Diary Post #131

Happy Tuesday!


I am so busy here with my new friends. Each day I am feeling more and more confident in my new surroundings and I get to stay outside longer and do a bit more. The lads here are getting me ready to be ‘free’ in the paddock soon. Each day, we are making headway towards this goal! It is exciting! I’ll keep you posted when it happens.

This morning a helicopter flew overhead while I was outside…and I did not even blink. I am used to BIG AIRPLANES flying above me. They flew in and out of Los Angeles International Airport all of the time while I’d be outside grazing at Barn 55. So this was a very normal occurrence for me!

Several of you have asked questions about MY SHOES. So I asked Dottie if we could give you an explanation about this to help everyone have a basic understanding of the process. She and I consulted with John so you would have the proper information.

When I left the farm and went to the Keeneland Sale as a yearling, I had on what is called TRAINING PLATES. These are shoes made of steel. They are a heavier, larger type shoe that is used to help a horse do basic training. (I also wore them at Jeanne Mayberry’s farm when I was there as a yearling and a newly turned 2 year old.) They handle the wear and tear of basic training very well…especially in the early stages. A thoroughbred race horse normally gets new shoes one time per month. Of course, individual differences do apply…this is just a baseline.

When racing, John would have me use ALUMINUM SHOES. This is a lighter-weight type of shoe and it can be tapered to a horse’s foot. Tom Halpenny was my blacksmith while racing. He is a lovely Irish gentleman who has worked in this field and been around many very accomplished race horses his entire life. Tom would work with John on my feet…and they would constantly be reviewing how my shoes would be customized just for my needs. This is a real skill and a blacksmith is extremely important to a horse!

After my last race, John had Tom take off my Aluminum Shoes (the ones I wore in the Breeders’ Cup Classic)…and put Training Plates (Steel shoes) on me. As I was still at the barn and doing some light exercise each day on the training track, the steel shoes were the best ones for my feet. They were perfect for this stage of my day to day activity. Additionally, they were another baby-step in getting me ready for farm life. I wore them to KY last week.

After a couple days at the farm, last Thursday to be precise, my shoes were taken off. NOW…are you ready for this…my blacksmith here at Lane’s End is the same person who took care of my feet years ago when I lived in Kentucky! His name is Johnny Collins. He is the same man who put on my shoes when I went to the Keeneland Sale in September, 2005! He took care of my feet when I was a little girl! Now, here he is taking off my shoes at the farm several years later. This is absolutely adorable! Johnny told me he’d been keeping track of me and all of my progress since then! It was so great to touch base with him, my first blacksmith, after all of these years! We had a blast sharing all of the FUN times since we last saw each other!

Now, I’m BAREFOOT (no shoes)…which is great for a horse at the farm. You are outside playing in the field, thus, no shoe issues/problems can develop! It is very safe! That is why I commented the snow felt so good beneath my feet…no shoes! It is fun! From this point forward, Lane’s End and Johnny will monitor my feet. My darling ’4 hooves’ will be constantly checked…and ‘trimmed’ as needed. FYI—-Trimming a horse’s feet…is like you trimming your nails and keeping them properly groomed and cared for as needed. The objective of ‘trimming’ is to keep the horse’s feet nice and healthy!

I hope this information is helpful.

Now…HOW CUTE IS THIS! Johnny is back taking care of MY FEET! I am still smiling about this. Isn’t it amazing how so many things in life go FULL-CIRCLE! I am so fortunate!

With love,
Hugs to ALL!


  1. Hi Z,
    My name is Sassy. I am 17 years old and my mom says I am her Zenyatta. We sorts look alike.I thought I would send you a note and tell you how proud I am of you!!! You are the model for all us mares out here. I would love to send you a picture sometime so you could see if you think we look alike. I think it’s more our behavior. I tend to like to DANCE myself, especially when I am in water. Have you ever been in a river? It’s great. Sometimes I just stand there and dance. Well I better let you get going. Glad to hear you are enjoying your new paddock. It’s beautiful out today. Talk to you soon.

    Luv, Sassy

  2. What a pretty picture of you and the snow Zen! You’re such a lucky horse :) (Hugs)From Texas!

  3. Dearest Z–
    Just checking in with you this morning. That snow just won’t go away, will it?
    I am so glad you got rid of those shoes and are BAREFOOT now–yea!!! Barefoot is way more fashionable, anyway.
    Have fun kicking up your heels when your family says it’s ok.
    Love you always.

  4. Dear “Your Majesty!”
    A helicopter?? Wow!!!!!!! You are so brave. Do you remember the wildfires in Ca. last year? The smoke made us feel so yucky! A helicopter flew right over me when my mamma was trying to “pony me away from the flames. I was so scared I broke away from my mamma and ran back to the flames. Then I realized I needed my mamma! I ran back and then I got into the trailer like a good boy! We were all safe!!! I love you Zenyatta!

