Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gamblon Horton & His Friend

"Gamblon Horton made it to 37 today. In the last year, he has developed cataracts and his hearing isn't the best, but he is doing exceptionally well for a horse his age and physically looks really good."

On January 1st almost each year, that post is made on a chat board, and people love seeing it.

It is from horse owner Keith Gamble. Keith is not a trainer, did not win the powerball or anything. He is a regular guy who keeps his retired racehorses near him and gives them the care they deserve.

It has been a tough year with his horses. Recently 26 year old Gamblon Jazzy passed and he was worried how Horton would take it.

"The first week of December, I went out to the barn and found Gamblon Jazzy dead in her stall. She was Horton's girlfriend for years and I wasn't sure how he would be, but he took it in stride. He has seen a lot of horses die." he wrote via a private exchange (which I have gained permission for).

In addition, Horton's pal Gamblon Sambo has had a tough run too.

"The next week Gamblon Sambo [another old boy] got colic and things were not looking too good for him. After a couple visits from the vet and about $1200 later after trying just about everything, we put him on some medication for ulcers and knock on wood he has seemed okay for the last week. It looked for a period of time like Horton was going to be the last man standing. I keep my fingers crossed that Horton goes before Sam so he will always have a buddy in the field, because he likes company where Sam couldn't care less."

As for Horton, Keith tells me that he still has some spunk, but feeding is a bit of a chore:

"He still does a half ass gallop when he gets excited and he is a little harder to feed now with few teeth left but I soak his hay cubes all day so they are like a thick soup and his grain I mix with apples, corn oil and hot water and turn it into a porridge. The vet was out a week ago and said Horton looks fantastic."

Gamblon Horton has now outlived several of his human racetrack connections. His racing lines are a walk down memory lane (I remember seeing old programs with him in them as a young fella). And he is alive and well for another New Year.

Keith is a tough as nails - a friend says "he has a rough exterior with a huge heart" - but toughness and kindness are not mutually exclusive.

It is often said that your strength as a person shows when you do something honorable when nobody is looking. Keith does not want anyone to know about what he does. In fact, I pointedly asked if I could even use his name in this story, because I know he wants it all to be about the horses.

For years upon years he has spent time, money and probably shed a tear over his retired racehorses not for a medal or an award, but because it is what good people do.

Character and honor are two things I hold in high esteem, and Keith Gamble has them.

Happy New Year to Keith, and Happy Birthday to Gamblon Sambo and Gamblon Horton. I hope you know lucky you are.

If you would like to help retired horses find their way, and are a standardbred lover like Keith is, please see our feature on New Horizon, which we wrote about a couple of years ago.As their website says ""There is no greater form of self
revelation than to look in the eyes of a
rescued horse."


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Horton. Awesome!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

That's a nice story. Happy new year to eveyone who works and cares with these animals.

Most Trafficked, Last 12 Months


Carryovers Provide Big Reach and an Immediate Return

Sinking marketing money directly into the horseplayer by seeding pools is effective, in both theory and practice In Ontario and elsewher...