Most kids spend their birthday money on toys and games, but 9-year-old Brandon Heyman of Ontario, Canada decided to use it to save a life.

Karazan, an aging racehorse, had just been purchased by a meat buyer when his mother came across the 17-year-old chestnut mare on the website Need You Now Equine.

“Nobody seemed interested in her,” Brandon’s mother, MJ Allen, told The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the world’s largest and oldest equine sanctuary. “My son asked what was I doing, and when I explained it to him, he said, ‘Mummy, my birthday’s coming up. Just give my birthday money to them. I don’t want the horse to die.’”

Allen and her partner live on a farm with seven horses, a donkey, dogs and cats, and their blended family of six kids, so bringing home another mouth to feed was, understandably, the last thing on her mind. Still, she was so touched by her son’s display of compassion that she raised the remaining $650 needed to buy the thoroughbred.

Soon after, she surprised Brandon with his new best friend.


“It’s my first horse,” Brandon told, “I clean her, wash her, but my sister feeds her.”

Allen calls Karazan “queen of the field” and “a real diva.” She is, after all, a direct descendent of Canada’s greatest racehorse, Northern Dance, and with that kind of pedigree, it’s no wonder she already has the respect of her new stable mates.

However, the highlight of her new life is her relationship with Brandon, who will help fill her final days with love and affection.

We think that’s the best retirement plan a horse could ask for

(READ the story from Off Track Thoroughbreds or learn more at The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation)

Photo Credit: MJ Allen, with permission

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