Retrained and Remarkable Success Story: Dominant Racehorse to Gentle Giant for PA Pony Clubber
Giving the overlooked a chance to succeed.
A sweet chestnut gelding, Unforced was born just three months before his sire, Two Punch, was laid to rest at Northview Stallion Station in Maryland in 2011. A decent racehorse, the big horse made 20 starts and earned almost $22,000 before retiring from racing and entering the New Vocations Program.
Unforced arrived at New Vocation’s Marysville, Ohio, facility, where he spent 297 days in the program being rehabbed and retrained with trainer Amy Allison before finding his perfect person: Abi Sweger of Newville, PA. Though Amy thought Arlo would be best-suited with a male rider as his personality can be dominant and he gets strong, the sweet gelding has become a true gentle giant for Abi.
Letting Arlo Pick His Path
Abi adopted “Arlo” on April 29, 2017, with the intention of competing him in the 2018 New Vocations Pony Club Challenge in Tryon, N.C., in July. Though she would love to compete him in eventing, she has yet to determine what discipline he thrives in best. Abi is taking it slow to help discover just what Arlo loves to do.
“This winter I worked on building Arlo’s muscle and confidence, and we took him to his very first show, which reminded me that this is a ‘challenge,’” Abi laughs. “My goals for the future are to get him off the farm as much as possible and to get him to relax in a show setting before Tryon.”
Arlo is Abby’s first OTTB and she was concerned about just how long it would take to train him, but she needn’t have worried. “He catches on to things very quickly!” she says. “As Tryon approaches, I will need to expose Arlo to several new environments, new stimulation and build his trust in me to get him to where he has to be,” says Abi, who is C2 in the Central Penn Pony Club.
“Trust is going to play a big part in Tryon because there are times when Arlo loses confidence in himself and needs me to push him forward. I am planning on setting up difficult courses and putting him in challenging situations so that we will be fully prepared at Tryon,” she explains.
If You Give a Horse a Home ….
Arlo came to New Vocations with suspensory issues, from which he was successfully rehabilitated, but then pulled a shoe during turnout, clipping both heels in the process. He was still healing from the clipped front hooves when he was placed on the website for adoption. Amy made it clear that whomever adopted Arlo would need to take things slowly as Arlo came back into full work.
Abi chose not to do a pre-purchase exam on Arlo “because I knew I was going to be getting a horse who needed rehabilitation and I was willing to offer it,” she explains.
Abi overlooked Arlo’s past injury, knowing that a prior injury doesn’t dictate that the horse can’t have a successful second career. “Although adoption may seem scary or overwhelming, it is 100 percent worth it to build an unbreakable bond while helping a horse into a better life and making you into a better rider.
New Vocations is so thankful for owners like Abi who adopt athletes like Unforced, giving them a wonderful life and a chance at a second career.
Can you give a Retrained and Remarkable horse a home? Visit www.newvocations.org to view all available horses.