Diary Post #137

Photo by Barbara Livingston


Good Morning All!

What a day I had yesterday…all filled with GREAT surprises! I now know all of my friends here at Lane’s End had a wonderful surprise planned for me…and they filled TEAM ZENYATTA in on it!  

For days, as you know, I have been walking around in my new paddock.  The Farm wanted me to be totally familiar with every inch of the area.  This is all part of my ‘baby steps’ process.   Each day, I was given a bit more space to investigate and explore with Charles, Donna and the crew here!   They ultimately had me on a very loose hold during these adventures. I was also given ample time to look at all of my beautiful surroundings and thoroughly relax and enjoy my time outdoors.

After several days of this, the FARM felt I was totally comfortable with my new paddock. A plan was then developed to establish the day when I could be ‘on my own’ outside. It was organized for this to take place YESTERDAY. TEAM ZENYATTA WAS PART OF THE PLAN…and they flew into Lexington TO SHARE THIS MOMENT WITH ME!  

As I was being prepared for my morning ‘walk’, David and Mike picked up Team Z at the airport. SURPRISE!   Within minutes, they were all right here with me  at my Lane’s End Barn!  SUCH FUN!   (Carrots and mints for EVERYBODY!)  Yippee!

Barbara Livingston, from DRF, and Anne M. Eberhardt and Alex, from THE BLOODHORSE, were also on hand.  Sweetly, ANN MOSS  was going to take some of her own videos…….and MY DEAR JOHN  brought his new camera to add to the fun!  

When I was ready, we all walked out to my paddock together. It was crisp…but not as cold as the last time they were here. For quite a bit of time, I walked around with Charles.  We wanted to show everyone how well I handled this. We walked all over this large paddock…and I checked out everything….just like I have been doing for days now. Ann, Jerry, John, Dottie, Mario and Carmen…all thought I was doing very well. I was really feeling very confident in this space and with the footing.

Then, suddenly, (and to my surprise…and delight) Charles took the shank off me.  I was allowed to be  ‘ON MY OWN’. Lane’s End positioned many people from their staff all over the perimeters of the paddock area as they wanted to be sure I was very logical and safe at this moment.

GUESS WHAT???? I WAS! At first, I just played around with some alfalfa they had carefully positioned in 2 places in the center area of the paddock. I moved from one patch of this to another…walking and grazing. Then I thought…Hmmmm…this is different!  I don’t really have anyone right next to me. Suddenly I looked up and saw so many of my friends all standing several feet away. At that moment, I noticed Mario. I walked over to him and stood there. He hugged me and scratched my neck like he has done for YEARS! It was so special! I walked over to the Moss’. Ann and Jerry both hugged me and gave me some great treats from home.

Then I looked at my dear JOHN…and walked over to him. He gave me several loving pats and then looked down and ‘checked my legs’. (Old habits just don’t go away. This is a TRAINER kinda’ thing. John has checked my legs every single morning for over 4 1/2 years. It was like great old times!) For several minutes more, I was able to walk around and greet all of my other friends. THIS WAS REALLY GOING WELL!

Now…I thought…HMMM! Let’s see what happens when I walk farther out to the other part of the paddock. So I did. I walked around looking at everything. I was careful..and enjoyed this. I WAS ALL BY MYSELF! I stood at one edge of the paddock just staring over the fence. 2 squirrels were playing in the tree…and I just loved watching them. I walked over to see the geese playing in the pond.  I then went to greet all of my Lane’s End friends standing in each part of the paddock…..making sure they knew I was safe.

This went on for many more minutes. I just walked, looked, stood…and enjoyed every single moment.

Then, the thought occurred to me…CAN I JOG OFF and RUN? No lead pony, no Steve, no Mike Smith…no equipment…JUST ME! I put up my tail and planted my feet in the snow. It felt good. I jogged a bit and felt the brisk air on my skin. I stretched my legs and stepped right out! Hmmm, I thought! This is fun…and it is really going well. I went over to the other edge of the paddock. Donna was there to meet me. WOW!!!! Am I really doing this? I’m all by myself!

I pranced to the side of the paddock where all of my other friends were standing. I danced for them…and even walked right over to Dottie and gave her a BIG KISS!

I walked back around and greeted every single person as I made my way to the far side of the paddock! SUDDENLY (my confidence now was really strong)…….. I TOOK OFF! 

I stretched, I bucked, I played…and then I RAN. What a lucky girl! As I rushed across the paddock, I squealed with delight. It was my way of THANKING EVERYONE for my wonderful, wonderful life.


After running free for several more minutes, Charles put the shank back on me. As you know, they have to monitor my time like this to be sure I am safe and don’t get too excited at first.  The crew then took turns walking me around the paddock some more. Mario took his turn…and it was ALL FABULOUS!


After all of this exercise, it was time to go back to my barn and have something to eat. My friends and TEAM Z followed me and stayed and visited with me for hours.

