Trooper’s story is one of glamour, sadness, faith, hope, & love. The story is a common one. Trooper’s story ended with happiness … many do not.
Trooper is a Standardbred race horse. He was born in 2005 on a big prominent breeding farm in Illinois. Named & registered as Bill’s Iscape, his dad is Artsplace, a VERY successful pacer. His mom is Teatime Hall, the dam of a handful of very noteworthy racers.
Bill raced from 2008 to 2010, being in and out of the limelight throughout his racing career. Having won a total of $31,105, he was retired from racing at age 5. He just didn’t have what he needed to be more competitive. Throughout his racing years Bill was pampered & treated well like most race horses are. But then he was sold.
There is a span of ten years that we can’t track. Ten years of no records to show where Bill was or what his job may have been. We assume Bill had been sold to the Amish and lived a life of a carriage horse. That’s common for Standardbreds that are retired from racing. Although we assume he was treated well, life as an Amish carriage horse is very demanding. It’s a life of long drives on hard roads and more often than not, a life of health and leg problems.
At some point, after ten years, Bill was sold and found at an auction in Pennsylvania. He had been beaten up by other auction horses, was depressed, and extremely thin and underweight. His fate was unknown until he was discovered and saved by the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.
In March of this year, the VonThun family was looking for a horse to add to their riding lesson program. Someone had suggested adopting a Standardbred from SRF, which led Cindy to do some research on the breed & organization. Kristie & Kellie agreed to look at a few of the retirement foundation’s rescue horses just to please their mom.
Bill far from impressed Kristie & Kellie the day they met, but there was something about Bill that tugged on Cindy’s heartstrings, and within two weeks Bill was brought to the farm as a temporary foster. He was quickly renamed Trooper, as it was apparent that he must had been a real trooper to withstand all he had been through. It didn’t take long for the old, skinny, broken horse to become a favorite of the barn kids and the quest to help him gain a few hundred pounds was a challenge accepted by all.
There was no doubt that Trooper wasn’t a lesson horse … he had only been actually ridden TWICE before he arrived here at the barn! Trooper needed lessons himself to unlearn all his racing training and learn how to become a riding horse.
Just before Mother’s Day this year Kristie & Kellie called SRF to officially adopt Trooper. They then gathered all the barn kids and gifted Trooper to Cindy as a combination Mother’s Day/Birthday gift. There wasn’t a dry eye in the barn when it was announced that Trooper had found his forever home & was at the barn to stay!
Trooper’s training is still a work in progress, but after being at the farm for just three months he’s gained weight and has more than proven himself to be an asset to the farm. Trooper has given beginner riding lessons, is used for the farm’s Equine Scout and summer camp programs, has been ridden on trail rides, and was used for numerous photo shoots by the barn kids.
Faith, hope, and love saved Trooper … and we are super excited to have him with us as part of the family. Trooper turns 16 this year, and we thought it was only fitting to throw him a Sweet 16 Party and share his story. Yes, a birthday party for a horse seems a bit ridiculous … but the rest of his story is too. No animal should ever be neglected or left to face an uncertain fate. We hope you’ll join us for Trooper’s Sweet 16 … proceeds will benefit the Standardbred Reteirement Foundation in hopes of saving more of these sweet, wonderful retired race horses!