By Melanie Huggett
Zenyatta, the Thoroughbred mare who finished her racing career with an impressive 19:1 win ratio, is adjusting well to her new life at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. Since arriving on December 6, Zenyatta has been slowly introduced to her new life by Lane's End staff.
Often called "Queen Z" by her fans, the coming seven-year-old mare has a large box stall in a broodmare barn with eight other mares. Her shoes were removed and she is now "barefoot."
For weeks her new caretakers led her around her paddock, allowing her to relax fully in her new environment.
"Queen Z" explained on her blog at www.zenyatta.com: "I have been walking around in my new paddock. The farm wanted me to be totally familiar with every inch of the area. This is all part of my ‘baby steps’ process. Each day, I was given a bit more space to investigate and explore with Charles, Donna, and the crew here! They ultimately had me on a very loose hold during these adventures. I was also given ample time to look at all of my beautiful surroundings and thoroughly relax and enjoy my time outdoors.
"After several days of this, the farm felt I was totally comfortable with my new paddock. A plan was then developed to establish the day when I could be ’on my own’ outside."
That day was December 21, and the mare's trainer, John Shirreffs, owners Jerry and Ann Moss, and racing groom Mario Ezpinoza flew out from California for the event. Zenyatta seemed to enjoy her time outside, whinnying as she galloped and bucked around the field (Watch a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PdIT-mxKOU).
She now goes out with a grey Thoroughbred mare that is stabled across from her, "Pirate Queen."
It is expected that Zenyatta will be bred, but is has not been announced when that would occur or who the potential sire could be.
However, from all accounts it seems Queen Z is settling in well to her new life.