PROSPECT, Ky. (WAVE) - Thoroughbreds are fast, but their careers move even faster.
“It’s always really hard to see them go,” Kirsten Fada said. “Once they’re out of your care, you worry where they’re going to go, what’s going to happen from there.”
Fada, an exercise rider and assistant trainer, has seen many horses come and go, but sometimes it’s hard not to fall in love like she did with a playful and kindhearted horse like Inked.
“I just really loved his giant head, but besides that, just his absolute willing disposition” Fada said. “From day one, he always wanted to do anything you asked him to do. He was always so calm, and he just invited you into his world.”
Fada got to name Inked after her boyfriend bought him as a yearling in 2017 at Keenland. They spent the summer together at Canterbury in Minnesota.
“That was really special, to give a horse confidence on their first couple moments on the track. We really created a strong bond and he taught me a lot which is really neat,” Fada said.
That winter, Inked was raced in Arkansas where he was sold to another trainer, and Fada never thought she would see him again.
She followed his career from Iowa, to Wyoming, and finally Oregon, where he dropped off the radar.
“I just kind of almost try to forget about it,” Fada said. “You’re better off not knowing as they don’t always end up in a good spots.”
Luckily, Fada wasn’t the only one keeping tabs on him; his breeder was also following along.
“Her mission was to make sure he ended up in a good spot, and when it seemed like it was unknown, she made sure that she stepped in,” Fada said.
Riding her other off-the-track thoroughbred, Ryman, at Moserwood Farms, Fada heard Second Stride, an organization for retired racehorses, came in with a new round. One of them was red with a big head.
“I blurted out, ‘That’s my horse,’” Fada said.
Inked has a story to tell about the year and a half he’s been away, but you would never guess these two had been separated at all.
“This is our second ride together,” Fada said Friday. “To go over the jumps are no issue for him. He’s [saying], ‘Yes ma’am, I’m glad to try.’”
Inked is still a sweet southern gentleman, but he’s had a rough time and he’s not the strong shiny two year old Fada remembers.
“He’s in 14 acres of beautiful grass here now. In 30 days he will be a whole new horse,” Fada said.
She has now adopted him and is training him for life off the track.
“The biggest thing is for them to have purpose,” Fada said, “The more training they have behind them, it keeps them out of those bad places. When they come fresh off the track and they’re just put into whatever hands are there to grab them, it’s difficult. So, to have programs like Second Stride, it makes such a huge difference.”
Inked is finally back in his old Kentucky home.
“We’ve been on our own journeys and it’s lead us right to here, so now it’s time to do it together,” Fada said.