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Robo Cop

What Thoroughbred Feet Could All Be Like


From Sally in California :

After reading Lyrical Hal's wonderful story, I figured that I had better get off my rear end and send you something about my TB, Robo Cop.

Robo Cop was on his way to the slaughterhouse with a bunch of other young TB horses 2 years ago. They were starved and wild - no one had ever touched them, and nobody wanted them. Joe Shelton of TB Friends in Woodland bought the entire truckload of youngsters and brought them to his ranch. They were gentled and fed, the colts gelded. Joe named my horse Robo Cop because he said that when he came off the truck he walked right up to him and got in his face. Joe loves to give horses strange names.

In April of 2004 I lost a beloved young horse that I had raised from a foal. I was heartbroken, but needed to find another horse, because my other two are semi-retired and can't be expected to keep doing the kind of riding activities that I do. I heard about TB Friends and went to visit. Joe rescues TBs from the track and the killers. He has over a hundred horses there at any time and I spent hours looking. Nothing seemed like "the one", and I was ready to go home when Joe took me over to see Robo Cop. He looked absolutely horrible - just a pathetic, scrawny colt. It was love at first sight - I decided right then to take him.

It's been quite an adventure, but Robo is my dream come true. He was barely halter broke when I brought him home and no one had ever picked up his feet. The poor, scrawny, wild little colt has blossomed into a beautiful 16.2h horse with the most amazing athletic talent. I

started him under saddle myself and have him headed towards a future career as a field hunter. Best of all, he is my "rock crunching TB". He has feet like iron and gallops over rocks like they don't exist. I attribute much of his toughness to the fact that he was never shod and he lives a natural lifestyle up here in the Sierra Mountains.

There were a few things that needed attention when I started trimming him, but he is largely a self trimming horse most of the year. As you can see in the photos, his feet are not textbook "perfect", but they work beautifully for him. One tends to be a little more upright than the other, but I don't try to make them match. His feet are still developing and growing, too. The starvation he suffered delayed some of his growth - he has grown 2" in height since last year. I expect that his feet will be mature sometime next year after he turns 5.

He is now being ridden on my mountain trails. He is just a remarkable horse. I have mostly ridden TBs over the last 30 years, so I am familiar with their feet. I think the best thing is if they never wear shoes to begin with. So many are shod early, if they ever raced, and it destroys their feet.

I hope that Robo Cop's story inspires more people to consider TBs, besides being beautiful and elegant, as sturdy, tough footed animals.

Please remember that wonderful horses just like Robo Cop are at the killer pens awaiting that trip to the slaughterhouse every day. If you can rescue just one, it will change your life forever.


Check out TB Friends in Woodland, a TB rescue ranch.

Linda Cowles Hoof Care
Serving the greater SF Bay Area & Northern California
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