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Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

Warhorse Makeover Series: Bell Ridge by the Bay and Ashley


LOPE is doing a series of blog interviews with riders who are bringing warhorses or racing warriors to the 2018 Retired Racehorse Project TB Makeover.

Warhorse Details

  • Horse JC Registered name: Bell Ridge by the Bay
  • Current Age: 12 years old
  • Description: @16H bay gelding
  • Barn name: Graham (for Alexander Graham Bell)
  • Number of races: 88
  • Earnings: $350,000
  • Age when retired from racing: 11
  • Pedigree:  Click here
  • Owned by: Ashley Roman-Francese
  • RRP Status: Amateur
  • RRP Selected Discipline: TBA

About Bell Ridge by the Bay


How did you acquire your horse?

Through Amy Lynn Paulus from whom I bought him sight unseen because she said she thought he would be just what I wanted (and she was right).

What made you choose your horse? What was special, that called out to you?

The thing that I love most about my RRP horse is that he is a total jerkface. One moment he is cuddly and loving, the next he is trying to eat your hair. He’s seriously like a Sour Patch Kid (first he’s sour then he’s sweet) and he keeps me on my toes. He also knows he’s awesome and he’s got an ego the size of Texas. That is something that he shares with my beloved dressage horse Genesis (who I lost last fall after 21 years together – it was a terrible fall). Having another cocky, arrogant horse who is chockful of personality has really helped to heal my broken heart.

Tell me about your horse’s personality.

When Graham came to me his personality was quite grumpy, but he could also be affectionate, and he loved peppermints! He still really loves peppermints but he is now much more snuggly than he was previously. Now he’s like a big Sour Patch Kid (sweet and sour).

What does your horse love to do the most?

A: Due to his injury, Graham and I have not worked much but we spend lots of time wrapping, eating peppermints, hand walking and stealing hay from the round bales in the aisle.

What is harder for your horse to do?

Even with 2 months of stall rest, he lets me walk him in a neck rope.

What discipline(s) are you considering for your horse in RRP Makeover?

We’re planning to do dressage and ranch riding for the Makeover, but I may change my mind and do Trail or Freestyle instead of one of those disciplines.

Does your horse have any old sports injuries?

Graham came to me after rehabbing from a bowed tendon.

Are you currently rehabbing any injuries for your horse?

He’d barely been with me for a week before his R hind leg blew up with what we thought was cellulitis. It was clear that he had some sort of tissue necrosis. I had the vet out, and neither of us knew what was going on, but then discovered that his injury seemed to be from a Brown Recluse bite. Since then we’ve been treating with antibiotics, steroids, Bute, Gastroguard and Equioxx.

What are your training goals between now and June?

I would like to be riding him by April and showing by June or July.

If Graham could have one song as his soundtrack, what would it be?

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce.

About Ashley


Are you Amateur, Junior or Professional?


How long have you been riding OTTBs?

A few years ago I decided to give myself a new challenge and to try to do the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover.

Describe a favorite moment you had with a special horse in your life.

In 2016 I suffered a concussion and could not do the Makeover, but my mare Prudence, who had suffered a broken R hind fetlock on the track, rehabbed beautifully and is now a successful lesson horse for small children. In 2017 my horse and I were all set to go when he came up lame in July. He’d never taken an off step before that, but both my vet and I felt something was very wrong, so I took him to Marion DuPont Scott for diagnostic testing. That started one of the worst periods of my life. My horse’s prognosis was not good. He had severe osteoarthritis in his L front. The vet posited that he had been injected on the track several times to keep him sound and that his last injection had probably just worn off, hence his sudden lameness. I was devastated, because there was nothing we could do. His synovial fluid was leaking out of his joint, and the bones inside his ankle had ground to a pulp because of the lack of cartilage. The vet recommended putting him on Bute to keep him more comfortable, and to make sure that he had thick bedding and then to watch him, because before long he likely would no longer be willing to walk. Harvey and I rallied and went swimming several times to help alleviate his joint pressure and spent a lot of time cuddly and playing with stuffed animals.

If you have a life motto or favorite quote, please put it here.

My life motto is Oscar Wilde’s quote, “One should always be a little improbable.”

Please let me know any links to your horse’s FB page, Instagram, etc.

My horses’ facebook page is: Ashley Roman-Francese Road to the 2018 RRP Thoroughbred Makeover

Who inspires you the most?

My husband, Christopher Francese, because he is the kindest and most steadfast person that I have ever met.

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