Sunday, April 14, 2013

Diary of Dexter: Reunited

In the summer of 2012, my first off-the-track Thoroughbred, Wet Paint (A.K.A. Dexter) departed my home for “boot camp” with my older sister. He had been showing behavioral issues while being ridden and as a result, he found himself under my sister’s care as she worked on his problems. Other than a pair of very brief visits, I spent months away from my very first Thoroughbred.

But circumstances lined up in an order that resulted in Dexter returning home. On the day he returned, I arrived home and instead of going into the house first, I immediately went to greet him. Exhibiting the same “puppy personality” he has shown since I first met him, Dexter plodded towards me, allowing me to rub his face.

Photo by Mary Cage (iPhone photo)
Two days later, I led Dexter into the barn for our first ride in countless months. Trudging along as if he’d just galloped five miles, I saddled Dexter – an eight-year-old gelding sired by Chelsey Cat (by Storm Cat) and out of a Lost Code mare – before leading him into the round pen to longe him.

As expected, Dexter’s lazy attitude had been an act. Cantering around the ring at full speed, I longed Dexter for several minutes before I finally climbed aboard him. As I settled into the saddle, I thought back to when I very first rode him, when the initial thought that ran through my mind was, “Wow. I’m riding my very own Thoroughbred.”

With a smile, our ride began. Although Dexter did display hints of old bad habits, he behaved rather well and cantered better than ever before. As it had in the past, his canter filled me with joy, making me feel alive as his red mane whipped in wind before me as we rode around.

To end the ride, Dexter and I had a little fun going over a small log – used for a practice trail course – lying on the ground in the pasture. We began crossing it at just a walk before moving up to a trot and, eventually, a canter. It was incredibly fun.

After his ride, I gave Dexter a long bath underneath the warm April sun. His red coat, now soaked, gleamed a dark mahogany. Once he had dried, I turned him out, but not before allowing him to visit Miss Fifty. The two eagerly touched noses and I couldn’t help but think they could be swapping stories of their racing days.

Fifty and Dexter
Photo by Mary Cage (iPhone photo)

It is a joy to not only have Dexter back, but to know that he and Fifty practically live in my backyard. It has always been a dream of mine to own an ex-racehorse and now I have two – both of which are very special horses that are dear to my heart.


  1. Your writing makes me really happy, Mary! Thanks so much for sharing your love of horses. I wish you lived closer- we would definitely be friends! :)

    1. Aw, thank you! I'm glad to hear that. And I definitely agree! Hopefully we'll see each other at RMR sometime soon!