  5. Kathryn Cogswell said it “right on!” Jim, what approach would you like Zenyatta’s people to take? And Kathryn made a great point…where would our Big Girl be without the love & patience of John Shireff & his team. This thoroughbred has an enormous spirit & I think they have handled this situation with only Zen’s best interests as the top priority. I don’t know the Net worth of the Mosses, nor do I care, but there is no way their dedication came from anywhere but the heart. The posts that are a little more negative, obviously should be welcomed, but Zenyatta would not want to hear all of this negativity about the people who she loves the most.
    Hopefully, Jim will find some Christmas spirit & stop hating everyone.

  6. Barefoot is awesome! Your frogs will love it!!!, it is the healthiest way to keep your feet on a farm! I am so very happy for you sweet girl and I love you so much, soon , real soon , you will be “free” , wowoowowowowow! OMG! What will you do with all that room to run!!!,!

  7. Not sure about the very young group of admirers.
    I am a believer in giving people and animals what they need so they flourish and are happy. Obviously Zenyatta and Dottie are working hard to do that. They have certainly raised America’s (and beyond) Gross National Happiness scale. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_national_happiness

    Kudos to them for all that is being done on so many levels.

    5 degrees is cold. LE must be quite busy just attending to necessities to keep all of their horses comfortable.

  8. The way she is being handled should be an inspiration to all. With true concern, patience, respect and love. I think, through Dottie, by way of Z…we are being given a life lesson to share with all 2 and 4 legged creatures. Thank you Z and D

  9. Dear Zenyatta, I love your pictures with each Diary Post. You look so beautiful in the snow. I am glad you are adjusting and you sound very content. We still miss you very much but happy you are enjoying your new home. Thank you for keeping us up to date on what is going on with you in your new home. Take care and I love you and mis you very much. My Special Z.


  11. A good farrier is worth his/her weight in gold!

  12. how hysterical you are gorgeous girl. I would love to know who writes these blogs. Have a gr8 time, beautiful one and enjoy your new home.

  13. Observation/Suggestion:

    One of the most endearing things about Z is her great concentration..her long stares. Please when walking her don’t hurry these moments. I think it is beautiful, her long pauses, it truly reflects her intelligence.

    And the young men who walk her. You need to dress accordingly…I notice you wear no gloves, hats, or boots. You must be cold. Secondly, if you are cold, then you will be more inclined to “rush” Z in her trips outside (i would).

    Please take care of her, talk to her, pet her, make sure she gets many visitors (even if its LE employees or their families), she loves people AND I don’t want her to loose that gift….her patience and love of people.

    Thank you for everything you do.

    P.S. Love the giggles of the videographer :) Are you falling in love with Z too?

  14. Another sunny morning in Zenyattaland!!! It’s a beautiful day in the neeiigghh bor hood. . . . . Why should planes bother our girl when she knows that she too had wings & could fly?! . . Kathryn C. hit the nail on the hoof in her post about changing from within. Zenyatta has changed everyone she touches. I bet life for Charles will never be the same again. Peace & Love to ALL

  15. Good to watch you in the snow…I really love Lisa Fly’s song ‘Zenyatta’ – I want to download it so I can play on my computer.
    Will there be a DVD out soon with all of Zen’s races on it? (and paddock/race parade footage?)…and whatever extras could be put in (early training videos, etc)
    If the proceeds were to go to Equine rescue/racehorse rehabilitation, I think a HUGE amount of such a DVD would be sold.
    Something to think about.
    Thanks again Queen Z – I didn’t appreciate ‘Mousse’ comments earler(obviously a guy) about the diary post being ‘sappy’ ..s/b less ‘female’…..uh buddy….Zenyatta IS a female :)

  16. Kathryn Cogswell, really well written.
    By the way, I just orderd more gift certificate/donations from http://www.trottusa.org for my family in UK. Now I can stay inside, cozy & warm just like Zenyatta. Don’t even have to go to the P.O. Better still, it’s a tax deduction! Now that’s some good gift buying.

  17. Hi Zenyatta… how awesome, I was wondering if they were going to take the shoes off, how awesome, oh it must feel so good and your Johnny is taking care of your gorgeous feet. I have a horse Dance and he does not wear shoes either, he lives in Altadena and when we ride him he does not have shoes, we ride him through the hills, he is an appaloosa and arabian and a whole lot smaller than you and he has a major crush on you. I showed him your picture. Dance gets his feet trimmed too. I am so glad you explained from the beginning to the end. Now I know about race horse, well the only one in my life, Zenyatta and how the shoe situation is. I do want to buy a horse sometime. I love this story, love it, love it. Dottie you are so wonderful sharing all this with us and we are learning so much about horses. I love these letters and am going to have a great day because of reading this one. Yeah, a helicopter, Zenyatta you are funny with all the noise at LAX and then quiet and then a lonely helicopter, no wonder you heard it. You notice everything.. love you more and more and Dottie and Charles, is he cute or something?

