Horse Stats
New Name: Sunny
Age: 2000
Gender: gelding
Date Adopted: December, 2012
Current Discipline: Pleasure
  • irassunnyboydonnavaneveras


    Standardbred Ira's Sunny Boy raced an incredible 255 times over 8 consecutive years and earned $218,915. In 2012 he was adopted from our program by his caring adopter Donna. Here is what she has to say about her new loyal friend:I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Standardbred breed. So, with the help of Dot Morgan at New Vocations Racehorse Adoption, I was able to find the horse of my dreams, Ira’s Sunny Boy. Sunny arrived in my life the last days in November, having spent a couple of weeks at the Monterey, Tennessee, facility. Stacy, who trains for New Vocations, had the pleasure of transitioning Sunny into my future trail horse, and was key in making sure I got the “right” horse. All I had to hear from Stacy was that Sunny is a “nice, nice horse” and “he has a natural rack.” He was the horse I was looking for, and I could barely wait to get him home! When Sunny arrived at my boarding facility, it was love at first sight! Sunny was my ideal horse. He possessed all the qualities I was hoping for! Perfect size, build, color, and he had all the other attributes we all hope to find in a good horse. Excellent conformation, rock-hard hooves, pretty to look at and that ever-endearing "soft eye." Oh...did I mention he is extremely smart? Smart, as in "wanting to please and learn," not as in, "Let's see what I can get away with today!" It didn't take him long to figure out the routine at the barn, and he quickly settled in and got acquainted with his pasturemates, five laid-back geldings. My first ride on Sunny was in the roundpen to get a “feel” for his attitude and responsiveness. He felt good, and more importantly, he wanted to please. After just a couple of more rides in “safe” areas (the roundpen and then the arena), I felt we were ready to hit the trails. (I am blessed with a boarding facility that has miles and miles of trails, just ¼ mile from the driveway.) On our first ride together, Sunny and I were joined by three others. As we were heading down the road, I realized that I was on a horse that probably had never been really “trail” ridden. But Sunny seemed willing, an excellent sign, and I was excited to see how he would do. When I look back on that first ride, I was really amazed at how well he did. I could tell he was seeing things for the first time in his life, but he was never looking to jump or bolt. He actually took the lead several times throughout the ride. The only time I thought he was heading for a “mini meltdown” was when we had to ride through a herd of cattle (apparently, there are no cows on the racetrack!). Sunny thought about "getting out of Dodge," but instead, he just froze and studied the situation. At that point, I knew he was an intelligent horse that would use his brains to keep us safe. Clearly, he passed his first trail-ride test with flying colors. Sunny and I are currently hitting the trails on a regular basis, working on his fantastic rack, which I've gotten a taste of now and then. For now, I'm riding him at a medium walk and brisk walk--just short of breaking into a faster gait. No pacing or trotting allowed! Once his muscle memory is set in the four-beat gait of the walk, I'll ask him for more speed to bring out his smooth rack. I cannot emphasize how much fun this horse is to ride. I look forward to each and every ride and any spare time is spent with Sunny! - Donna Van Evera, Missouri