It’s now February and I’ve had Baron since Thanksgiving. We’ve had a chance to get to know each other and develop a good rapport. I discovered a few of his quirks as well. He is the only horse I’ve ever met who doesn’t like apples. He mouths them and spits them out. He does love peppermints and carrots, however. He gets very irritable about his food and water. He pins his ears when being fed or when I’m giving him a bucket of fresh water. He never nips or acts aggressive; it’s more like he’s showing impatience. When I first got him, he would have to inspect everything I tried to touch him with or put on him. He would have to sniff the curry comb, the brush, the hoof pick, the saddle pad and the saddle before he would submit to being groomed or tacked up. It was as if he had to make sure he could trust me. Now he doesn’t even glance around when I groom him or tack him up. Thankfully, he has developed trust in me. His most charming habit is that he licks like a puppy dog. He will lick my hands and arms for minutes at a time, like he’s grooming me. He probably just likes the salt on my skin, but it’s sweet nonetheless. He loves to be groomed. He sighs and raspberries his lips and turns his head around to watch me brush him. He is very inquisitive, which I think is a sign of intelligence. He is interested in everything, particularly other horses. He is extremely vocal as well. He whinnies more than any other horse I’ve ever been around. When he whinnies, he sounds hoarse, like he has a sore throat. I heard from someone in the racing industry that this means his vocal cords were surgically shortened to keep him from being so loud. They only do this to expensive horses, so he was of considerable value to someone at some point in his past.
I’ve done some research on him and found out that he was foaled in Kentucky on February 18, 2003. He was sold as a yearling for $21,500 and again as a two year old for $175,000. Hard to believe that I paid $2,500 for him as a five year old. He was raced nine times total and had one win, one place and one show. He raced in Santa Anita, Tampa Bay Downs, and Finger Lakes, NY. He was trained for a while by Bob Baffert, who I’m told is a big deal in the racing industry. He showed little talent for racing however, so he was quickly sold off. So many racehorses end up at the slaughterhouse, and I am so thankful that I was able to find Baron. He was lucky enough to be owned by a trainer (Stacy Torelli) who saw to it that he left the track for a better home. I am eternally grateful to Heather Buras, who sold Baron to me. She buys horses off the track, does a little rehab on them and then resells them as sport horse prospects. Thank God for people like her. They keep talented, athletic horses from being turned into dog food.