  18. Zenyatta i <3 you!! you are so cute!!! i love the videos of her in her new home!! i hope she likes it there it looks like she does!! :)

  19. Hello Zenny
    Hope you are having a great day in the snow.
    Are you loose in the paddock now? Your barn is sloop
    very nice and cozy. I really love your large window. I think
    In warm weather it will be nice for you to put your
    head out the window and enjoy the sun. John is very right
    that Thoroughbreds are very special and unique horses.
    That is why it is important for you to have special
    care. Love your Zenyatta song and the dancing and prancing
    you did. I saw you reminding your self to not let your
    thoughts get away with you as Charles held your lead
    very steady without any movement. It is very obvious that
    he is sooo fond of you and has a lot of experience with
    Thoroughbreds. I am so gla that you have so many fans that
    might not know about horses and that you are educating them
    so well. I would be very worried if you were let out with
    a blanket. You will soon grow a winter coat like horses do.
    I know that you are warm when you are doing your exercise
    outside. The blankets are great to keep you warm and cozy in your
    stall. Lanes end is so beautiful. Thanks to every one
    who are keeping us up to date with your transitions
    Hugs and xoxoxo.

  20. Hi beautiful girl, I can’t believe Dottie is explaining IN DETAIL all about shoes! It’s great. I never knew anything! Thanks a bunch. BTW, one of Secretariat’s shoes is up for auction on EBAY and the current bid is $5,750.00!!! They say the reserve price has not been met yet…can you imagine, Zenny, what that makes your shoes worth?????? Gazillions, lol. It’s too wonderful that you and your first blacksmith are reunited.Wow! Love your videos, keep em coming. I hope you got my Christmas card and I didn’t send a present cuz I knew you would prefer I make a donation to Habitat for Horses..so that’s what I did, in your name of course. Loving you always, XOXOXOXO

  21. What a great idea to do our donating in your name! Why didn’t I think of that?? I’m sending one to Habitat for Horses, and I’ll do Old Friends next time. One thing about it that I hope the Lane’s End friends are beginning to “get” is that your fans are NOT fickle. We’re not going away. I’m sure our ranks are swelling daily.
    And Dottie, please do not feel that we have to be entertained every day. We love the practical info. you’re giving us and the latest happenings, but please don’t feel pressured to come up with something new every day if not much is going on. We just LOVE and APPRECIATE that you are keeping us informed. It brightens each of our days. Love you always.

  22. @ Sunny Boyd,

    Most all mares are bred that way in Kentucky and other big commercial farms.

    Zenyatta will not likely even meet her mate face to face, she’ll be held still with twitch and probably a front leg hobble while she’s bred, then led away.

    It’s done for safetly to the stallions, and for time. Lane’s End farm will breed over 1000 mares this coming spring and some stallions will breed 3 mares a day. It’s as much an assembly line as they can make it and be ‘safe’.

    Very few valuable horses are ever pasture (free) bred. Larger farms breeding multiple mares employ many staff to try and make the process run smoothly. There will be someone at Zenyatta’s head with the twitch, perhaps a man holding up her leg (strap), a man holding her tail to the side, a man leading the stallion, usually one to ‘insert’ the stallion, etc.

    While they will make it as easy as they can for Zenyatta, I don’t think you’d call it a stress free or pleasureable experience for any maiden mare.

    @ Quarterhossgal,

    If only AI were allowed in TBs! Don’t think too many Ky farms employ the hind leg breeding hobbles, most seem to prefer the front leg held up. Less risk for entanglement & danger. Again, AI would eliminate so much of that stress and danger for the mares & stallions.

  23. Z . . . be careful in your bare feet. If you see a rock or stone, step around it. No wild kicks, you could connect with something that would chip or crack you hoofs. N more shoes!
    Good girl.

  24. Dottie and Zenyatta,
    Thanks so much for all of the creative and fun ways Zenyatta is helping to educate the beginning horse people. You are so special. Zenyatta has given a conduit to help teach and being a teacher I think this is an absolutely wonderful thing. This is what makes the experience of Zenyatta so unique.

  25. Hi Beautiful Girl – I like to walk barefoot also. It is so much fun to hear about your new life and your progress. Make sure to take care of yourself and keep us updated. Hugs and kisses. xoxo

  26. Thanks, Zenny and Dottie for the explanation. This information is very interesting. I’m happy for you that Johnny is back in your life. Life really does go full circle!
    Thanks also for the pictures! I like seeing you in your new home.

  27. Zenyatta and Dottie these are great. Iam so looking forward to who you will be bred to. I’m for A.P, Indy or Giant’s Causeway.

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