Social media has proven itself to be an excellent marketing platform not only for businesses but for non-profits. CANTER, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding racehorses homes after their time on the track is through, has greatly benefited from this. Potential horse owners are benefiting too, which can be seen through the great story of Ginger and Morgan.
The story of Ginger and Morgan began before Ginger even came home with Morgan. Morgan’s friend shared CANTER with her on Facebook and thus she went to Hawthorne Racetrack to look at potential horses for one of her clients. That is when she first laid eyes on a chestnut mare named Reality Star.
“She was very HOT. Very spicy, didn’t want to walk flat footed on the lead,” explained Morgan. “She would have been way too much for my client. But, I thought she was perfect for me.”
At the time, however, Morgan was not in the market for a new horse. Her previous mare (and first horse) had passed away just four months prior and so she left the track empty handed. But despite the mares hot demeanor, Morgan couldn’t stop thinking about her. The mare had truly touched something inside of her.
“I hemmed and hawed and talked to her trainer. I wasn’t sure I was ready. I wasn’t sure I could retrain a horse off the track,” said Morgan.
Even with her doubts, Morgan couldn’t bring herself to let the horse get away from her. On February 24, 2018, Morgan brought her new mare home.
Ginger, the mare was called, transitioned much easier than Morgan expected her to. Morgan worked with her vet to change the mare’s diet and had her in a small paddock for turnout. “I worked extensively on groundwork with her for about 6 weeks after I got her and just let her chill out,” said Morgan. “Eventually she transitioned from a small paddock to a 2 acre pasture.”
As if she finally realized she was no longer living the life of a racehorse, the once hot Ginger went quiet. “No spook, no buck, no bolt, nothing,” explained Morgan. “I took my time, though. Didn’t rush her. She’s not the type of horse you can force to do anything, but I think that’s how all Thoroughbreds are.”
The two competed in some flat classes last summer, but have yet to compete this season due to Morgan’s dedication to training for Arabian Sport Horse Nationals with her gelding. “She’s doing really well jumping 2’, though, and we will probably compete September 14-15 at a local show. Then indoors during the winter for Hunters!”
Daily life is good for the two of them. Morgan does her barn chores in the morning before she heads to work. If it is going to be hot, she will ride Ginger before work. If it’s not, she heads to the barn as soon as she gets off work to saddle up. “Right now we work on suppleness, lateral work, and lots of circles for balance,” Morgan described. They also work on straightness when they jump. “She’s got a natural eye for distance - very talented in that department,” Morgan added.
“Sometimes we ride in the hay field. Lots of walking to cool out or trotting to build up her cardio. A little cantering if she can keep her head. She gets so excited and wants to RUN! One day we will!”
Off Track Thoroughbreds are known to change the lives of the people they come across. They teach them and make them better. This is something that Morgan would attest to: “She’s made me a million times better rider and trainer.”
“I think their work ethic and tenacity makes them different from other breeds I have worked with. They have great energy, but it’s focused. You have to focus on channeling that energy in a creative way for them to excel,” Morgan described. “And if they’re off track, they have seen it all and done it all, so not much really catches them off guard.”
Morgan and Ginger’s story wouldn’t exist without the wonderful help of CANTER’s Chicago chapter. This organization has helped countless horses find their perfect home and Ginger is no exception.
It is no surprise that when asked if she recommended CANTER, Morgan said yes. “They are SO SPOT ON with their assessment of Ginger. She was everything they said she was. Couldn’t recommend them enough!”
Author - Kaeli Bartholomew: I run Champions of the Track as a way to spread the love of horse racing through writing, photography, and videography. The best way to increase the popularity and respect for this sport is by sharing stories and memories! Thank you for joining me on my mission to improve and grow the sport of horse racing.
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