Equine Rescue

“Notinrwildestdremz”: Abused Horse, Rescued, Runs in Race

by Erica Hill of CBS News

“I’ve been amazed at the progress that she’s made”

(CBS News) In the stands of Belmont Park Wednesday, Sean and Angelika Kerr were nervous.

Their four-year-old filly was about to run her first race.

The expectations for the rookie were admittedly low – in so many ways, her name, “Notinrwildestdremz,” pronounced: not in our wildest dreams, said it all.

“I don’t know if you remember the news, where some of these horses looked like Holocaust victims,” recounts Sean.

In the spring of 2009, police and a local humane society raided an upstate New York breeding farm, where they found deplorable conditions: 177 horses close to starving, their bodies ravaged.

The animals were confiscated and put up for adoption.

Among them, two young fillies and a gelding – each of them severely underweight and in desperate need of care.

“So we drove up,” recalled Angelika, managing partner of the 5R Race Horse Stable, “looked at them, and the decision was to be made which one we take. … So, we said, ‘Let’s take all three of them.”‘

With that, Captain Crime Scene, Driving Miss Dixie, and Notinrwildestdremz suddenly belonged to the Kerrs.

With three recovering horses now in their care, the couple knew they’d need a little help.

They created 5R Stables, and sold shares to finance their new mission.

What are the five Rs?

“They stand for rescue, rehabilitation, racing, re-training and retirement,” says Angelika.

More than 100 people have a share in 5R, whose goal it was to rehabilitate the three horses.

For two of the horses, the focus was on rehab – physical conditions as a result of their time at that breeding farm in upstate New York meant they’d never train as racehorses.

But Dremz – that’s her nickname – stood out.

“She came out of the barn with this confidence. I went, ‘Oh my God, she’s a racehorse!”‘

Through careful nurturing and rehabilitation, Dremz’s potential began to emerge, and the Kerrs went looking for a trainer.

They found Billy Turner, who has a rich pedigree of his own. Turner trained 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. And though nobody imagines that kind of success for Dremz, Turner agrees there’s something special about this horse.

“I must admit,” he says, “I’ve been amazed at the progress that she’s made.”

Two weeks ago, on the muddy main track at Belmont, Dremz impressed during a training run. The Kerrs and Turner knew she was ready to compete.

Which brings us back to the nervous couple up in the stands and Wednesday’s sixth race.

In the end, Dremz did not win. In fact, she finished dead last.

But that’s OK, because the race itself was a victory. She’d already beaten the odds.

As Sean and Angelica hugged, he said, “She did it. She did it!”

To see Erica Hill’s report, click on the video in the player above.

Click (HERE) to visit CBS News and to Comment

27 replies »

  1. You’ve already won the race 5R……….the horse is alive, healthy, well cared for and competed.

    Most importantly, you have promised a forever home. That means everything and more than most owners can provide.

    I love good news Sundays.


      • The cretin that caused this disaster was the owner (majority owner) of Unbridled (or is it Unbridled’s Song…can’t keep it straight). The guy made a mint, the stallion has many very UNdurable offspring and Parregallo got a slap on the wrist. The industry and the local LEOs hardly punished him……….and the people of NY and the US (fans and humans concerned) cleaned up HIS mess.

        Garbage human.


  2. I don’t know how many people know of Escapedfromnewyork’s story. He was also an Ernie Paragallo horse (same farm). Michael from Old Friends took him. Noname when I first saw him was so little and scared. And quick enough he put on much needed weight and now has his own field to run and play in. Maybe he didn’t make it to the track but he survived the hell that Ernie put him through and lives a happy life in Kentucky.

    Michael is truly one of those people that RT would impress. Because It’s About the Horse. And the network Michael has, farriers and vets would make anyone cry. Volunteers who take visitors around and refuse tips–makes it easier for me to put a larger donation in the donate box!

    And Michael has paid staff to help feed and keep an eye on the horses. Studs are different to manage. No their breeding days are over but their kept intact because it’s dangerous for the horses welfare to geld when they get that much older.


    • I know about that creep Paregallo (sp?).

      Vicki and I helped support Michael by playing in the “name game”. It was one of the few times I entered a money needed contest, and didn’t care that I lost……..it went to a good cause.

      Old Friends is a remarkable place; Michael and crew, remarkable humans.


  3. What a wonderful ending for a beautiful girl.. you just never know what diamond in the ruff you might find.. I am so happy for the rescue organization that gave her this chance.. thanks for this uplifting account of one horses journey to health and freedom..


  4. Wow! The Kerrs won’t use drugs on their horses even though that puts their horses last. O’Neill should listen. So should other trainers. Change is past due.


