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Member Stories


Meet Ellen M. Dal Cerro, Helping "Off Track" Thoroughbreds


I'm a 46 year old Realtor in Sedona, AZ. Lived here 20 years, originally from S. CA where I showed Los Angeles county open shows and the Arabian show circuit.

Got my first TB off-track when a man driving down the street in a sports car saw me saddling up a colt I was starting for someone. I was 21, just divorced, living back with mom and dad and flat broke! He asked if I wanted a horse and I told him there was no way I could afford to keep one. Then I asked what kind and he said a TB. I asked what sex and he said a stallion. Well, that clinched it for me. Had to get someone to drive me a hundred or so miles to see this guy down in Murietta Hot Springs. He was gorgeous and had been laid up for nearly a year with a cracked sesimoid (my first one). He was actually a ridgeling, but was always a perfect gentleman. This was back when I actually had time to ride and a riding arena to use. Within four months he was working wonderfully at western pleasure. I could ride him anywhere in a halter and lead rope. He had been bred in Australia and imported to the US and run at Hollywood Park on the turf. A small area show came up and a friend trailered me to the show. I borrowed clothes, a show saddle and bit and entered him in three classes. There were only ten or so people in each class but I was proud when I won two firsts and a second in Western Pleasure.

Things changed at home as they do when you're young and I ultimately had to sell Portable. It broke my heart to sell this horse more than any before or since. He was sold to two teenage girls who were going to use him for hunter/jumper. They had him gelded. Several years went by and I decided to take huntseat lessons at one of the area stables with a girl friend. Oddly enough I ran into an exboyfriend-still friend, at the stable. I asked why he was there and he said his dad just bought his younger sister a horse a really wonderful horse (younger sister like from a second marriage). Soon his sister showed up on a bay gelding. It was my horse Portable now named something else, of course! I was so surprised and so happy for him as the little girls parents were quite wealthy and lived in Bradbury Estates (for you S. Californians). My goal was to train this horse well enough so he would hopefully always have a good home and I had attained my goal.

I got to ride him that day and he was just as willing and responsive as ever!

It's just been in the last two years or so that I have been trying to buy a TB, retrain it, just the basics, and get it moved on to someone who can do more than I can as far as training. I'm lucky if I make any money at all, as I have little time to ride and mostly pay for feed! LOL I guess you could say, I'm pretty good at finding these horses, bs-ing with the trackers and have earned the trust of several. My speciality is "let-down", getting the basic kinks out of them, determining who can ride them and possibly what disipline.

I can only afford to keep two horses because I must board. Since I'm somewhat attached to my 16.3h Pirate's Bounty gelding, Tor, that allows me to buy and sell one other horse. I currently have a nice, chestnut (really red) 6 yr. gelding, bred in Ireland for sale. He is about 15.3h and built a little stockier. He could easily pass for racing QH. I would say he is gentle, very willing and really has a brain. He will be easy for anyone to train that has had some experience in training or will be working with a trainer. He will never vet sound as he has osselets on both front pasterns but he is not lame. He may experience some loss of flexibility in one pastern but to what degree that will effect him, I do not know. He may need to be buted at some point in the future before he is ridden or after, depending on the circumstances.

Flin, as I call him, for "brilliant red" in Gailic, has a wonderful temperament. He is not hot. He is a dog! I mean he loves people and will literally chase other horses away so you can give him attention. He will smell your face, sniff your pockets for treats and generally make a pest of himself.

I would like him to go to an intermediate rider, possibly someone who is just getting back into horses after raising their kids (or whatever) that was a good rider in the past and would now like to pleasure ride.

I live about 60 miles from Prescott Downs which will be open from now through September, before the horses go back to Turf Paradise in Phoenix. I would be glad to look for horses for anyone interested. Unfortunately, I cannot buy all the ones I see that are forsale. There always seems to be one I really want but right now don't have the money or space.

I can be reached at: ELLEN M. DAL CERRO (email) I have business cards I give out at the race track that say "OFF TRACK" Equine Rescue Give your racehorse a second chance, TB's & QH's. I don't have a "rescue" status but I will do my best to help and owner or trainer place an injured horse by use of the internet and I tell them that's how I do it. There is not charge. I do charge to take or meet people at the race track or to go and take pictures of a specific horse for a buyer. Depending on how much I have to do, the price is between $150 & $250. It's an 1 1/2 hr drive to Prescott from Sedona and almost 2 hours to Phx. Often times when I know about certain horses I post them to ROAN or if it is a QH, I post them to the Quarter-Horse-L group on their once a week market place.


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