Florida retirement not to be

Plans for a dream retirement -- one fit for royalty -- appear to have ended.

For the last two-plus years Royal Colt, a nine-year-old gelding, has lived a pretty good life in the Coleman Stable at Fraser Downs. Although still competing until recent weeks, he has pretty much been like a pet to the Coleman family. He has been the best friend of Fast Lane Cruizin, something not to be taken lightly because, as Royal Colt knew, Cruizin is the best horse in B.C.

But, for a couple of months it appeared Royal Colt was going from a nice home to the epitome of the dream retirement. It looked like he was headed to a fancy farm in -- believe it or not -- Florida.

That farm belongs to Pamela Jo Pember, a self-confessed horse nut who was scouring horse web sites early this year looking for another "friendly" riding horse for her six-year-old son.

Pember found an ad she liked at www.exracers.com. It was placed by Casie Coleman because it had been determined that Royal Colt was done with racing and would not be going with the Colemans when they left (in late April) for Ontario with Cruizin and other horses in their stable. Casie was looking for a good home for Colt.

Enter the beauty of the internet as for a little while Pamela Jo and Casie "talked" about their mutual liking for Royal Colt. One liked the "perfect horse for our home" and the other the "perfect home for our horse." They, at first, did not realize they were talking between Florida and B.C.

"My family and I are quite impressed with Casie and Royal Colt as well," Pember told TrackMarks back in February, "and I am a firm believer in 'things happen for a reason.' "

"At first I thought that sounds great," Casie said at the time, "She (Pamela Jo) sent pictures of their place and it looked so nice. Later I told her it might be a hard situation (getting him to Florida) because of how far away it was."

At first Pember was not deterred. She already had a 21-year-old standardbred mare that her older daughter rides.

"I now belong to the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of Florida, Inc. which "places" horses in good homes after their racing career," she said. And after some studying she felt "I fell in love with the two of them (Casie and Royal Colt) after a couple of emails. Casie reminds me of myself at her age and Royal Colt seems like quite a character with a lot of personality."

That he is.

"We got him at Cal Expo (in Sacramento)," Casie explained. "He won four races for us but it was one problem after another (health wise)."

After much care and attention Royal Colt was back on the track but by now had become more like a pet. And why not.
"He will just stand there without a halter," Coleman said with great pride. "He will follow me everywhere and when I say 'Colt go home' he will go to his stall."

Colt has become a familiar face in south Surrey, visiting malls where he has "let kids sit on his back. He also went to the IGA and stood for two hours dressed up as Rudolph at Christmas time."

But to shorten the story here, Pember "says she can't do it (afford to get the horse to Florida) at this time," said Linda Coleman, Royal Colt's owner and Casie's mom. "We have run out of time as we are leaving for Ontario." (Pember knew this from day one).

So, Cruizin, and Phil and Linda, have left for Ontario. Linda will drive and pick up Casie who has been in Edmonton the last month.

Royal Colt remains in B.C. Others have told the Colemans "we are interested" but still nothing.

Does anyone out there need "a nice little horse" or a "big pet?"

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