Horses like Duet often fall through the cracks.
written by Adrianna Valenti, Duet’s new owner
I’ve been more or less away from the horse world for more than a decade but always had the desire to come back – especially to support the rehabbing of OTTBs. I had been watching TPR’s stories and rescue from afar for quite a while, but for some reason I never reached out, and then one day the posting about Duet hit my social media feed. I saw his picture; the cute little face and ears and I was immediately smitten. I then read Kimberly’s Clark’s (head trainer at TPR) all too honest description of him, smiled, laughed, and immediately knew he was perfect. Perhaps it was because his little attitude was all too relatable and how Kim described how he needed a purpose and a job – this is a core belief of mine that I’m very passionate about for humans and animals alike. I overthink everything, but it was easy to make the decision to put in an application to adopt Duet. Soon after, I got a call from Kim and we had a great conversation about what she had been working on with him, his pterodactyl-like tendencies, and I can still hear her saying very directly, “He WILL bite you,” to which I responded, “I’d love to meet him.”
I was nervous to go meet Duet and Kim. I wasn’t sure if I was good enough or knowledgeable enough for him. But out to Maryland I went and Kim welcoming and made me feel comfortable. I felt comfortable enough to ask any question that came to mind and she was more than willing to talk through it all. She let me ride him, give him cookies, and I closely observed his behavior. Was he a bit sassy? Absolutely, but Kim was right, you could definitely see a good horse in there. She didn’t give up on him, gave him the space and direction he needed and he was really coming around and working on trust.
I came out a few more times to spend some time around him, and it wasn’t long before I committed to adopt Duet. The entire process was smooth and confidence boosting. Kim has a trusted trainer out in Middleburg, VA near me, and it was a perfect match for us to work with her. Foxrock Stables is a cute, quiet little farm where I feel like the individual attention Duet gets from the few of us really helps continue on the foundation he received at Thoroughbred Placement Resources.
Since the adoption in June, Duet continues to thrive! He is an absolute character and makes us all laugh as he continues to relax and be himself. He’s an emotional guy, if he’s happy or upset you’ll know it, but he’s quick to calm and get back on track with a firm yet understanding hand. Most of the time he’s just so happy. He enjoys working, exploring, getting pampered, hanging out with all his new friends, and of course cookies.
We have been doing a lot of fun riding and lately have been doing more jumping. Even when he’s unsure, he tries his best. His cute little ears are always forward and he always seems so happy to go to work. He knows he’s a special boy and it’s been such an amazing experience to see him relax and come out of his shell. I’m super excited for our future together and our plan is to continue to work on his foundation and our relationship, see what he likes, continue jumping, and hopefully next season start on some local shows!
about Inject the Light—Duet
When Duet arrived at TPR, he presented us with some serious challenges. His aggressive behavior towards other horses and people was a cause for great concern. We firmly believe that aggression in horses is not indicative of a “bad” horse, but rather a defensive response. It’s a manifestation of their fear or feeling of being under threat. As prey animals, horses are instinctively wired to either flee or fight. In Duet’s case, unable to flee, he felt compelled to fight.
Our mission at TPR is to understand why horses like Duet feel this way and find solutions tailored to their needs. This is no small task; it requires resources, skills, intensive training, diagnostic evaluations, and most importantly, time. For Duet, it took us over a year to understand and address his behavioral issues. But patience is the cornerstone of our philosophy here at TPR – it takes as long as it takes.
Our commitment is unwavering: every horse that comes into our program stays until they either find a loving home or live out their days with us. While most retired racers often require less time and resources, Duet’s journey was a testament to the transformative power of patience and understanding.
Now, Duet stands as a symbol of resilience and growth, a wonderful horse who has overcome his past. And for Adrianna, he has become her dream horse. Their story is a testament to the power of not giving up on a horse. It’s a reminder that, in the end, every effort, every resource, and every moment spent is truly worth it because it leads to stories like Duet and Adrianna’s.