Cross-posted from Off-Track Thoroughbreds
by SUSAN SALK
A homicide detective with a wasting disease and an ex-racehorse who lacked the appeal to attract a new owner, each found their second chance, with one another.
After Susan Kimball was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, a rare degenerative disorder that can confine its victims to a wheelchair, she said goodbye to her longtime career with the Biloxi, Miss. police force, and in 2009, began looking for another outlet.
“I was on the police force for 10 years and a homicide detective for eight of them.
I was very passionate about what I did, and after I had to retire, I started thinking about how I’d be home during the day, and I wasn’t even sure how long my strength would hold up, but I needed to do something.”
Always suspecting she was a “horse person” at heart, just one who never had the time or opportunity to ride, Kimball picked up the phone one day and called the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at James River in Crozier, Va. — a Thoroughbred facility situated 2,000 miles from her home.
She learned there was a plain bay waiting there who raced under the Jockey Club name Excessively Crooked. He wasn’t particularly flashy, and he was just learning to jump. Kimball can’t recall what it was that they said about the horse, only that she was seized by the desire to give the animal a second chance; as she so much craved for herself.
Her father volunteered to take her, since her condition prevented her from safely driving a vehicle long distances, and off they went on a two-day road trip that would prove to be her new beginning.
Arriving to find the object of her quest, Kimball liked the animal on sight. “I liked the fact that he was a bay and that he wasn’t considered flashy, and also, that he might be something others would overlook,” she says. “He has just about every bad habit — he cribs, he weaves, and he also has these cute little quirks—he’s kind of a jokester.”
Kimball figured she needed a good laugh, and when the nosey Thoroughbred insisted on flipping the baseball cap off her head, she say she could “see the humor in his eyes.”
“I felt like this was something I needed in my life.” Read full story >>