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  • Writer's pictureMeili Mattern

One Sip - The Namesake

In this post we are taking a little detour from the typical life on the farm topics. Our farm definitely has an interesting name - One Sip Farm. Perhaps you might think this name comes from the bubbling, little creek that runs the length of our land. Or, maybe it could be because Ethan, the farmer, likes to indulge in a “just one sip” of an adult beverage every now and again. However, the actual origin of the farm’s name has to do with my sister’s horse. These days, around the barn, he is known as Scooby. But, in his former life he was a racehorse at Penn National Race Course, which is located in Grantville, Pennsylvania. His Jockey Club name, the “official” name given to each thoroughbred race horse, was One Sip. During his racing days he ran in 13 races, winning one of them, and earned his former owner about $29,000.

Racehorses’ careers begin early, and Scooby’s was pretty typical. He started racing as a 3 year old in 2014 and ended his days on the track in late 2015. The racing industry is often an incredibly brutal place for horses once their racing days are over. Sadly, many end up on a truck bound for slaughter. There are simply not enough homes for all the former racehorses, especially the ones that have suffered an injury.

Though some off-the-track thoroughbreds do get a chance at a new life. One Sip was one of the lucky ones. After a little rest time, Chloe, my sister, bought him as a lightly restarted 5 year old. His new career was learning to be an event horse. For those who are not familiar with eventing, it is an equestrian sport that is done in 3 phases: dressage, cross country, and show jumping. Scooby made admirable progress! Together Scooby and Chloe have competed at recognized events in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. In the last year, Scooby had even learned to (finally!) love dressage! Many plans had been made for their future together during Chloe’s gap year as a working student and during her college years.

However, last week it was tragically discovered that Scooby’s left eye retina had detached in a manner that could not be fixed. It was decided that the best course of action was to remove the eye, which is called enucleation. He had a successful surgery this morning (thank you to the fabulous doctors at Carolina Equine Hospital!) and is recovering. The eye that was removed has been sent off for a histological evaluation, which will hopefully shed some light onto the causes of his eye condition. There is some evidence that the “good” eye, the right eye, has uveitis, which is a chronic and degenerative condition that can lead to blindness.

So, while Scooby’s future as a competitive event horse is up in the air, he always has a comfy spot in which to retire in the pastoral fields at the farm named after him.

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