Thanks to Amy Paulus, yesterday’s runner is a star of tomorrow
By Nancy Holthus, paddock analyst for Indiana Grand
There are so many important factors involved in the care of a Thoroughbred, too many to count. But one that many people don’t take into consideration is providing a secure home for them after their racing career is over. Fortunately for those at Indiana Grand, there is a special person that many count on to provide not only a good home, but also retraining for a second career for their retired equine athletes.
Amy Paulus has family ties to the track. Her father, David, and grandfather, Richard, both trained at Indiana Grand. Riding since the age of two, Amy is accomplished in all disciplines including barrel racing, hunter jumper, polo, team roping, trick riding and more. At a young age, she would restart horses that were retired by her father and had much success. Unbeknownst to her, that talent and passion would lead to a career. Her experience on the back of a horse is priceless, and the retired horses that come to her, whether purchased or given, are retrained by her. Through her restarting process, Amy is able to determine the discipline(s) each horse will excel at and also decide the level of rider best suited for each horse.
It’s not unusual for Amy to turn down offers if she doesn’t feel the person is a good match with a particular horse. The horse’s interest comes first, no exceptions.
Amy began dabbling in the field approximately 10 years ago and made it a full time career five years ago. She operates on a farm in Florence, Ky. with a skeleton crew and a skeleton budget which she funds herself through the sale of horses. At any time, there are approximately 20 horses, including half a dozen layups. It’s not unusual to see Amy up and down the road picking up new stock throughout Kentucky, Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Ind. or at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Trainer Jeff Greenhill has contacted Amy numerous times throughout the years to re-home several of his retirees. He recently posted on his Facebook page, “Horse trainers that care about horses and not just purse money and win photos will tell you that one of the toughest, yet least appreciated aspects of their job is finding a good home for injured or retired race horses. Many people, almost always horse women, have helped me in the past. They are too numerous to mention for fear of leaving one out of these equine angels. But, Amy Paulus deserves a special shout out from Greenhill Racing for her recent tireless effort in re-homing wonderful horses looking for wonderful humans.”
Greenhill’s post resulted in more than 260 likes and over 60 positive responses.
Numerous trainers at Indiana Grand have relied on Amy to re-home their recently retired athletes; another being Steve Fosdick.
“I’ve placed eight or ten horses with Amy,” said Fosdick. When asked why she is so important and crucial to the industry, he replied, “The horses are too important and special to just put down or just give away and pray they don’t land in the wrong hands. Amy has done such an amazing job.”
Just last year, Amy re-homed more than 300 Off Track Thoroughbreds. Because of her impeccable reputation within the industry, she has consistent repeat business and a high number of referrals. With the relationships she develops with clients, she is always up to date on the progress of her four-legged graduates who continue to excel in their respective fields. Her prodigies have an amazing 16 entries in this year’s Retired Racing Project. That in itself is a testament to Amy’s skill, talent and passion. The sport needs more Amy’s at work.
**Writer’s Note: Excerpts from this article were part of a submission for this year’s Godolphin Thoroughbred Industry Community Award. I have known about the awards for several years, but this is the first year I had someone to nominate and was honored to do so. There is no doubt in my mind that Amy has done nothing but make an outstanding contribution to the Thoroughbred community. While I congratulate winner Leslie Janecka, Coordinator of the Kentucky Equine Management Internship program (KEMI), I felt it was important to give thanks and acknowledgement to Amy. (Nancy Holthus)