What A MOMENT, what A DAY…and what SPECIAL MEMORIES!  

I hope to share more photos of this day with you soon. Thank you to Barbara for the one we are using today. This day was all very, very special to me…and I know in my heart it was also very special for all of TEAM Z.  They traveled thousands of miles to share this one new stage of my life with me! They all told me…they would not have missed today for anything!

What more could a GIRL want or have…than so many people who love her SO MUCH!
With love,


  1. Your diary is every day a highlight for me. So glad to see you happy retired and in such a good condition. Great connection you have. Love you Zenny.

  2. Queen Z:
    It is wonderful to see you so happily dancing and running around. How great that Team Z was there! It’s obvious that you are Ann’s baby. I LOVED the big smile on Mario’s face as he lead you around. I hope your new life is always filled with happiness.

  3. Hey Z: I’m like everyone else. I must have watched the video a dozen times at least. In watching, I have thought back over the things I have read about Seabiscuit and much more recently, Rachel Alexandra. Seabiscuit was brought into his own by his trainer Tom Smith, who saw so much more in that little horse than anyone ever had before and led him out of the mishandling, mistraining and close to abuse that he had suffered, to be a champion and happy in his life. On the other hand, from what little I have read, Rachel Alexandra went in the opposite direction. Her 2009 racing career was just excellent and then her trainer was changed and her 2010 career was less than stellar. 5 starts, first in her first 2 races and 2nd in her last three races. Then she was retired at 4 years old with no ceremonies and just sort of disappeared back to her co-owner’s farm, Stonestreet, to be bred to Curlin. Now we have Zenyatta who went straight into the hands of the Mosses and John Sheriff and all of Team Z to never have to endure what the other 2 horses had endured. She was handled properly and trained impeccibly from the start. Never rushed, never trained “out of her personality”, always treated with care, kindness and understanding and we all agree on the results. It’s been said so many times in this website, John and Team Z, what you have accomplished with this mare should become an industry standard! Evaluate the horse for potential and train accordingly instead of using methods that are questionable at best to make each and every racing thoroughbred a champion whether they have the talent and ability or not. The same can be said of every breed. Having run a boarding stable and personally owned quarter horses, walking horses, saddlebreds and a couple of half Arabs and having gone to so many shows, I can tell you without doubt that so very many people will try to make their average nice horse into something entirely different just to get the blue ribbon. I’ve seen everything from bits you would never put in a horse’s mouth to bitting rigs, impossible shoeing and things I don’t even want to talk about used on horses that their misguided owners thought would make them “champions” and none of these things ever worked. You simply can’t substitute proper breeding and sensitive, empathic, expert training. Z, you’ve had all of the good things and none of the bad and for that we zenyattaholics are so grateful. I doubt that I will live long enough to see the horse industry, overall, change very much but maybe Team Z has made a good start in the right direction. Dottie, if you don’t write a book, I think you’ve missed your calling. Your writing style is just wonderful.

  4. You dear Zen have brought joy to a nation that now has so many problems. God knew how to show his love to us. He sent his care in the form of a majestic loving creation. Thank you for gracing us with your presence Zen. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all who read these humble words.

  5. Zenyatta, thanks so much for the wonderful post. I loved the video, it was so great to see you run free around the paddock, I was in tears watching such a special moment. I can’t thank you and your team enough for keeping us all posted. It almost feels like we are there with you. I am so happy that you were able to spend some quality time with your CA family. You are a very special girl, keep warm and stay safe. Sending you warm Hugs & Kisses.
    We love you,

  6. My Sweet Lady Zenyatta, I have been so waiting for this day for you and words can not express the joy in my heart I have for you. To see you run free brngs tears of joy to my eyes. I know that was such a special moment when your Team Z family was there to share it with you. And I THANK ALL OF THEM for sharing this with your fan family! You are poetry in motion, Zenyatta. To see your head held high and your tail as well, running and playing in the snow and neighing, what a fabulous site to behold. Then as Charles led you back you PRANCED! I love seeing you prance! I know you are feeling great when you do that in front of your Team Z family. You are a lucky lady but you deserve every bit of special attention you get because you are still so humble after all you have accomplished in your life. God created a Miracle when He created you, Lady Zenyatta! You are another example of seeing & feeling God’s Love. Just to enjoy the Beauty inside & outside you posses and how it affects people! It’s another way of God saying slow down & take notice of My Creations! I love you Lady Zenyatta!
    With Love of Hugs & Kisses from Alabama, Amanda

  7. I watched the video on Bloodhorse and it made me laugh and cry (happy tears) all at the same time. It is wonderful to see you so happy. What a tremendous moment it must have been to finally be free for the first time in 4 1/2 years! And to see you surrounded by so much love!!! Team Z is made up of some of the most wonderful people this sport has ever seen!!!

