From Raucous Race Horse to Beloved Jumper
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From Raucous Race Horse to Beloved Jumper

Thewifedoesntknow held the promise of a storied career as a race horse, but retired at age 5 to be a Hunter/Jumper. Carole & Liz Davison
Fleetwood Equestrian

UPDATE: On March 9, 2017 at 3:30 A.M, Ally (Thewifedoesntknow) gave birth to her first foal, a colt to be named Fleetwood Hill. He is sired by the great American Warmblood sire, Nob Hill, who stands at Hyperion Stud Farm in Virginia. Congratulations to Ally, and to Carole and Liz Davidson. We are going to be watching for great things from this little guy in the coming years!

With greats like Seattle Slew and Secretariat in her bloodline, Thewifedoesntknow held the promise of a storied career as a race horse. But after 32 starts and only 3 wins, she retired at age 5 and ended up like many Thoroughbreds that come off the track – looking for a new home and a new job, but with little training or experience in anything but racing. Little did she know she would end up one of the luckiest OTTBs (Off-The-Track-Thoroughbreds) in the world. Within just a few weeks of her retirement as a racehorse, she was “adopted” by Carole and Liz Davison, the mother and daughter who own and run Fleetwood Equestrian Services in Howell, NJ. And although Howell is not far from Monmouth Park, Thewifedoesntknow’s home track, her life was to become very different than it had been there.

 

 

Carole and Liz saw something in Thewifedoesntknow, now known around the barn as “Ally-Gator ” or just “Ally”, that made them believe in her potential as a show horse, specifically a Hunter or Jumper. And with their extensive experience training Hunter/Jumpers, they were confident they were just the right people to do it. Carole will tell you she liked Ally from the start; not only her conformation, but her sweet, curious attitude and kind eye.

Fast forward almost 4 years.

Ally is now a favorite around the barn at San Sue Acres in Howell, home of Fleetwood Equestrian Services. Not only is she being schooled and getting ready to start her career as a Jumper, but the Davisons are planning on breeding her in hopes of passing some of her attributes on to another generation of show horses. But it hasn’t all been easy. The challenge from the outset was how to take a horse raised as a serious athlete, with all the history that entails, and train it into something a little more controlled and refined.

Among the many issues the Davisons came upon very quickly was how to feed Ally. Race horses are traditionally fed large amounts of grain in addition to hay. This is done because they must have a lot of calories in order to maintain the energy they require for both training and racing. The downside of such a diet is that it can make a horse very “hot” or full of energy that it just has to get out. Think of a six- year-old that has just had two pieces of chocolate cake and a large soda at a birthday party and you’ll get the picture.

Despite her kind nature, the Davisons struggled to find a feeding program that would keep Ally fit, but take off some of the “heat” that comes with a diet heavy in grains. During those first couple of years with Liz and Carole, Ally, although loved and well-cared-for, became well-known for her antics when on a lunge line or when being ridden for the first time in a few days – not standing still, prancing and flagging her tail, or worse yet, bucking and kicking as she tried to get her wiggles out. This was not what Carole and Liz wanted.

Almost ready to give up, and with Ally officially for sale, Liz and Carole met two of the founders of Equine Health Sciences in February 2015 at a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania horse expo. After Carole explained her situation to them, they offered her (and Ally) a challenge: drastically reduce the grain in Ally’s diet and get her on a ration of hay only, supplemented and two small scoops of their product, Dr. Thornley’s Hay Balancer®, each day. Skeptical at first, the Davison agreed to try the suggested feeding regimen on two of their horses: Ally (Thewifedoesntknow) and an Appaloosa gelding used for lessons named Cinnamon, who wasn’t quiet as hot as Ally, but did have a bit more spunk then Carole wanted in a lesson horse.

 

 

The results were nothing short of remarkable. Within days, Carole called the folks at Equine Health Sciences to ask what kind of magic they had performed to calm her horse down so much. Founder Tyler Phillips assured here there was no magic, but Ally was simply feeling better and hence acting better without all that starch in her diet that was coming from being fed so much grain. She was also beginning to feel the benefits of balanced vitamins and minerals as well as a healthy gut, all known to calm “nervous” horses. And what about Cinnamon? The story was the same. After a few weeks with Hay Balancer® in his diet, he was calm, quiet and easy to handle, so much so that Carole began to trust him with even her most novice riders.

Now, a year later, the success that Ally and Cinnamon have had with Dr. Thornley’s Hay Balancer® as part of their regular diet has been contagious. Almost every horse in the care of Fleetwood Equestrian Services is being fed Hay Balancer®, and grains have been almost completely eliminated. Carole and Liz are seeing improvement in all their horses and their clients’ horses that go well beyond better attitudes. These include better hooves, improved coat and hair quality, better body condition, and improved feed utilization. And it is no small thing that it has also simplified their barn-wide feeding routine as well as saved them the cost of all those grain products.

If you ask Liz and Carole, they will tell you that finding Dr. Thornley’s Hay Balancer® was the second luckiest thing that ever happened to them - right after finding Thewifedoesntknow and making her a part of their family.