News

A relative of Northern Dancer, the racehorse who also once served as a therapy animal has found a forever home

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

An 18-year former racehorse and therapy animal named Diamond Beau has found a permanent home after a family read about his story in a Postmedia newspaper article. (Facebook photo)

An 18-year former racehorse and therapy animal named Diamond Beau has found a permanent home after a family read about his story in a Postmedia newspaper article. (Facebook photo)

Diamond Beau has a home.

The registered racehorse, rescued from slaughter by a group of Embro school children known as The Hoof Club, will live out the rest of his life as a pampered companion thanks to a family that read about his plight in a Postmedia news story.

“Diamond Beau has found his forever family,” explained Jill Bowery, mother of one of the students who helped rescue him. “He's in a good home where he will live out his life as a companion for a family and elderly parent.”

Spearheaded by Brenna Parkhill, a pupil at Zorra Highland Park elementary school, the club raised enough money earlier this year to rescue a horse by selling hot chocolate on their school breaks.

They raised a total of $825, which purchased Diamond Beau and another small pony.

The mother and daughter discovered Diamond Beau, an 18-year-old chestnut gelding, in a kill pen of horses.

Their first impression was that he was friendly, calm and gentle, making him a good candidate for rescue.

Later, while researching his pedigree they discovered the 18-year-old chestnut gelding is a registered thoroughbred and the great, great, great grandson of Northern Dancer, a Canadian thoroughbred that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1964.

Diamond Beau is also descended from Canadian champion Regal Classic, Northern Dancer’s grandson. Both came from Windfields Farm in Oshawa.

First a racehorse, then a riding horse, Diamond Beau could no longer be ridden due to arthritis in its hind hock. For the last 10 years, he has worked with children with autism.

Hannah Power of Stoneridge Stables and Rehoming, a Stratford-area rescue that works with a network of people to save horses destined for slaughter, told Postmedia in March that Diamond Beau would have been shipped to Quebec for slaughter, had he not been intercepted.

Power said the horse now has a home due to the efforts of The Hoof Club.

“They are the reason he’s alive, and he was so worthy of being saved,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Beau is in a fantastic home with a whole family who loves him. He is just going to be a retired companion for the whole family to dote on.”

Beau’s new family paid his full fee, allowing the rescue to purchase a mare and her foal who were also headed to slaughter.

“That's three lives because of hot chocolate and some kids,” Bowery said.

HRivers@postmedia.com