A Dream Life For Silver Peak

A Dream Life For Silver Peak

Carol Morison had no intention of adopting a horse that day at the farm five months ago – and then she heard a voice calling out to her.

It was last fall when Morison decided to make the 55-minute drive southwest from her home in Uxbridge, Ontario, to the picturesque 100-acre farm in Hillsburgh owned by the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

Established in 1999, LongRun is one of the most respected horse retirement and adoption organizations and the first industry-funded adoption program in Canada. 

Curiosity was the main reason behind the visit to see, first-hand, LongRun’s first-ever Graduate Horse Showcase, a day dedicated to celebrating the organization’s graduates and their adopters.

It also happened to be Morison’s birthday.

“My farrier has a Thoroughbred, and he was going that day,” recalled Morison. “Lou and (Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee, trainer) Mike Keogh are very good friends of mine, and Lou had mentioned that they were going to see one of the horses they had donated to LongRun.

“I said to my husband Barry, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to see Lou and Mike and the horses who are there?’ So, that’s what we did. We had no plans other than seeing what was going on at the farm with two good friends.”

Signing adoption papers for an ex-racehorse was not on her radar.

Until it was.

“When we got to the farm, we went over to the place where they were selling tickets for their fundraiser,” started Morison. “When I got to the table, a horse whinnied to me. I looked over and there was this big, beautiful grey horse looking out his stall.”

When he called again, Morison went over to take a closer look.

“I walked over, and it was just something, this familiarity that he seemed to show. I looked at him and he was just stunning. There was a feeling that came over me.”

It prompted her to find out more about the gallant-looking grey.

The more Morison heard, the more enamoured she became with him.

“I wondered what the story was with this horse. I spoke with a lady, and she had another woman come over to talk to me. She told me all about the horse.

“I asked Mike to come over and look at the horse with me. Mike stood outside the stall, and he liked the horse too.”

The one named Silver Peak.

Pedigree – his sire is multiple graded stakes winner Quality Road and his dam is Grade 3 stakes winner Dreamologist – suggested he could be a good one.

Bred and owned by LNJ Foxwoods, his life on the racetrack would yield just three starts.

After a second in his debut on November 13, 2022, at Woodbine, he broke his maiden next time out in a one-mile turf race at Tampa Bay Downs in February 2023.

Three months later, Silver Peak was tenth in a 1 1/16-mile test over the E.P. Taylor turf at Woodbine in what would be the final race of his career.

He worked steadily thereafter, but in early October 2023, the decision was made to retire the horse trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Josie Carroll.

“Knowing our horses are loved off the track is so reassuring,” said Jaime Roth, who, along with her parents Larry and Nanci, are the names behind family-owned LNJ Foxwoods, one of the sport’s major outfits in North America and abroad. “All our horses are important.

“The Dreamologist family is very special to us for a number of reasons, so this is the cherry on top.”

On the drive home from LongRun, Morison and her husband discussed possible next steps with Silver Peak, including filling out adoption forms.

The plan to start the forms back at their farm didn’t pan out.

“On my way home, I’m filling out my application for him,” said Morison with a laugh. “That wasn’t the idea when we went to the farm, but there was just something about him that is hard to put into words.”

A few days after everything was submitted, she received an email from LongRun.

Morison was nervous as she prepared to read it.

“I got an email on the Tuesday after we visited the farm, and we were just so excited. They check all the references – which was Lou and Mike – and do their due diligence, which is fantastic. They were going to send someone to our farm to have a look and inspect things to make sure it was the right home for Silver Peak.

“At that point, I asked if Lou and I could go up and see him again. I hadn’t seen him outside of the stall, so I wanted to have more of a personal look at him. They were very agreeable to that, so we went there and got to see him again.”

Morison felt an even stronger connection this time.

The same thought kept coming back to her.

“It felt like him being with us was meant to be.”

A little less than two weeks after Morison first met Silver Peak, he was on a trailer headed to Uxbridge.

The bond they shared grew even stronger almost from the moment they arrived at the farm.

“He trusts me, and he responds to me. He picks up on things so quickly. It’s as if he is saying to me, ‘Okay, you’ve shown me this, what else do you have?’

“I worked with him as I would with any young horse, and he took to it all. I have been teaching him the verbal and physical cues for Liberty work (relating to any work done with horses while they're loose, without a rope or reins, so they have the freedom to move around at will). Eventually, I will work with him in the round pen, off line, and will look towards the beginnings of Liberty.”

“We have started to train him under saddle in the fundamentals of dressage. He enjoys the interaction and loves to show off.”

Silver Peak is acutely aware of when Morison is close at hand, especially at a particular point in the day.

“When he knows I am at the house, he is almost like a sundial. When it gets closer to feeding time, I will see him stand at a certain point. He will look at the house and then he will move a little closer to the house. At the end, he is looking straight at the house from the bottom of his paddock, letting you know it’s time for him to come in. He whinnies to me when I come out – it’s amazing.”

His new life has also come with a name change.

Silver Peak is now known as Dreamer, a fitting choice for a proud owner.

“His mother’s name is Dreamologist and we have a motto here, which is found on our horse trailer. It says, ‘Dream it, believe it and do it.’ That is something I have lived by throughout my life.

“My one dog, Akira, her show name was October’s Dream. I have two horses here, one is Summer’s Dream, and the other is Mariska’s Dream. For me, he is a dream come true – it just fits.”

A perfect fit, in every sense, noted Roth.

“I’m so glad they found each other. The connection is palpable.”

There are moments, weather permitting, that Morison eagerly embraces, the times when she sees the handsome grey seemingly lost in thought.

What he is thinking of, she can only guess.

“You will catch him in the paddock sunning himself. He looks as though he’s dreaming. Maybe he’s dreaming about his racing days or being a pleasure horse – there is a look of contentment in his eyes.”

A sure sign that Dreamer, who stands close to 17 hands, is living the dream life in his new home.

Morison will often look back to the unexpected journey that led him there. ​ ​

“That day at LongRun was to contribute to the fundraiser and support the fantastic work they do. I keep coming back to the same thought that it was just meant to be. It certainly felt that way.”

It still very much does.

“You don’t come across it often, but there are times when there is a strong connection between a horse and a human. And that is exactly what we have with Dreamer.”

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Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

 

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Woodbine Racetrack is Canada’s home the biggest and most exciting thoroughbred races. Located in Toronto, Woodbine Racetrack typically operates thoroughbred racing from April through December. Premier races include the longest continuously ran horse race in North America, The Queen’s Plate, Breeders Cup win and you’re in races the Woodbine Mile, Summer and Natalma Stakes, along with the fan-favourite Canadian International Stakes. 

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