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Shaun has filled out and is happy in his new home in Kansas.

Kiwi TB Shaun looks to extend horizons

March 8, 2012

Shaun, the most famous Kiwi thoroughbred in all of Kansas, is off to a restart clinic next month as owner Deb Johnson looks to the future.

Shaun, who raced under the name Cusack in New Zealand, was rescued from kill pens in Washington state last May thanks to the generosity of Horsetalk readers.

He enjoyed celebrity status at a local boarding establishment for a while to rest up before a truck journey that took him half way across the United States to the Kansas home of Deb Johnson and her family.

Shaun has settled in with Deb's horses and is familiar with the day-to-day routine on the Johnson property.

Deb says she intends taking Shaun to his first clinic early next month, a young horse/restart clinic run by Tony and Jenny Vought.

"I'm still not sure what I am doing about a cutback saddle for him," she says.

"I would like to make it a western saddle, but not sure what brand, what size, and, of course, his shape is changing as he gets in better shape.

"He did his first confident walk over the large blue tarp a couple of days ago.

"He's still in shoes with snow pads, although this winter has been mild, with only one, one-inch snow fall. You never know, March and April can surprise you.

"I'm planning on pulling his shoes the end of April and hoping he will be pasture-sound after that. I will be purchasing some easy boots for him for riding, and hope to do a lot of that with him.

"On a line, it seems someone has lunged him so much he has become frantic with it. So, no lunging for him, but lots of change of direction, sideways, and obstacles.

"He seems to like jumping, and has mastered creek and ditch jumping with the mares in the pasture."

Deb says Shaun and one of her mares, Eclipse, enjoy a good 10-acre gallop every morning as they come in for breakfast.

"Mostly, he has learned to be a horse, learned his place in the herd and some good horse etiquette, and he's much more trusting of his place here. No more frantic run for the shelter at 7pm, waiting alone while the rest of the herd has a peaceful sunset graze.

"His safe place is no longer a building, but his herd.

"I feel fortunate that he considers me part of that and he often comes to me when he is unsure," she says.

Deb says Shaun needed a long and relaxed recuperation.

"He's tracking straighter, his canter looks nice, and his trot is a lot smoother. He's shiny, bright-eyed and looking more like that horse I saw in the race pics!"

Shaun, at far right, with his paddock buddies in Kansas.



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