By Alexandra Kokka
Mister Foster was orphaned at just three days old. The Kentucky-bred son of Rocking Trick (ARG) never made it to the track, but has since found his place with adopter Sara Gatchell.
“I was doing my equine rehabilitation internship at the Kentucky Equine Adoption Center and had finished my assigned horses for the day,” Gatchell said. “I went out into the gelding field to grab a random horse to work on and this fluffy dark bay Thoroughbred came bouncing up to me, insisting I be his best friend.”
There was no question about who chose who, but two lives were changed that day. Being raised an orphan, Mister Foster developed a unique personality.
“He has these little quirks that just make me laugh. He sucks his tongue after he gets a treat, will lick you like a dog but only with the back of his tongue, can only lay down on his right side, and loves dinner time,” Gatchell said.
True to his genes, the Kentucky-bred has an excellent work ethic. However, it has taken hard work and patience for Gatchell to be able to transform that work ethic into a cool, calm, and collected show horse.
“Once we slowed the brain and body down, we saw what nice form he had over fences and on the flat. I’ve always preferred the hunters, and since we worked so hard to slow his roll down, he will forever be a hunter,” Gatchell said. “The first time we won a bigger flat class confirmed that decision.”
Gatchell and Mister Foster or “Foster the People” are drawing attention in the hunter ring. The pair qualified for the Thoroughbred Incentive Program Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park Sept. 6-7, 2019.
“My goals are for us to be solid in 2’6″-2’9″ hunters, compete in some derbies and medals, and just have fun,” Gatchell said. “He’s my first horse and has already won me more prizes and ribbons than I ever thought I’d get.”
Although OTTB ownership isn’t always easy, the horse-rider bond formed is irreplaceable. Gatchell and “Foster the People” are living proof.
“Some days he makes me so mad that I can’t even look at him, but the good days make me want to cry of happiness,” she said. “He’s made me a better rider and person.”