Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free At Last and a Few Airs Above the Ground

Yesterday, December 20th, Zenyatta got her first taste of freedom in her paddock at Lane’s End. She arrived 14 days ago, but the icy, frosty conditions slowed down her transition to farm life. Letting down a horse off the track requires patience and several gradual changes. Horses being “unwound” have different nutritional needs. You want “low energy” not “high energy” feeds. Pulling their shoes is always a good idea too. Being in a new environment, they need careful observation. And attention to every detail is important. It can be a stressful time for some, as the racetrack and its rigorous routine is all they know.

Is Zenyatta’s case, Mother Nature let everyone know she was still in charge. Kentucky has been cold and snowy. It’s not so much the cold, because most horses love the cold, but it is always about the footing. If the ground is icy and rutted, there is always a chance of a trip and a fall, especially for a horse that gets to running just out of sheer excitement and pent up energy. So this is what you want to avoid at all costs. A little low level tranq is always a good idea too, as it takes the edge off. I’m not saying they used it on Zenyatta, but it is usually the prudent thing to do.

Once a horse gets acclimated to their news surroundings, then you can gradually introduce other situations for them to experience. Most likely, what will be next for Zenyatta, in the upcoming days and weeks, will be to gradually introduce her to one or two other mares, until she is comfortable with them.Ultimately, she will be part of the broodmare band. This is the norm.

Pictures taken by photographer Barbara Livingston, show a happy, healthy horse. Zenyatta is now able to do “airs above the ground”… are we surprised? No, this mare can do it all! I think if you set up an oxer, she would just sail right over it, and look around and say “What else do you have for me?” Videos of her should be appearing soon on her Facebook page.


  1. What a wonderful letter and thank you, Barbara Livingston, a GREAT thoroughbred shooter. I have always enjoyed Barbara's photography.

  2. Srfotog,
    Thanks for visiting. The equine photographers bring everything to life for us when we can't be there ourselves!