No one knows for sure how long Specialist and his companion had been alone in the hills of San Luis Obispo County. Both horses were found emaciated, and truck and trailer tracks were found nearby that suggested that their owner had simply unloaded them and abandoned them with no food or water. It was fall, none of the seasonal streams were running, and all the spring grass was dried up and gone.
The local Sheriff’s department and Animal Services were contacted, and the starving horses were loaded up and taken to the County holding facility to receive much-needed food, water, and veterinary care. No one stepped forward to claim the horses, and the county could not keep them for very long, so the Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (HEET) contacted Redwings to see if we could accept the horses. Redwings said yes, and the two horses were on their way the next day.
Specialist raced four times in California with one win, two seconds, and one-third. His total earnings were $21,800. He raced at Santa Anita, Golden Gate, and Bay Meadows during his race career. We have no idea what happened to Specialist between his days on the track and when he was found abandoned in the hills, but he was now safe and happy at Redwings. We gave him the barn name “Ricky,” and we called his companion “Fred.”
Ricky enjoyed life at the sanctuary and, over time, regained his health. In 2015 a woman from Santa Rosa, California, read our article about Ricky and instantly knew she needed to make the long 5-hour drive to meet him. Once she saw Ricky’s beautiful head and looked into his big dark eyes, that was it, she was in love. Ricky has now been in his adopted home for almost a year. He has two beautiful palomino mares that are his constant companions and a family that loves him.