  5. I especially like the end of the video when the news lady said that the racehorse owners avoid giving their horses drugs because “IT IS BETTER FOR THEM”. If every person and agency involved with horses made their decisions based on what was BEST FOR THE ANIMAL we would not have animal abuse and we would have nothing to talk about on this blog.
    No offense R.T.but that would be a GREAT day.


    • No worries, this blog was originally set up to promote our book of which the proceeds go to Habitat for Horses but thanks to you guys, it has morphed into Equine Welfare Central and has a world wide audience.

      I am looking forward to the day when we can retire and call it quits as they are all safe. Hope to live that long…..B->


  6. Thanks for this post R. T. This story is rich in what it says not only about horses, but also the good that is in our own species as demonstrated by the Kerr’s. Interesting. They had Dreamz trained because he is a race horse and race horses want to run. Win or lose. They had him trained, took him to the track, and let him run because that it what this horse is about. Wow!

    From a bigger picture standpoint, they have a model where they have investors who own part of their rescue farm. I wonder if something like this would work in other large rescue missions. It would require the creation of a corporation and offering shares for interested parties to invest in, but I wonder if replicating this model would help other rescues who struggle with fund raising.

    For this one day, I will celebrate and be grateful for human goodness and the resilience and spirit of the horse. This is what we should be about and be joyful when we find it.

    Also a big thanks to CBS’s Erika Hill. I liked her work on CNN. It’s good to see her carry on.


  7. This is a beautiful story. We were so afraid for her in the first time out she slipped and fell in the gate and did not start.

    However, she was not hurt,and it didn’t seem to bother her since she loaded in the gate this time o.k.and broke out well.

    No matter that she didn’t win, it’s the journey, as they said, not the destination. May the journey be a safe and pleasant one for all involved with the 5R stable and all of the others who took in the abused horses of Ernie Paragallo, may he have a bumpy journey on his way to the hot place.


  8. What a wonderful story for Sunday morning !!! I love Sunday Mornings…………………. Thanks Mr RT Fitch !!!!! You have made my day with this one, race horses are very special to me !!!!!Oh Geeze they all are very special to me ????


    • A farrier I know has a cute mare he doesn’t ride either. He’s especially attached to her because she was born in his barn. I certainly can appreciate that.


  9. R T, What a wonderful story for this Sunday. May Angelika and Sean Kerr enjoy their little angel for the rest of their lives and all associated with 5R Stables, and Billy TUrner as well. I have three horses at a sanctuary here in So. California and, I believe, she has a grandson or nephew of Seattle Slew. I call him Seattle Slew, he is a big boy, but a great animal and loves his treats. THis story for me was good as when I was out at the sanctuary yesterday, a horse that had been a charo horse and never came to anyone as he had been so abused, started to shake when the farrier went in the corral to trim the other horse’s feet that was corraled with him, He made a turn and shook even harder and then collapsed. When I feed the other horse with him treats, he would make two or three steps toward me as if he wanted to start to trust again, but would stop, apparently remembering the torture he had endured at man’s hands. Yesterday, I was able to go over to him as he lay dead in the corral and finally pet him and tell him “May God embrace you and give you the love and care that you deserved during your life on earth.” I will never forget him and I cried for him. He deserved so much better. He had food while the sanctuary had him but he wouldn’t let himself be touched. We wanted to groom him but that was impossible and as he lay in the corral and with the rainrot on his back, he was beautiful to me. I cried for him and he, now in heaven, saw when I cried over him that he will be missed and how I wish he would have let me give him love and attention while at the sanctuary.. BUt now, he can run and play in Heaven and not worry about a human’s abuse. May all the horses that were saved from Parregallo now have good care and love and may Parregallo get what he deserves when his time comes to cross over the human’s Rainbow Bridge. May his eternity be nothing but pain.


  10. Courage,conviction,concern,conscience,commitment. If only we could bottle it and spray it on a few…… you know what I mean. Great story for a race weekend. These people are heroes in a hard world. Peace to them and their horses.


  11. A great story and so refreshing to see this couple giving new life to these animals. I admire their willingness to allow the horse to race without the use of drugs. Given time with the such a qualified trainer, “not in our wildest dreams “may wind up a winner after all. When you think about it, the owners and those involved are truly the real winners! (-: Wonderful story!


  12. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76544.html looks like the farmbill is in the talks the perfect time to attach a horse slaughter prohibition provision on to a major bill especially the senate version since, it may come up for a vote first and it’s the the senates the hardest one to pass the horse slaughter prohibition especially with max baucus in office you know he was the main reason that congress refunded the USDA inspectors, he wrote a letter asking the senate to leave the horse slaughter defunding out of the ag bill in november, he’s also trying to stop the double decker prohibition in hr 7 from passing.


  13. I watched this video, it was awesome! The horse & her new owners are awesome! Even if Notinrwildestdremz didn’t actually “win” this race, she DID “win” the race just by being there! Thank you to all the rescuers that saved those horses!


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