What Dreams Are Made Of: Lundi and Katrina’s Story

May 15, 2024

Equine adoption is a wonderful option for everyone, and adopters come with all levels of experience. Some are first-time horse owners and are learning as the adventure unfolds. For others, owning or working with horses has long been a way of life. This is a testament to the diversity of horses who need new homes, and the reality that whatever breed, size, personality, or skillset someone is looking for in an equine partner, there’s a great match to be had. 

Lundi and Katrina

A Professional Equestrian Chooses Adoption

Seasoned equine adopters include professional equestrians, like Katrina N., who adopts horses to compete with. Katrina grew up training horses and competing in natural horsemanship and trick training. “That was my life through my teen years,” she said.

In October 2022, she competed in the Retired Racehorse Project’s annual Thoroughbred Makeover in Lexington, Kentucky. This unique event celebrates retired Thoroughbred racehorses and incentivizes riders and trainers to work with them, expanding the market for adoption and helping retired racehorses find good homes and new careers. Katrina had such a great experience that she couldn’t wait to return in 2023 with another horse in need of training. 

She knew she wanted her next horse to be a retired racehorse. 

“One of the reasons I love racehorses is they already have a pretty solid foundation when it comes to riding,” Katrina explained. “They’re used to having people on their backs, and for the most part getting on them is somewhat simple. These horses have been ridden, they have basic manners and basic skills, and they've had a lot of experience.”

Racehorses also don’t tend to spook easily. “The tracks are really busy,” she said. “They see large vehicles, they see cars, they see spooky things that most horses probably would not approve of. Some of them are so chill because they're used to a busy environment. That’s a pretty big advantage of racehorses.”


Love at First Sight

A friend urged Katrina to visit New Vocations, an ASPCA Right Horse Partner that rehabilitates, retrains, and rehomes retired racehorses after their time on the tracks. She traveled from her home in Georgetown, Texas, to visit a New Vocations facility in Louisiana. Katrina planned only to “peek at the horses” and explore who they had available for adoption. She was not expecting to find a match that day. Katrina observed many wonderful, retired racehorses in each pasture, but it was Lundi who caught her eye and her heart.

“I saw him down in the corner and I just knew he was my horse,” she said. “They say that you have a feeling, and I just felt like, ‘my gosh, that's my horse.’ He's just stunning and beautiful.”

Lundi and Katrina walking

When Katrina met Lundi, she appreciated his conformation, which describes the shape and structure of a horse and the impact that has on a horse’s athletic ability. He was a little wary of her when she put the halter on, but he sweetly allowed her to do so.  

“I love that he was trying to trust me, even though he had no idea who I was. I started playing with him and asking him to do a couple of things on the ground. He was willing enough to try it out, even though he wasn't sure what was going on. His personality really shined through, even at the beginning.”

Lundi showed her that he was trainable, relaxed, and adapts well to new situations—all of the characteristics Katrina wanted in her new friend and partner in the ring. 

“I start from the beginning with all of my off-the-track horses because I don’t know what steps they might struggle with, but I like the fact that I know I’m not starting from scratch,” she explained.

Katrina initiated the adoption process that day, and soon Lundi was headed to his next home in Texas.

Lundi in a competition

A New Career

Despite running into a tree as a yearling and injuring his face, during his racing career Lundi was fast. He won thousands of dollars in prizes but became increasingly nervous on the tracks. It was clear to his trainers that he didn’t love racing and that he was destined for something else.  

With Katrina’s love and retraining, Lundi found his second career competing in eventing and dressage. Together, they competed in the Retired Racehorse Project’s 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover. “I can just feel him get excited and fired up for it, and he loves to gallop and run. So that's why we chose eventing,” Katrina explained. “He’s a wicked good jumper; he was probably jumping a good three and a half feet higher than he needed to!” 

The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) awards riders for achieving exceptional scores. At higher levels, riders can work toward Bronze, Silver, and Gold titles. Each level of achievement stays with the rider for life and becomes part of how they are recognized within the field. As a young professional, Katrina is trying to move up the ranks and earn her USDF Bronze Level, and she’s confident that Lundi’s talent and knack for dressage will help her do that. 

Katrina hopes they’ll eventually qualify for the American Eventing Championships—the national championship event held annually for every level of the Olympic equestrian sport, from Beginner Novice to Advanced.

In addition to Lundi’s impressive jumping skills, Katrina’s favorite thing about her new partner is his personality. He’s calm, curious and reserved, and he’s affectionate with those he knows and trusts. 

Katrina tracked down and keeps in touch with the people who first trained and cared for Lundi when he was a yearling. “I can tell that they loved him, and they love the fact that he has a second career,” she said. “I send [them] updates, photos and videos and they're always so excited to see what he's out doing and experiencing.”

Lundi and Katrina

Lundi and Katrina are a perfect match. Wiping tears of joy from her eyes, Katrina reflected on her adoption. “I know that every horse is an individual, and I didn't want to push him into what I want to do, but he excels in everything that I want to do. He’s what dreams are made of for me.”

Whether you’re a seasoned professional like Katrina, or you’re inspired to adopt your first horse, there’s an equine out there for you! Visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, gender, or discipline.