Stacey McKenna


When Racehorses Retire

What it takes to teach a horse its racing career is over.

A dark chocolate gelding swivels his ears from the man on his back to the beige cow trotting ahead. Cued by his rider, the horse drops his head low and uses his sleek shoulder to push the wide bovine through the arena. It’s been more than a year since 5-year-old Quaint, son of a Kentucky Derby winner, ran his last race. Since coming to Dale Simanton’s South Dakota ranch, Gate to Great, he splits his time between romping in 100-acre pastures and developing his varied athletic skills. Quiet and sensible, Quaint defies stereotypes of the typical racing thoroughbred. And while he is certainly extraordinary, a growing body of breed enthusiasts is showing he’s hardly the exception.

“[Thoroughbreds] have proven time and time and time again that they’re the greatest athletes in the world,” Simanton says. “They’re smart, athletic. I don’t care what discipline you’re interested in, I don’t care what it is... There’s a horse out there that’ll meet your needs.”

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