely shocked that his old "billy goat" won!

    His story:
    Overview of his races:
    His pedigree:
  • There was buckskin horse made famous by "Bonanza", in which he was named Buck and ridden by Lorne Greene. After the show cancelled in 1972, the actor bought Buck and donated him to a Therapeutic Riding Academy. He lived out the rest of his days there helping children with disabilities, until he died at the incredible age of 45!

    Off the subject of Buck, the oldest horse ever is said to be "Old Henry" who (through no official record, but safe to say true) lived to the mind-boggling age of 64!
  • "Sgt. Reckless", has her own Breyer model horse. I knew her story, but had no idea she had gotten popular enough to be honored with her own "model", until we went shopping for new riding clothes for my grandson. While I was wandering around the store, it "jumped out" at me, and I couldn't believe it my eyes. Didn't buy her that day, as the riding clothes took their toll on our wallets. But hope to get "Reckless" one day, for my collection.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited May 2013
    LindaK mentioned under the topic Rachel Alexandra of an intelligent, plucky Shetland mare named Molly who survived terrible Katrina only to be mauled by a pitbull after being rescued...resulting in her loosing her right front leg. Below is an article of her miraculous recovery and being an inspiration to human patients who suffered from amputations themselves. Her positive attitude, stamina and will to survive inspired a children's book "Molly the Pony":

    If you know of any true horse stories be it a famous horse or just your personal four-legged friend who did something wonderful...please tell your own story!
  • I love all these wonderful stories!
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited May 2013
    Rachel reminded us of this wonderful story on her Zenyatta blog under Weekly Racing Discussions/Links:

    An article from the Chicago Tribune March 15, 2013:

    Magna Fortuna's mother, Silver Option, was about to be shipped to Canada for slaughter in 2009 when she was rescued from an Indiana "kill auction" by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Humane Center. Vacca soon learned that the horse was in foal. The new arrival was known as Taxi (he was born on Tax Day) but would be named Magna Fortuna after the surprise discovery that his father was Magna Graduate, a $2.58 million career stakes winner.
    In Magna Fortuna's race Wednesday, he started from the No. 6 spot in the seven-horse race and led the entire way, winning the 11/16-mile test by 9-3/4 lengths. He paid $10.80 to win.
    "He was out for a joyride," Vacca said Thursday. "He didn't even look back."
    It was Magna Fortuna's second outing at Hawthorne's spring meeting. On opening day Feb. 15, he ran a fading seventh in a 6-furlong race.

    by William Hageman

    HIS WHOLE STORY (3 Chapters):

    Magna's You Tube Video:

    Magna's own blog:

    Cupid and Arrow are a mare and foal with a story that will go straight to the heart of any horse lover! Cupid, the demure bay Pinto dam of Arrow, is an intelligent and sensitive horse that had endured a hard-knock life until 1999. At auction that year, her petite frame thin and weak and with her luck nearly run out, a New England farmer named Buck Kalinowksi saw her. What would catch someone’s eye on this unpromising animal? It was the perfect heart-shaped marking on her forehead, which Buck remarked on to himself after almost incidentally sweeping aside her lank forelock to better judge her. After paying $325 for her, Buck loaded up the mare and headed back home to his farm. Now named Cupid, the mare warmed up to her new owners and soon after was the barn’s favored riding pony. That winter, however, Cupid revealed a little secret she’d been keeping. Unnoticed one winter’s night, Cupid quietly lay down in her stall and foaled a colt. And as if fate had planned it, the little black Pinto foal had a most unusual marking over his hindquarters: a marking unmistakably shaped like a white arrow, pointed over his spine. The colt and his unique marking was a fitting complement to the serendipity, compassion, and love that gave Cupid her second chance at life at Hillside Equestrian Meadows in Wolcott, Connecticut.

  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    Update....Magna Fortuna won today's race 7 at Arlington allowance...he won by a head and his morning line was 15-1....congrats to him and all those involved in saving his pregnant mommy
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited May 2013
    February 18 2012 at 11:25am
    By Tanya Waterworth

    Kerri-Lee McKenzie was bleeding from a stab wound to her chest and her assailant was telling her he was going to rape her when a horse named Domino, and his stable companion, Archie, came galloping to her rescue.

    The astonishing incident took place at Toti Ranch, in Amanzimtoti, south of Durban.

    Domino’s owner does not live in Durban and Kerri-Lee is his regular rider.

    While McKenzie, 25, is still recovering from her injuries, her mother, Serena Mckenzie, said the attack last week could have had a far worse ending had it not been for the two heroic horses.

    “Kerri-Lee had taken the horses down to the paddock to graze when she spotted some rubbish. She was afraid that the horses might try to eat it, so she went to pick it up. As she was doing that, this man came up from behind, grabbed her and put a knife to her neck,” said McKenzie.

    According to her mother, Kerri-Lee fought back, head-butting her attacker, as well as trying to stomp on his feet with her gumboots.

    “He was trying to strangle her and as she fought back, he stabbed her in the chest. He also told her he wanted to rape her,” said McKenzie.

    At that moment, Domino charged up and the attacker took fright and fled.

    Another rider, who was in a higher paddock, said she saw Kerri-Lee crawling out of the bushes and thought she was playing with the horses.

    But Domino was in fact chasing the panicked assailant across the paddock.

