Read the Success Stories for these former Bits & Bytes Farm horses.
Former Prospect Horses bought directly from the track or trainer.

Thoroughbred | OTTB Success Stories | Ex Race horses

* Prospect Horses are horses that were bought from our Web site photos and a vet check. Read "How to Buy a Prospect Horse" for more information.

All photos on this Web site are copyright protected and may not be used without written permission of the owners.

Katharina Berner bought OTTB Vilas County the same day he was listed on the site.

Katharina Berner of Roopeville, GA happened to call as we were getting photos of Vilas County in. She was able to move fast on a vet check and we picked him up two days later while we were in Kentucky touring the stallion open houses at the stud farms in Lexington . Big horses sell fast! - January 2008

Vilas County in training for eventing. April 3, 2008

Vilas County in training for eventing. April 3, 2008

Vilas County was purchased by Katharina Berner of Roopeville, GA as a Prospect Horse For Sale in January 2008.

The best photos are taken the first time the ex-race horse is turned free!

Next comes a good roll in the sand.

Next comes a good roll in the sand. Ah, FREEDOM!


OTTB Vilas County starts his new life as a Thoroughbred sport horse.

The next thing an OTTB does, when he gets to his new home off-the-track , is find the grass and start eating!











Former Thoroughbred race horse - Vilas County at the track.

Former Thoroughbred race horse - Vilas County at the track. Click here to see his Prospect Horses For Sale photos.


No more racing for this Thoroughbred!

No more racing for this Thoroughbred! Vilas County is now a Thoroughbred sport horse in training! Click here to see his pedigree.



Bits & Bytes Farm Success Stories

Our horses > success stories > Vilas County

Vilas County - was a Former Prospect Horse For Sale.

OTTB - Vilas County is in training as an event horse. April 3, 2008

April 3, 2008

Hi Elizabeth,
Hope everyone at the farm is doing fine and you had a good time in NY?

Finally I got some pictures from Vilas under saddle. Actually I just started to ride him again beginning of last week.

Since I got him in January he had more or less some time off. He needed to get used to be 24/7 outside, get used to walk on the hilly terrain of our pasture and to learn some ground manners. Sounds weird, but you know better than I that for an OTTB this kind of life is something complete different. I also had the chiropractor there as I told you before and I think she did an amazing job on him.

Chiropractic for horses and time off does wonders for an oof-the-track Thoroughbred.

The time he had off was really helpful for him and his brain - to forget the racetrack and to start a new life with. He now acts like a young boy who wants get worked and explore the world. He isn't scared or spooky of anything which really makes all easier.

Katharina Berner and her Thoroughbred - Vilas County. April 3, 2008

I'm very proud of him as he already canters now on the right lead within a couple of days (we don't get it every time but are working on that) and I can even lunge him both directions (just walk and trot) without any problems.

To teach him easier how to canter on the lunge line we are just building a round pen. Yeaahhh!!! I sent you some pictures over your webpage.Let me know what you think about him.

We send you all the best!!
Katharina, Klaus, Vilas and the rest of Welcome Farm

Elizabeth's Note: Katharina is an experienced horse trainer. It will be great fun to watch the progress of Vilas County under her expert tutoring. One note - please always wear a helmet! Recently an experienced dressage trainer was found unconscious and later died because of major head trauma. He was alone on the farm, working with a young horse. His death is directly attributed to the fact he was not wearing a helmet. Helmets are not just for jumping. Be ride safely.

February 28, 2008

Hi Elizabeth,
I checked back on Vilas yesterday and also talked to my vet again and he was doing fine, no lameness anymore. We think he hit himself with his shoes somehow while rolling in the mud. Anyway I pay special attention to his leg the next days, but I'm also very happy that he is doing much better.

As we are now back from our long trip we finally have to get back to training again. My guys had two weeks off and now its time to work again. :-))) I will give you further updates on Vilas progress. Vilas says HI! I attached you some pictures of the show.

Take care,

February 27, 2008

Hi Elizabeth,
Over the time we have been to Scottsdale, AZ we brought Vilas and Darren to my friends barn. There they had their own pasture and were enjoying being outside.

