A Bright and Eventful Future for a Fondtastic Pair

January 3, 2024

Kayla R. is a competitive equestrian who runs Dance at Dawn Farms Eventing, a farm in Pennsylvania that offers riding and horsemanship lessons, training and farm tours. She wasn’t looking to add another horse to her farm, but an athletic Thoroughbred named Fondtastic caught her eye as she was scrolling through her Facebook news feed. After the Races, an ASPCA Right Horse Partner whose mission is to rehabilitate and rehome retired racehorses, had posted a video of Fondtastic’s arrival. 

“She’s pretty!” exclaimed an After the Races team member who was introducing Fondtastic on camera. Fondtastic had become a broodmare after retiring from a brief racing career a few years ago. Kayla, who had adopted from After the Races once before, watched the video repeatedly, captivated by Fondtastic’s beautiful chestnut color and her impressive physique. “Wow, she’s thick!” she said. It was love at first sight. 

Fondtastic and Kayla

Kayla welcomed Fondtastic to her farm the next day. “She was originally for my lesson program because of her friendly personality, and I had been competing in [an equestrian sport called] eventing with my coach’s horses. My coach and my husband considered getting me an experienced event horse of my own for competitions. That weekend, I happened to take Fondtastic to a horse trial, and we just tried a few things to see if she would like them. She locked onto the novice jumps right away. It’s like she said, ‘Hey, you don’t need another horse—I’m right here! Show me the ropes.’ We haven’t looked back since.”

“This is really impressive—most horses new to jumping spend time jumping small fences to gain experience,” explains ASPCA Equine Welfare Senior Director, Christie Schulte-Kappert. “Fondtastic’s interest in the larger, novice-height fences, is a clear indicator of her talent and enthusiasm for the sport.”

Kayla riding Fondtastic

In October 2023, the Retired Racehorse Project held its annual Thoroughbred Makeover in Lexington, Kentucky. This unique event celebrates retired Thoroughbred racehorses and incentivizes riders and trainers to work with them, opening the market for adoption and helping retired racehorses find good homes and new careers. The event’s format differs slightly from a traditional horse show—many of the disciplines are altered slightly to showcase the training involved and highlight the horse’s new skills.

2023 was the first year that former broodmares had their own division at the makeover. Kayla and Fondtastic competed together for the first time at this horse show, where Fondtastic would prove that broodmares can excel in other careers like eventing, dressage and other disciplines offered at the Thoroughbred Makeover.

A horse can be entered in up to two (out of 10) disciplines; Kayla chose eventing and dressage. To everyone’s delight, they placed fourth overall in both categories and Fondtastic won a special award for being the best conditioned broodmare! They were entered into a special award dedicated to broodmares, also finishing fourth. “I couldn't have asked for a better partner for this,” said Kayla. 

Fondtastic and Kayla with their award ribbons

Outside of the ring, Kayla gushes about Fondtastic’s fun-loving, cuddly demeanor. “My favorite thing about Fondtastic is probably her personality, because she is so sweet and honest and cuddly. She's been an absolute dream to train.”

Together, they have a bright and busy future. “My goal is to continue eventing her at the beginner novice level until she gains confidence and experience. Then we’ll hopefully move up to the novice level and see where she goes—and how far she’d like to go—from there. I’m excited to see how she blossoms.”

Fondtastic and Kayla

Feeling inspired and ready to adopt a horse of your own? Visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, gender or discipline.