    “Then Archie went and stood over Kerri-Lee while she lay on the ground. It was as if he was protecting her.

    “Kerri-Lee was rushed to hospital. Fortunately the knife had not hit any major vessels or organs, but she had to have a few stitches,” said McKenzie.

    The police dog unit were called to the scene and a tracker dog followed the man’s scent to a nearby township, but the suspect had disappeared.

    Local horse behaviourist Glynn Redgrave described the incident as “amazing” but said horses can form an incredible bond with their rider, owner or groom.

    “Horses are masters of body language and a horse can tell if you are confident, assertive or nervous. You are dealing with an active, intelligent animal who is also a teacher of unconditional love. A horse could definitely sense if someone was being attacked. This horse must have an phenomenal bond with the rider,” said Redgrave.

    Another KZN horse behaviourist, Patsy Divine, who specialises in equine facilitated therapy (EFT) and equine facilitated learning (EFL), said it was “absolutely feasible” that the horses had helped with intention and not by chance.

    “It’s inherent in horses to read energy and if there was bad energy in that situation, those horses knew it and would have recognised that she was in a bad place.

    “They are powerful, gentle animals and would definitely sense distress. And if I were the attacker, I would definitely run from an attacking horse,” said Divine. - The Independent on Saturday

    Photo of Horse Heroes (below):
    ANIMAL FAMILY: Serena McKenzie with Domino, left, who chased off her daughter's attacker, and Archie, who stood guard over her. Picture: Marilyn Bernard!/image/204303909.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_300/204303909.jpg
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited May 2013
    Amazing survival...A REAL LIFE PEGASUS!
    Rescuers recover a horse from on top of the remains of a day care center and destroyed barns, Monday, May 20, 2013 in Moore, Okla. A monstrous tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Steve Sisney)
    Steve Sisney, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

    A. THEONA was found tangled among stall structures and was trapped for about 18 hours with no food or water...she had some injuries...but you must see the video on the miracle of how she was ever able to survive to begin with! You see...Theona is blind!
    B. CATORI survived 2 tragic brushes with death before the tornado devastation...she was saved after a highway accident last May when her trailer, heading to a slaughter house turned over-several horses were killed in the incident. At the time she was rescued, she was in foal. She again survived this recent tornado tragedy and kept her 2 month old foal, Moonstruck safe.
    HERE'S THE VIDEO: (sorry can't get rid of the commercial at the beginning)
  • RachelRachel Member
  • Thank you, angels, for watching out where you can. Bless 'em all.
  • JOCKEY FRANK HAYES (1888-1923):
    Courtesy of Senaks' Posting on 7/8/13

    In 1923, the stunned crowd at the Belmont Park horse circuit watched as Sweet Kiss crossed the finish the line at the head of the pack. At 20 to 1 odds to win that day, it was shock, though not quite as much of a shock as when Sweet Kiss’ rider slumped off the horse’s back and fell to the dirt.

    Both the horse and the jockey were virgins on the circuit, and the race was their horse racing debut; not just at Belmont, but anywhere. Frank Hayes, the rider, was a longtime stableman who’d cared for the horse though the owner didn’t see much promise in either. Frank, however, managed to convince his boss that they were ready and they were given permission to lineup alongside everyone else.

    Belmont was a major track back then, and even now it’s one of the highest profile courses on the Thoroughbred Circuit. Most notably, it hosts “The Belmont Stakes,” the final leg of the “Triple Crown” races. Tough competition for two first-timers, and even their low odds were generous.

    All were surprised by Sweet Kiss’ lead, no more than Frank Hayes who suffered a heart attack towards the end of the race. He was dead before he crossed the finish line.

    Hayes holds the somewhat dubious distinction of an undefeated record and, an almost guaranteed spot in the record books as the only athlete to ever win an event after dying.

    The horse, though established as a winner, would never be raced again, as superstitious jockeys feared suffering as Hayes had.
  • RachelRachel Member
    heres footage of the Eighty Dollar Champion! who had a book written about him. hes amazing!

  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2013
    Image Hosted by

    I reviewed the amazing story of Sgt. Reckless, a small Korean racehorse in the first posting under this discussion topic. After years of being just a faded past war memory...efforts have finally succeeded in having a statue of this fearless mare! Her statue was unveiled at Virginia's National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia on Friday 7/26/13.

    Reckless died in 1968 and is buried at Camp Pendleton.

    News Related Stories:
    July 25, 2013
    July 27, 2013
  • RachelRachel Member
    omg that is absolutely gorgeous!!
  • In early 2012, a large horse seizure in Many, Louisiana left 25 horses dead and at least 60 more starved and neglected. Among the survivors was a horse named Spanky, who was rescued by Remember Me Rescue. Placed in a loving, forever home in March of 2012, he now resides in Kentucky. Please read his story in my article about him:
  • RachelRachel Member
    & its in my Home State :D
  • In early 2012, a large horse seizure in Many, Louisiana left 25 horses dead and at least 60 more starved and neglected. Among the survivors was a horse named Spanky, who was rescued by Remember Me Rescue. Placed in a loving, forever home in March of 2012, he now resides in Kentucky. Please read his story in my article about him:
    Such a wonderful and happy new beginning for Spanky! Thank you very much for sharing...his story touched my heart very much!
  • The statue of Sgt.Reckless...just beautiful. What a tribute to her.
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