One Fine Equine

A retired Thoroughbred finds a new audience


Photograph by Richard Killian Photography

What do you do if you’re fast, beautiful, have a perfect body, are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and people are trying to ride you all the time? There’s a good chance you’d be strutting your stuff, and that’s exactly what one particular Westchester stud is doing.

His name is Southern Charm, and he’s a former racehorse of elite pedigree. His father won the 2007 Preakness Stakes and the 2007 Breeder’s Cup Classic. But Westchester equestrian Courtney Safadi says Southern Charm’s recent track record proves classically quick-twitch Thoroughbreds can succeed at a slower velocity, too. 

In May, the 5-year-old won second place for a handful of events at the Old Salem Farm’s Welcome Horse Show Day. Though Southern Charm’s recent achievements are nothing to snort at, Safadi insists it’s not a matter of mere vanity that impels her. For her, it’s a humane endeavor.

She says that many show competitors tend to buy other breeds, but she hopes Southern Charm’s success will convince other equestrians to use Thoroughbreds, which are often abandoned or sent to slaughterhouses after retiring from racing. “A lot of people are starting to reconsider giving Thoroughbreds a chance in their barns,” says Safadi, a freelance graphic designer who lives in North Salem. 

Though some neigh-sayers may assert that retraining a Thoroughbred as a show horse is a lengthy process, Safadi says the end result is worth it. 

“They’re so smart and so athletic,” she says. “They really want to know what you’re asking of them.” 




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