The Winged Rambler

Finding a Forever Home – How Jack Found His ‘Angel’

Angel Venegoni works as a hospital administrator for a veterinary hospital where she unexpectedly ran into a client that lead her back into the Saddlebred world.  Angel struck up a conversation with the client, Sandy, and learned she worked as the volunteer coordinator TheWingedRamblerfor Mid-America Horse Rescue (MAHR) in Millstadt, IL.  As Sandy shared the story of the rescue, Angel discovered there was one Saddlebred housed amongst the 70-head of primarily Thoroughbreds. Angel’s ears perked up when she heard of, ‘Jack’ the Saddlebred.  Since she had once shown Saddlebreds and had recently been missing horses in her life, she discussed volunteer opportunities.

Shortly after their unexpected meeting, Angel made her way to MAHR.  Immediately, she noticed ‘Jack,’ and his ears, sticking out of the third stall on the left.  She began visiting with him as soon as she got to the barn.   As Angel lead him out of the stall, he decided that he needed to ‘show off,’ and Angel remembers that he was not at all what she expected to see.  He was a 16-hand, long necked bay with a lot of show horse attitude!  As Angel, Sandy and Margo, the founder of MAHR, discussed Angel volunteering at the Rescue, ‘Jack’ grabbed Angel’s coat and then placed his muzzle on her forehead.  Angel looked at Margo and Sandy and noticed they were tearing up.  They said ‘Jack’ had never connected with anyone in the 2 years he had been there, and that he would always retreat to the back of his stall.  Clearly ‘Jack’ and Angel had an instant bond.  Margo told Angel that she must speak Saddlebred and if she wanted him, she could have him.  The thought of adopting this lone Saddlebred from the Rescue never occurred to Angel until she got there and met him – she was definitely taken by surprise!

Angel found out that ‘Jack’ ended up at Mid-America Horse Rescue because he was abandoned by a previous rescue employee.  Since he wasn’t a typical rescue horse, Angel began having hopes that she would be able to track down his registration papers.  In the meantime, prior to the adoption becoming official, Sharon Niles of Star Galaxy Stables, had called Margo to inquire about this Saddlebred in hopes of using him as a lesson horse. Margo was quick to tell her that he had already been adopted, as she knew that ‘Jack’ had a forever home with Angel.  The adoption was official January 1, 2011.

Angel was determined to find his papers and did extensive research, contacting anyone who might know his history.  As fate would have it, she found the papers!  Even more kissesastonishing, his original owner had signed over his papers to his previous owner, but she had never officially transferred membership to herself.  Angel contacted the ASHA and was told to send them in and they would officially transfer ownership to Angel.  Upon examining his bloodlines, Angel discovered that ‘Jack’ is the great-great-grandson of Wing Commander on his sire’s side and the great-great-grandson of The Rambler on his dam’s side.  She decided to change his name to The Winged Rambler and set a goal of showing her new gelding.

Remembering Sharon had contacted the Rescue about adopting ‘Jack’ as a lesson horse, Angel called Sharon and started taking lessons.  In September of 2011, after a 20 year absence, Angel made her return to the show ring riding one of Sharon’s lesson horses.  In November 2011, Angel felt that Jack was ready to be moved from the Rescue to the training barn and he started training officially in June of 2012.  After training him for several months, they decided that he would be a great fit in the Country Pleasure Division.

Angel is so proud of her 19 year old gelding.  It took watching Sharon ride him to realize just how far he had come.  That moment made her cry, as she could truly see how much ‘Jack’ had accomplished since she adopted him.  Angel doesn’t want to rush things with ‘Jabricksck’ and just wants to get in the show ring and have fun.  She adores him so much and feels that he is deserving of so much honor that he had been deprived of for so long.  She believes that the adoption, training and showing is all about giving him a purpose and having fun.  She says that ‘this is what it is about’ – Growing as a team, experiencing challenges and teaching each other.  She has learned so much about him, bonded with him throughout this process and feels that he has given her an opportunity to learn a lot from a training standpoint.  Angel is grateful to have found a trainer like Sharon who has been so open and patient in training a horse she had never met.   Sharon’s patience and practical approach to training has taught both ‘Jack’ and Angel so much.  Angel is also thankful to have had many of the ‘horse friendships’ she had developed as a kid rekindled and is elated to be back in touch with the horse community.

Angel wants to honor The Winged Rambler.  She has bought him a sidewalk brick at the American Saddlebred Museum and has a Facebook page for him.  The two will be making their show ring debut at The Bridlespur MHSA Kickoff Show in Lake St. Louis, MO in April!  Look for them this season in the Country Pleasure Division.  Such an inspiring story – We as a horse community share a special bond with each other and our horses…it goes much deeper than the ribbons and show ring…Angel is right – “This IS what it is all about!”

4 Responses to “The Winged Rambler”

  • It must be said that Angel lives up to her name with every breath she takes. I am one of her barn buddies from years past and am SO incredibly proud to be able to call her friend. This very true story of Jack choosing Angel brings happy tears & the most heartfelt smile every time it comes to mind. Two very precious souls united at last because that was God’s plan all along.
    All our love and support,
    Mary Jo Curry & Saddlebred Rescue’s very own,
    Ms. MUFFIN

    • Thank you for such kind words Mary Jo! One of Jack’s gifts was bringing me back to the Saddlebred world, including you! You are also a very special person with a huge heart and know exactly what rescuing such a creature can do for you. Ms. Muffin’s heart carries a love for you that only horse-people can understand! Love, From my heart & Jack’s!!!h

  • Great story! May others be enticed to adopt the saddlehorses that appear on the broker pages and at the rescues. Too many good saddlebreds have fallen through the cracks.. Congratulations!! May Angel and her handsome “Wings” (Jack) have many years together!

  • Angel who would have thought a visit to the vet that is usually so stressful could turn out to be such a blessing and the beginning of a beautiful, new journey in life for an amazing lady and an adorable horse. I feel this is part of Sunni’s legacy that you and Jack are so happy!! Love you! Sandy

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