Chestnut Mare by Gold Fever out of Persnickity by Vanlandingham
Foaled April 24, 1999 in Maryland
Race Record: Unraced
For a horse that never made it to the racetrack, Golden Truth has seen and done a lot in her 12 years. After being sold as yearling for $70,000 in 2000, “Truth” went to Florida and was put in training but was injured before she could be sold at the spring two-year-old sales. Sold at the 2002 Fall breeding stock sales as a broodmare prospect, Golden Truth had a spotty record as a broodmare. In eight years, she produced only one living foal. That foal, Silver Cowgirl, is now a three-year-old who has raced most recently at Evangeline Downs.
After going through the sales ring again, in Louisiana this time, Truth was purchased by a local politician who donated her to the New Orleans Police Department after she lost the foal she was carrying. Because of various physical issues, it was determined that Truth wasn’t suited to a career as a police horse.
The NOPD contributes horses who have served their community to Lower 9 Equine, which offers multiple programs blending horses, art, music and literacy for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H and at-risk youth in New Orleans. The programs “hands-on” philosophy helps the children to learn empathy, build self-confidence, cooperation, respect for others, increase attention spans, learn life skills, build good nutritional habits, and responsibility.
Jane Lutz, who runs Lower 9 Equine, received Golden Truth in early 2011, and says what pleases her most about Golden Truth is her kind nature and how smart she is. “I have spent the last six months getting her healthy. She's gained almost 200 pounds, and that is when her fantastic personality came out. For all that she went through and how questionable her soundness was when we adopted her, she has been nothing but affectionate and playful. She was a withdrawn and moody mare when we first got her, but within a surprisingly short time, her personality and affectionate nature came through.”
Jane has an extensive equine background. “I grew up in a horse friendly family and my uncle raced Thoroughbreds at the bush tracks here in Louisiana. I worked with Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds for racing and also for after racing careers. I worked with a lot of Thoroughbreds from breaking babies to racing at several tracks in Kentucky. I have shown in dressage, hunter/jumpers, combined training, and even driving competitions. I still love racing but after having a special needs child, I found equine therapy and made that my focus along with helping OTTBs and OTSTBs find good adoptive homes.
I have taken OTTBs and given them the basics in pleasure riding and at least 60 days of basic dressage training and I would then go to local schooling shows and offer these horses up for adoption. I also competed on my own OTTBs in several classes and for almost 10 years the only horses I was showing and trail riding were OTTBs. I had an Alysheba gelding that I showed in combined training at the Kentucky Horse Park several years ago that was an OTTB.”
What qualities does Golden Truth have that make her a good candidate for the Lower 9 Equine therapy horse program? According to Jane, “Besides her affectionate and gentle nature, she really likes children. She also has the unteachable intelligence to know when to be forward and when to be slower. When I ride her, she is more forward and playful, but when a child is on her, she is slower and is careful with her rider. She is just so smart; she knows when a rider is ready to be "tested" and when one needs confidence. She is a great confidence building horse. When a rider is ready to be challenged, she does a small test and responds immediately to the cue. If a rider needs more confidence, she will pack them around carefully and I've seen her adjust her walk to accommodate the rider. That innate understanding is not common and cannot be trained. To find that trait is a real blessing, and to get it in my favorite type (chestnut TB mare) was a true gift.”
As for the training Truth is undergoing to be a therapy horse Jane says “Her training as a therapy horse is ongoing, and she is being ridden by both experienced riders and for lead line with the children. She is being exposed to a lot of unique stimuli like wheel chairs and other equipment. I build a "confidence course" that has everything from pool noodles to balloons and tarps to build confidence in horses and to desensitize them to "scary" objects.
“She is being exposed to various children and adults to get used to being ridden and handled by various people. Truth’s training includes light dressage training to really get her basics down. I've yet to find something she spooks at; she's had big golf umbrellas opened next to her (once she found out they aren't edible she ignores them) trains, cars, wheel chairs, bicycles, joggers and roller skates. We just expose her to so much noise and objects and she does not spook. She wants to see and investigate but once she does that, she ignores the stimuli. She is just an incredibly smart mare.”
As for OTTB’s in general, Jane’s take is that “OTTBs are fantastic horses, true athletes that can do just about anything from hunter/jumpers, eventing, to Western events. Most OTTBs have great personalities and are eager to please. Once a horse comes off the track and they get the chance to be a pleasure horse, there is nothing they cannot do.”