Full Boat wasn't just an average horse. He was a graded stakes winner, and placed in multiple stakes races, earning close to $100k on the racetrack. With a Speed Index of 111, he was fast.... very fast. That talent, much too often, means just one thing: that fast horse will be raced right into the ground. Sadly, that appears to be exactly what happened to Full Boat.
His last official race at Los Alamitos, was in November 2012. Full Boat reportedly ended up sometime after that, with a fractured sesamoid and was subsequently retired from the track. Since then, where he has been is really not clear. We can only speculate based on what we have seen happen over and over again to the race horses who are placed off the track, only to show up at auction a short time later, much worse for the wear. It is presumed Full Boat has been "match raced" over the last year. The condition of his leg, a testament to the hard use he has endured when he was really only sound for light riding, if even that. The swollen, deformed left foreleg, hard and set from an irreversible injury, was recently clipped and bleached pale from a last ditch attempt at "blistering" it back into serviceable use. An attempt that was clearly unsuccessful. We wish we could believe there was some other reason for it than attempting to pull the last few dollars out of him. However, a horse in his condition, brought to auction, speaks clearly to the lack of care or concern for this once proud horse.
We rescued Full Boat at Saturday's auction for two reasons: the shock, horror and distress we felt at leaving such a seriously injured horse behind, and at the same time, struck by his exceptionally kind and considerate demeanor. He was so composed, even in the high-stress environment of the auction and over the last few days, even though clearly in pain, has conducted himself as nothing less than a very classy gentleman, making his circumstances all the more heartbreaking.
While he was walking mostly sound the day after auction, unfortunately, that was only short lived as day two saw his condition rapidly decline. His prospective retirement home was notified and today the vet came to assess his leg and help us determine the best and most humane course of action for this lovely boy, who had already endured so much. It was decided that all quality of life has long since passed as even on high dose bute, he spent most of the last few days lying down or holding the foot in a way to alleviate the pain. Perhaps a year ago he could have held up as a companion but, by now, the damage was simply too extensive. In the end, we decided the kindest thing was to let Full Boat go.
There is a concrete reason we pull out all the stops trying to get these race horses to a safe place when we find them at auction. So many seem to end up like Full Boat, either injured, emaciated or broken beyond repair. Perhaps it's the fall from grace we find so disturbing but make no mistake, these horses need rescue.
Rest in peace sweet boy, run free with no more pain.
Thank you April for your help caring for Full Boat these last few days. Your generosity is always appreciated.
If you would like to help with Full Boat's euthanasia bill, ($300), please donate through our websitehttp://www.auctionhorsesrescue.com/donate.html