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Changing from "Hello Walls" to "CC" - a CANTER Project

Reena Rosskopf
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Changing from "Hello Walls" to "CC" - a CANTER Project

Postby Reena Rosskopf on Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:55 pm

I began volunteering with CANTER, a 501c3 Equine Non-Profit, about two years ago. CANTER is an acronym that stands for “Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses.” This National NonProfit began in 1997 in Michigan, as a way to help racehorses find new careers off the track. Equestrians have long known about the incredible potential of the Off-Track-Thoroughbred to excel in new careers, from pleasure to sporthorse - but they often had no way to connect with the generally elusive “racetrack backside.” CANTER began by creating a network between racetrack industry professionals and the general equestrian community via internet listings of racehorses for sale. This network quickly became a national sensation - and CANTER grew to include affiliates around the country.

As the program grew, many affiliates incorporated a “CANTER Phase II” program, in which racehorse owners donate their retiring horse to CANTER. CANTER supports these horses in their evaluation, rehabilitation, medical expenses, and ultimately re-starts them under saddle so they may be adopted into a suitable new home. They are 100% volunteer run, and work with many excellent professional rehabilitation facilities & trainers with the hope of giving these ex-racehorses the best chance possible at a new life.

I am the Race Track Liaison/Coordinator for the CANTER California affiliate. Most my weekends are spent walking the shedrows at my local racetrack – talking to trainers, owners, grooms – making my presence known as a resource. I take photos for the listings, gather the information, and help get the word out to the equestrian community that an ex-racehorse is looking for a new home. Some of these horses are ultimately donated to our “CANTER Phase II” program! “Hello Walls” was one of these horses.

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*My 1st Glimpse at "Hello Walls" at the Racetrack*

We were told that a mare named “Hello Walls” was in need of a new home off the track. She was bred in New York & run in Southern California without success. She shipped to Northern California, but failed to show promise in race training… so she took up a dreary residence in one of the many stalls. Life was pretty dull for her – going between a dingy dark shedrow, to the hot walker, then back to the gloomy stall. She was sour, and the man caring for her knew it. She began cribbing & was starting to get nasty – pinning her ears, nipping - he knew her chances of finding a good home off the track were slim.

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*"Hello Walls" was bored & unhappy at the Racetrack - she began cribbing & was extremely cranky*

CANTER had an opening in our “Phase II” Program, so “Hello Walls” came to join the herd. She would be working under a new volunteer Trainer, Diana, who has extensive experience as a Hunter/Jumper Equestrian on the East Coast. With the support of our Adoption Director, Kate, a USDF Bronze Medalist & our Executive Director, Ali, a lifelong equestrian who not only excelled as an Eventer, but also earned an American Vaulting Association gold metal – Diana would take the lead on “Hello Walls” transition into a new life.

This was the 1st time I was able to follow a horse from the track through the program – which was very special to me. I admit I was a little nervous after I met the mare at the track. Many of these horses have kind & loving temperaments – even on the track – but this mare seemed angry & miserable. When she 1st stepped off the trailer to her new home, I was expecting a wild woman. All I knew was a cranky mare in a dark stall that had not been doing anything of interest for the past 3 months. To my surprise – she walked off like a complete lady – calm, willing, and interested in her new sunny beautiful surroundings.
Almost instantly, she bonded to Diana – following her around, looking for her when she walked away, ears pricked & gaze forward as she approached. Was this the same horse I saw just two days ago?

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*Diana & "Hello Walls" the 1st Day in the "CANTER Phase II Program"*

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*"Hello Walls" seemed to immediately bond with Diana!This mare was so focused on her & obviously knew she found a friend!*

Diana developed a blog (http://lovehellowalls.tumblr.com/) – covering her progress with this mare, we now call “CC” in honor of Coco Chanel (“Hello Walls” is extremely feminine and has that wonderful brave & confident nature). What a joy to watch this mare transition… literally from head to hoof. Her feet were in dire need of a good trim when she arrived, she needed to gain some weight & muscle; she needed to find herself again, learn new things, and develop both her mind and body.

The transformation in just three months was amazing. “CC” had virtually stopped cribbing nearly 100% (just on occasion around feeding time). She was friendly, loving; gentle… her eyes had softened. Physically, her coat was gleaming, her muscles developing, her belly relaxed. She was happy.

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“CC” continues to develop in the program while she waits for a new home. She is currently available for adoption & should make a lovely pleasure mount for a teen or adult amateur. She may have not won on the track – but “CC” has one of the most winning personalities we’ve seen!

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*"CC" (JC: Hello Walls) is a totally different horse in just a few months! Available for adoption - she'll make someone very happy!*

CANTER CA would love to take each and every racehorse that needed a home into the program – in order to give that horse the best chance possible – but we are limited by funding. The more funding – the more horses we can help transition into new careers! Donations are 100% tax deductible and most importantly – all the money goes directly to the care of horses like “CC.”

To learn more about CANTER, “CC” & the other CANTER CA “Phase II” Program Horses, or to make a donation – please visit the web site at http://www.canterusa.org/california .

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