TOUCHING MY TOES is our tallest and longest-bodied sanctuary resident. She is big, bold, and beautiful.
Looking at Toes today, it is hard to imagine how she looked at the we rescued her. In March of 2019, TOES was part of a cruelty and neglect case under the management of the Columbia-Greene SPCA. She was one of eight female Thoroughbreds that Unbridled took in. When we met TOES, she was exhausted, worn to a shadow of her former self. Her coat was caked with manure, and covered with patches of rain rot. She was about 350-lbs underweight and wasted to the point that her body had begun to feed on its own muscle.
Her untrimmed hooves compounded the pain of her infirmities. While training and racing, TOES suffered a knee injury, bowed tendon, fetlock joint degeneration, and trauma enough to calcify her ankle and fuse her pastern joint; all in her left front. She struggled to balance her lanky frame and what little weight she had on three legs, not four.
Toes raced from the age two until five, in 27 starts she earned $244,905. As a registered NY-Bred she generated an additional $50,000 in Breeder and Stallion Awards. When her career ended, she had tallied four wins, each with a different trainer; Mark Hennig, Linda Rice, David Jacobsen, and Robert Barbara. As a "claimer" on the NYRA circuit she was jostled from stable-to-stable. What ailed her went unnoticed, untreated, and unrested.
In her final start at Belmont Park (06/22/2016), Toes broke out of the gate and commanded the lead. At the top of the stretch, jockey Jose Lezcano began whipping TOES for the win. She switched to her right lead and with all her might continued to pull her body forward. At the sixteenth pole her stride shortened and weariness took over as her left leg began to collapse. Under the unrelenting threat of the whip, she held on for the second place prize of $5,000.
Before the race, a $12,500 claim had been submitted for TOES. She appeared to be a bargain, having already earned over $239,000 and finishing in the money more often than not. The claim meant that immediately after the race, her ownership would be transferred and she would leave the track and go straight into a new stable, for the fifth time in the hands of a stranger.
Just past the wire Lezcano stood up in the irons and pulled TOES to a stop. She was running on three legs. As she hobbled onto the horse ambulance, the claim was made void. As the ambulance rolled away, so did the future TOES could have lived.
At the age of five, TOES, a stunningly gorgeous 17-hand mare was permanently lame. Diagnostic imaging revealed a history layered with soft tissue damage and deterioration in her joints. Had TOES been regularly x-rayed, provided time to rest and recovery between races, and retired sound, she would have had two more decades of active engagement in dressage, showing, and pleasure riding.
TOES gave every drop of her heart and soul for the asking. She was maimed and wounded in service to the desire of others. Yet that wasn’t enough to protect her from the greed of getting one more race out of her, or the indifference of forcing her to carry and nurse a foal while having only three legs to bear weight.
TOES spent the entirety of her career in NY, yet not a dime for her aftercare was set aside for her retirement, nor any provision made by NYRA, NYTHA, or NY Breeders. Her story is that of untold thousands of racehorses who give every last drop of themselves for the asking, and when they are no longer 'useful' they cease to be worthy of support.
At Unbridled, TOES is beloved and celebrated. She is always a favorite of visitors. As a member of our sanctuary herd, TOES brings joy to all who meet, smooch and #smoozzle with her. Young people are drawn to her gentleness. Her patience to groom, practice leg wraps, and lead to and from her stall instills much confidence in students as they engage such a big horse.
Every day with TOES is a precious gift. Her long-term prognosis is not good. With much love, Adequan and Legend, and careful management, we maintain her comfort.
You can become an integral part of Toes unbridled life by virtually adopting her and joining us in supporting her care and dignity.
Toes requires $22 per day to cover her special needs. You can support Toes with a one-time annual sponsorship of $7,500, or
a monthly giving plan of $675 (or any increment thereof), or by becoming one of her Adequan Angels.
Every dollar is a precious gift to Toes.
Registered Name: Touching My Toes
Born in New York on March 13, 2011
Sired by Wild Desert Out of Frances G by Officer
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