They wanted him back then.
Back before they went bankrupt.
After that, nobody wanted him.
The locals took the ones that wanted to run, jump, or three-day.
Danny Boy just wanted to survive.
As best he could.
When he was all that remained, the very last one, the Mexican maintenance man figured he should take him home. Out of a job, with a big family to support, he took this horse.
- - - - -
Somewhere early on, Danny Boy was started. There are mixed reviews about whether he made it to track training. If he did, he certainly didn't advance enough to earn a lip tattoo. Regardless, whoever started him, did it right and Danny Boy owes his life to them. They didn't hurry him, or push him to succeed, or harm him in any way. I can tell, because horses always fall back to what they first learned and in everything I do with him, Danny Boy returns to gentleness, kindness, and a genuine desire to trust.
Pretty amazing, really.
In the work I've done so far, Danny Boy doesn't know much about the fine art of carrying a person. Yet, the agent and seller told me he knew enough to take care of the maintenance man's young family. Apparently, the Mom and kids frequented town riding on Danny Boy's broad back; all sitting in a line while the oldest guided him using a braided bailing twine "bridle". They told me stories of past Christmas Parades, they even showed me pictures and a video, with all of those children happily ensconced along his back.
And the Dad used him, too.
The story goes that when the father couldn't find work, he resorted to alcohol to solve his problems. He rode Danny Boy to the local bar each night, tied him to a tree and drank himself into oblivion. Every morning, the townsfolk would see Danny Boy, patiently standing wherever he was left, nibbling the bark on that big old tree. It wasn't unusual for someone to notify the wife, whereupon she would send one of the kids to ride him home.
Eventually, the man abandoned his family; leaving the wife with five children and two horses. In April, she'd had enough. She quit Florida to return to her family in Kentucky. The Mom told the seller to find some money for the young TB filly and to keep Danny Boy for her children's lesson program.
So there he was, unwanted once again, 300 pounds starved, with thrush so bad that all four of his feet bled, now a part of a county wide therapy program for troubled kids.
And what did he do? The same thing he did for that Mexican family. He cared for them. He became Old Reliable. Anyone could get on him, anyone could lead him, anyone could handle him. He always did his best to treat them kindly.
When the veterinarian called me after the vet check, the first thing she told me was, the young girl who helped her do the flexion tests, tripped and fell right into Danny Boy's path while he was trotting. The vet freaked out, but Danny boy didn't. He swerved sharply, stopped and carefully turned back to snuffle the young girl's hair.
Yes, he's that kind.
Pretty amazing, really.....