NORTHWOOD, N.D. -- Former race horse Sam Scored a Goal is on a new track at a farm near Northwood.
The 7-year-old thoroughbred gelding that ran at Canterbury Downs in Shakopee, Minn., now grazes with three stablemates in a five-acre pasture on the family farm of Debbie and Mark Korsmo. That is, when he’s not competing in area horse shows.
The Korsmos bought Sam for their daughter, Siri, about a year ago. As a 3- and 4-year-old, Sam ran races of five and six furlongs -- a furlong is about 220 yards -- and finished in the money seven of the eight times he raced.
The Korsmos purchased Sam from an Anoka, Minn., stable that had adopted him from Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption near Rhame. The organization, founded by Richard Bowman, a veterinarian, rescues off-the-track thoroughbreds and puts them up for adoption after determining what kind of riding or horse show competition for which they would best be suited.
The Korsmos don’t know much about Sam’s history except that he raced at Canterbury Downs and that his owner died; after that, he ended up at Bowman Second Thoroughbred Adoption. He had been at the Anoka stable that adopted him from the rescue organization for only a couple of weeks when Debbie Korsmo saw his profile online.
Siri, 17, was ecstatic when her mom told her about Sam, she said. She had been unsuccessfully searching for a horse that she could use to compete in show jumping for so long she was convinced that it would never happen.
“I had given up," she said.
During the past year, Siri has ridden Sam for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours per day, five days a week. She alternates his training, some days taking him for trail rides down the roads around the farm and other days riding him in an arena. Siri works on jumping form three times a week and now she and Sam compete in jumping events.
“When I got him, he wouldn’t jump anything,” Siri said.
Debbie Korsmo grew up in a family that owned racehorses and later worked as an exercise rider for a racehorse stable in Kentucky, so she has been able to help Siri with Sam’s training. Though Sam is used to running full speed in races, he’s not difficult to control, she said.
“Playing guitar is probably harder on her hands than riding Sam,” she said.
It did take some time to get used to his powerful, long strides, according to Siri.
“Between him and all the other horses, it’s a crazy difference,” Siri said. “When you jump, you feel like you’re going over nothing.”
Besides the time spent riding Sam, Siri feeds him, grooms him and cleans his stall. Girl and horse have developed a bond, evident by the way Sam nuzzles Siri. She returns his affection by giving him kisses on the nose.
“I love him a lot,” Siri said. “I think he loves me, too.”