Big Plans for LOPE: Check Out Our Coming of Age Fundraising Campaign →

Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

The LOPE Training Horses: PJ’s Wish

  • photo-4

We are very excited to announce that PJ’s Wish, a handsome three-year-old gelding, has joined the new LOPE training initiative! His breeder and race owners — Phil and Glenna Leckinger and Star Bright Thoroughbreds — donated PJ’s Wish to LOPE specifically to be part of our new training program.

PJ’s Wish has a famous father — Tinner’s Way — who won almost $2 million at the track. Tinner’s Way was a son of Secretariat, so PJ’s Wish has a very impressive family tree. His dam (Wishes n’Dreams) was also a special horse — she was Phil and Glenna’s first home-bred racehorse and a favorite at their farm. Sadly, they lost her not long after PJ’s Wish was weaned. And Wishes n’Dreams’ dam was their very first racehorse — so you can see why PJ’s Wish is a very important young horse to Phil and Glenna.

Like many local race breeders who come to LOPE, Phil and Glenna care personally about each of the horses they breed and race. They are reluctant to let their horses go (even if they aren’t racing competitively anymore) unless they can be certain that the home is exceptionally good.

PJ’s Wish raced a few times and didn’t show much interest in running. He was big for his age when he went to the track — so his owners made sure that he was trained slowly and steadily (so that he could have time to grow into his body). PJ’s Wish trained well but was less than speedy about several aspects of the job. For example, he walked easily into the starting gate — but never quite got that he was supposed to leave the gate much faster than how he entered it. “A little too laid back,” was how his race trainer described his track demeanor.

PJ’s Wish is a super handsome bay with a big blaze and four socks — full of chrome with a kind face and lovely conformation. He is about 16.1H and still is growing — from a distance, PJ’s Wish seems much taller, with his long legs and strong hindquarters. He has been at the LOPE Ranch for nearly a week — and has been very gentlemanly and sweet to handle and work with.

His race breeders tell us that PJ’s Wish isn’t just all looks — he also has much determination and desire to please — which they just know can be put to good use in a second career. At LOPE, we also have noticed the PJ is quite sweet for such a young horse — he has the air of a gentle giant in the making.

We are very excited about PJs Wish and will be assessing him over the next week or so. From what we can see, PJ’s Wish might have many career options (hunter/jumper, eventing, maybe even dressage) based on his willing temperament, lovely movement and athletic build. Stay tuned for more details and updates about PJ’s Wish and his training progress.

Special note from PJ’s Wish’s owners:

Glenna and I have been involved in the Thoroughbred business for twenty years. It all started as a whim to own a racehorse — but we have since become involved in almost every aspect of the industry. In 2004, we built our own ranch in Tioga, Texas where we now have the opportunity to raise our foals and live with our horses and assorted other critters. We chose the name Star Bright Thoroughbreds for our ranch partially naming it after Wishes n’ Dreams and her first foal, Wishes Bright Star.

Today we own and board broodmares, weanlings, yearlings and horses in various stages of training. We are also involved in the stallion side of the business and currently stand Special Rate at Key Ranch in Salado. We have been fortunate to meet many wonderful people in the industry who have helped us along the way to become better horsemen, and hopefully responsible stewards to our horses and the industry.

Glenna and I are supporters and believers in the work that LOPE Texas does for the industry. Additionally, my partner and I retired Tinners Way to Old Friends in Kentucky a couple of years ago. Both Lynn Reardon, who has done a fantastic job developing LOPE Texas, and Michael Blowen, who established Old Friends, are people who through their dedication to the retired racehorse will help this industry thrive.

Phil Leckinger
Star Bright Thoroughbreds

Austin Equine Hospital Schleese
Paddock Foundation American Association of Equine Technicians and Assistants Sam Houston Race Park
Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance The Ranch Broker Moose Pants Studio
Thoroughbred Charities of America Scissortail Hill Equestrian Secretariat Foundation
Treaty Oak Equine Express