  8. I’M SOOOOO HAPPY for you. I cried when I read it and when I watch the video! CONGRATS!

  9. finally after a great career you can enjoy being a horse!!!!have fun!!!take care
    you’re my favorite racehorse
    love from holland

  10. What a day, Z. I truly wish I could have been there! Hugs.

  11. Z, your diary is a wonderful way to show the world the best there is about horse racing! You are a champion, and your team are champions for the love and care they demonstrate now that your racing days are over. Kudos to Lane’s End, all your family and friends, and to the fans who love you that will introduce others to you and to racing. The sport needs a hero, and you are it.

  12. I watched the video on Bloodhorse! It was beautiful Zenny!!

  13. Magnificent…the joy on the faces of all surrounding Zenyatta on her first day running free is a memory I won’t soon forget. Lane’s End and Team Z are so special to make this occasion one to treasure for a lifetime. I have tears of joy that so many wonderful people are sharing this experience with us. Thank you so much. Simply beautiful.

  14. Carmen must be a wonderful wife sharing Mario with another woman!

  15. you are lucky, being a horse, enjoying yourself … wish all horses, all off-the-track TBs were as lucky as you are!
    We’ll come down from MI to visit you asap!

  16. You are loved Zenyatta- you are loved.

  17. Oh how grand Z! I cried tears of joy for you. To know that your team Z family came to be there just warms my heart. You did earn a little fun now. I think of you whenever I eat a sweet potatoe or have a hard candy mint! I thank your family and your new friends for all their support and love for you.

  18. Z, this is my favorite post of yours yet! I just love watching you enjoy the next part of your amazing journey and am SO grateful we get to experience it with you. What an amazing family you have! Merry Christmas, girl!

  19. Hi Sharon C.,
    Totally agree with you about Rachel Alexandra. Maybe she won HOY but it was at a tremendous cost. Zenyatta runs with joy with virtually no cropping. Rachel Alexandra was running her heart out and still got cropped and cropped. She was doing all she could and someone still wanted more with no thought of her at all. It’s the Zenyatta team that should be honored and recognized. They showed how it’s possible to help an extraordinary horse develop into a champion for the world by considering the horse FIRST of all.

  20. Amazing video, thanks to all..Lanes End, The Moss’s, The Sheriff’s and to you Z.

  21. I will tell you – that video brought tears of absolute joy to my eyes. It was wonderful!!!

  22. 321 replies to post #37!! The spirit of the holidays is alive and well in the hearts of Zenyatta fans. Massive KUDOS and THANK YOUS to Team Z, Lane’s End and BH for sharing Zenyatta’s joy with us. I’m sure we all wish the same love and care for every TB.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful video Z. What a gift it was for Christmas to see you running free & whinnying & with all those who love you so much. What a tribute to the care that has been given to you by Team Z. Thank you Dottie for the narration of Z’s new BIG step. There is a response to I lied on Bloodhorse Hangin with Haskin-written by Abigail Anderson that all should read. It is a tribute to you Z & beautifully written. I still cry when I read these posts especially this one. Merry Christmas Z & God bless you.

  24. I saw the video of you running what a splendid thing to see. I think it is Dottie that is helping you write this diary. All I can say to her is a very big THANK YOU. You really make this special and what a wonderful way to keep informed about our precious Zenyatta.

  25. Absolutely Awesome!!! Hi Zenny!
    Wow, what a wonderful experience. I could watch you run all day. Love You.

  26. As so many have said this is one of Z’s best posts. I loved the video especially the fact that Team Z came from the west coast to see Zen running free in her paddock.John, Mario, Ann, Carman, there is no doubt that your have treated Z with love and respect and she returned it in spades to all of you. I have been lucky enough to have horses in my life the past 40 years and even now I can’t wait to get to the barn every day to do my chores and spend time with woman’s best friend. If you treat them fairly and show them love and respect they will always give you their best. God Bless Team Z for showing the world the bond between humans and horses.

  27. Hi Zenyatta,

    I was so glad to see you again with Mario. I know he loves you very much and you can see by his gentle hands that he is the best. He has a respect for you like no other. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year sweet girl.

  28. ZENNY, What a BEAUTIFUL picture. What a GREAT SURPRISE. I am so glad you are HAPPY. How WONDERFUL it must have been to be REUNITED with all of TEAM Z. I have received the BEST CHRISTMAS GIFTS from YOU ZENNY your VIDEO and I just received your T-SHIRT that was on your website. THANK YOU SO MUCH Z. I LOVE YOU LOVE LORI XOXO…

  29. I’m crying again, for joy, love you Z!!! xo

  30. Hello Zenyatta! Thank you so much for sharing the Z team visit with us. You describe the experince so clearly it’s like we were there watching you too. You have a gift for writing. We know you are still adjusting so we thank Dottie for helping you write your diary. Please continue to share your precious moments with us. Merry Christmas to you Dottie,John and the entire Z family! God bless all of you.

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