It’s a story we’ve heard often enough: a racehorse reaches the end of his racing career and is sent off for another career. While many find good homes and next acts as sport and pleasure horses, some aren’t so lucky. But in the case of Mr. Bob Lewis, a striking chestnut Standardbred, his luck extended beyond the winner’s circle.
After retiring from racing, “Bob”, like many racing Standardbreds, was sold to the Amish who used him for pulling a buggy. But he then found his way into a “kill” pen in Michigan. And that’s where Cape Breton’s Jayce Mercer came in. A former groom in the harness racing industry, he was on Facebook and saw the post of Bob and recognized him.
Mercer was a teenager when he’d groomed Bob, so it was around ten years since he’d last laid eyes on the horse. But the name gave him away. “He kind of caught my attention. He’s a chestnut so he’s a kind of a red colour and he stands out when he’s racing,” Mercer told the CBC.
Mercer, who owns other horses at his Nova Scotia farm, raised funds to quickly pay for Bob and get him to a quarantine facility prior to shipping him back to Canada. He told the CBC even his mother got involved, who ran a “save a horse, buy a cupcake” fundraiser.
Like the OTTBs we have written about recently, Standardbreds have dedicated rescues groups who similarly find them second careers and forever homes. Once such organization is New Start Standardbreds in Ontario. New Brunswick-based board member Christina Robertson, who was interviewed for the CBC, added, “They have made livings for their family, they have provided earnings, they earned their retirements. They deserve better.”
It’s a philosophy that Mercer would agree with as he continues to raise money to ship Mr. Bob Lewis. “There’s so many other options and people willing to help with these horses that I really don’t think any horse should end up in the situation that this guy was in,” he said.
If you would like to help get Bob home, donate to his GoFundMe campaign HERE.