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A Tale of Three Brothers: Ca$h, Nik, and Disco

A Tale of Three Brothers: Ca$h, Nik, and Disco

By: Alexis Arbaugh

In January 2022, Nina Shaffer experienced the loss of her dearest friend, Rosstar Superboy, a 32-year-old purebred Arabian gelding. When their remarkable 29-year companionship came to an end, Nina was devastated. Rosstar Superboy had been with her every step of the way, guiding her from the early stages of lead line and walk/trot riding to her successful professional career. In addition to this, he played a vital role in Nina’s lesson program, helping her educate the next generation of horsemen.

Having navigated the challenging process of coping with her profound loss, Nina knew that she needed to start looking for her next group of exceptional lesson horses for her expanding program at Grand Slam Equestrian. Similar to her beloved Rosstar Superboy, all the horses in her stable had previously been rescued and had ultimately found their way to her barn. These horses are now cherished members of her equestrian family, receiving the utmost love and care.

Nina got ahold of Nina Lyman, the President of TRRAC (Thoroughbred Retirement, Rehabilitation, and Careers), to assist her in the search for suitable lesson horses. In March of 2022, she adopted her first horse, Cashton Peak. Nina was captivated by the way he galloped in the field, and it became evident to her that he belonged at her farm. She learned that Ca$h had been returned to TRRAC, making him in need of a permanent home.

Once Ca$h was at her farm, Nina quickly realized that he held a special place in her heart, becoming what is often referred to as a “heart horse.” She also recognized that he was not quite ready to take on the role of a lesson horse for children, as he required substantial professional training and time spent with her before he could teach young riders.

Among the numerous horses that Nina considered, Nik’s Star Choice was one of them. Similar to Ca$h, Nik had been returned to TRRAC after participating in the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover. Initially, Nina had some reservations about Nik, but she eventually decided to bring him home. Just a week later, he arrived at the farm.

Ca$h’s first high score TIP award.

In a matter of weeks, with professional training and guidance from Nina, Nik made remarkable progress. He even attended his first horse show during this period. Upon returning from the show, he seamlessly transitioned into his new role as a lesson horse. “Nik has been an incredible addition to my program,” Nina wrote about Nik.

Fast forward to July 2022, Nina’s lesson program continued to expand, prompting her to reach out once more to Nina Lyman at TRRAC in her quest for additional horses. That day, she welcomed Beacos Disco Pants into her equestrian family. Disco had been a participant in the 2021 Retired Racehorse Project but had been returned to TRRAC shortly after the event.

Following the adoption of Disco, Nina Lyman approached Nina to ask for help in finding homes for more horses at TRRAC. Unable to turn down the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these animals, Nina wholeheartedly agreed to help. Since that pivotal moment, she has played a crucial role in rehoming over 30 horses from TRRAC, and this number continues to grow. “It has been the greatest honor of my 30-year career,” Nina wrote about her involvement with TRRAC.

Out of the 9 horses that Nina has in her barn, 6 of them come from the TRRAC organization. Ca$h, Nik, and Disco represent TRRAC’s partner organizations: Second Call and CharlesTown.

Nina takes immense pride in her horses, recognizing their remarkable resilience and adaptability. She acknowledges that these horses have risen to the challenges she’s presented them. Each one of her horses has participated in various shows, including prestigious events sanctioned by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

What brings Nina the greatest sense of fulfillment is knowing that her horses are not only succeeding in their own right but also stepping up to the plate as dedicated educators.

In addition to teaching lessons at her farm, Nina extends her passion for horses to working with individuals with special needs. These horses hold a special place in her heart and are well-versed in their roles, offering invaluable support to those they serve. In a recent turn of events, Nina’s grandmother experienced a stroke, and it’s heartwarming to learn that Ca$h has become a wonderful companion for her during this challenging time.

Nina is grateful for her off-the-track-Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) and for the organization TRRAC. For her, the aftercare process of providing retired racehorses with safe homes and a second career is of utmost importance. Her dedication to this cause is evident in her unwavering commitment. Nina’s overarching goal is to secure loving homes for as many of these retired racehorses as possible. In doing so, she aims to highlight the incredible breed and their remarkable versatility. Nina’s commitment to rescuing and rehabilitating retired racehorses demonstrates her dedication to providing these animals with a second chance at a fulfilling life beyond the racetrack. Her partnership with TRRAC is a testament to her passion for helping these horses find loving homes and fulfilling roles in her growing lesson program.

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