Tall Oaks In Action

Breeding season was in full swing, but being the middle of May only a dozen of Tall Oak’s twenty four priceless broodmares grazed in the thirty acre pasture. The rest were still off at stud farms and would remain there until the fall. Josie pushed a wheelbarrow of soiled bedding down the aisle of the racing barn at the quaint but highly reputable farm. Usually the racing barn was empty this time of the year but several racers had been shipped home for some R&R at the request of the head trainer John. Chris, her aunt and farm owner had agreed so for the time being eight of the farm’s active racers were enjoying some time at home. Chris was concerned about a few of them. Three of the mares that had come home were still not adjusting and although that was to be expected if they didn’t start improving Josie knew the vet would be called. “Hey Tizzy” Josie called to the black Tiznow daughter and the sweet mare threw her head over the stall door and nickered gently. Josie grinned at the kind Thoroughbred’s greeting. Unlike some of the others Tizzy had bounced back with style and if she continued to improve Chris would surely send her to Belmont in about three weeks. Wonder’s Princess snorted, and poked her bay nose out into the aisle upon hearing voices. “Hey Princess.” Josie said kissing the Ashleigh’s Wonder’s daughter’s nose. Tizzy touched her black nose to Princess’s bay one briefly before returning to her hay. Princess would be shipping out soon, she would’ve gone by now but Josie’s aunt was waiting a few more days until she found the right race for the steeplechaser.

Pausing at the barn doors Josie hugged herself not quite believing she was still here, at the birthplace of the Eclipse Award winner One Lucky Soul. She hadn’t been thrilled when her parents informed her she would have to move to Tall Oaks to help out her aunt. She had hated leaving Georgia to go to New York. Georgia had been freeing, rolling hills and quarter horses in the field near her home. As it turned out Tall Oaks was out in the country, one of a couple farms on the country road Josie had seen after catching a taxi from the airport. Now a year and a half later Josie had grown to love the elegant but understated farm. Most of what the farm earned went back into the farm, acquiring new stock and covering additional expenses. Josie grabbed the handles of the wheelbarrow and pushed it across the gravel pathway toward the manure pile that was just beyond a grove of trees on the other side of the smallest barn on the grounds. This barn held the retired horses with the exception of Whirl It who after retiring from breeding after foaling a Gimme A Shot daughter several years ago. Chris had opted to retire her due to sentimental reasons, the chestnut had gotten up there in age and had had some difficulty foaling Sparks Fly but another reason had been because Chris felt there weren’t that many stallions suitable to cover the Whirlaway daughter. Having been bred to greats such as A.P. Indy, Irish River, Cross Roads, Gimme A Shot, Jazz It Up, Lucky Cigar and Townsend Prince, Josie had to agree with her aunt Whirl It had pretty much been bred to all the top stallions and it was better to end Whirl’s breeding career with a strong, proven sire like Gimme A Shot.

Josie also knew Chris was anxious to have Flawless Dancer and Sparks Fly become broodmares but for now John had them both in training. Flawless was slated to race in a steeplechase in only a couple of days to see if the temperamental mare took to the jumps better than she had to the flat.

will be continued…