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Cusack loving the attention in his temporary digs

May 9, 2011

by Neil Clarkson

New Zealand thoroughbred Cusack is enjoying the care and attention at a Washington boarding facility, with his rescue fund now comfortably placed to meet his costs in getting him to his new home in Kansas.

Cusack in 2004. © Jeni Bassett/Equine Attitude

People from all over the globe have been remarkably generous in helping out the 11-year-old gelding, who was flown across the Pacific around 2005 for a US racing career that never reached great heights.

Last week, he found himself down on his luck in a Washington state auction house, with $US500 on his head.

There were real fears he would end up at a Canadian slaughter plant.

A hastily organised fundraising campaign on Horsetalk got the cash within two days to pay for Cusack and his transport halfway across the US to Kansas, where Deb Johnson has offered him a lifelong home on her family's 40 acres.

Today, with donated funds looking to comfortably cover his purchase, transport, boarding, health checks and some feed and supplements to set him up for his new life, the fundraising drive is being closed.

"I just don't have any words that are enough," said Deb, in offering her heartfelt thanks to those who pitched in to help Cusack.

Deb said the publicity and campaign around the Kiwi thoroughbred had also helped other horses at the auction house in a similar position to Cusack.

A lovely three-year-old filly with very good bloodlines was subsequently bought, as was a very old and feeble gelding, who was bought and will be humanely euthanised. His Arabian mare companion was found a new home.

"The ripple effects from helping Cusack are so far reaching," said Deb. Others were saved because Cusack's story brought attention to the lot of horses.

Meanwhile, Lisa O'Gorman, who is generously paying the first two weeks of board for Cusack at the Back Forte equestrian centre, where he will wait a month before being transported east, has been giving Cusack some care and attention.

"Cusack was awesome today," she reported in to Deb.

"He has had treats before and ate his supplements no problem."

His worming programme is under way and he enjoyed a good grooming, Lisa reports.

"He had some leg crud I washed off and all looks good.

"My farrier will check his feet this week, but felt he would travel better shoeless.

"He has a rain sheet on so he is warm and dry. He is quite the funny guy ..."

Lisa reported he was pawing in the crossties for treats or attention.

She said he seemed a tad pushy on the ground at the moment, but she would work on that.

Meanwhile, Deb is planning out a future for Cusack, with a summer that is likely to focus on restoring him to fine fettle and getting him where he needs to be on the ground.

She has in mind some specialist training for him in Ohio in the northern fall, in the leadup to what she hopes will be a career in competitive trail riding.

"I want to bring him along as he's mentally and physically ready.

"By this [northern] winter, he should be ready to go show the world what an off-the-track thoroughbred is made of!"



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