Before we left the chiropractor came for Vilas. He really enjoyed the treatment and after she was done there was no pain in his back anymore. My task was then to walk him for three days and we did that. After that we had to leave to Scottsdale.

We came back on Sunday and since then they were just standing on our pasture. But yesterday Vilas rolled in the mud and got up and was lame. He didn't even want to step on his front right leg anymore. I was shocked. I got him inside and called my vet directly. They instructed me to give him some Bute and to wait until this morning.

Of course I wrapped the leg and put some anti-swelling stuff on. This morning I got him out of his stall and he was walking normally, I would say.


January 30, 2008

Vilas County trots out at his new home in Roopeville, GA

Hi Elizabeth,
Hope you and the horses are doing well? Just wanted to tell you that Vilas is now also on our webpage. under NEWS.

He is doing very well so far. His ground manners really improved and he now stands quietly for grooming and tacking up. Vilas is now turned out 24/7 as long as the weather permits....and he loves it so much. I have the feeling that he already gained some weight.

Vilas is such a good boy. We made our first trail ride two days ago and he behaved like a gentleman. We had to pass barking dogs, playing children, a herd of maybe 100 cows and much more. He looked at the cows, but that was ok as I know that my other two horses are looking even more. We just walked, no trot, no canter and he was so good. I really enjoyed that.

I started several days ago to learn him lunging. He is doing pretty good and is actually also very laid back (which doesn't mean he is lazy, just very balanced). That is one thing which is really very relaxing for me, as my other two guys are much more active, if not hyperactive. :-))

The weird thing is, that he is better to the right than to the left. In the beginning he really didn't want to go on the left lead on the lunge line. It seems that he is sore/huffish from going on the left lead. We got that better now, but it doesn't go as smooth as to the right yet.

I contacted a chiropractor, recommended from my vet. She's coming next wednesday to check on him and I think and hope that she will find
something that could help him getting his to-go-to-the-left problem improved or even solved.

What really funny was, when I called my vet yesterday to get the number from the chiropractor, Laura answered the phone and she told me she has seen Vilas on your website and was telling me then that they got Bobbi from you. She told me that the chiropractor really helped Bobbi. He had always issues with going to the right.

Tomorrow I'm gonna leave to Florida, to visit Imti over the weekend and to get a final touch-up for an Arabian show in Scottsdale, Arizona. I'm going there with one of my horses, an 8 year old purebred arab mare. They will have over 2500 horses there. We will show in Dressage, Sporthorse and Show Jumping. Cross your fingers for me, the competition will be huge.

Klaus will take care of Vilas and Darren over the weekend, so the guys will have some time out.

Hopefully I can tell you good news how Vilas has been with the chiropractor.

Take care,
Katharina and Vilas

January 14, 2008

Hi Elizabeth,
Hi Barry,

I thought I give you a further update on Vilas.

He is doing great and I'm so amazed of him how fast he's learning. One week is over and he's already turned out 24/7. Yes, he really loves it and behaves like he never did anything other before. His hunger is huge and he eats and of course he also gets a lot to put some weight on him.

Last Friday was our first day of riding. I was very anxious, as this was the first time I will ride and "feel" my OTTB. He was a big gentlemen and behaved exemplary. We were walking and trotting in the arena on the left and right lead.
And that was it. We didn't do anything else. He was not sure what happened to him - walking in an arena - what is that? But he did a great job.

Next day we started with the same, but this time I wanted to get him to canter. First on the left. After I gave him the aid he immediately made a smooth transition into the canter. Wow! What a rockinghorse-canter - very comfortable. After that I tried to canter him on the right lead, but we didn't get it. Of course not - he just learned to canter on the left. I hope and think with patience and a solid ground work including lunging we will get that pretty soon (Maybe you have a trick or tip how I can support him learning to canter on the right lead?). As a treat we took a little trail ride over our property and he was so calm and relaxed. I really didn't expect that. I'm so proud of him. He didn't spook or refuse to anything.

Yesterday we did the same program again and he started to drop his head and to accept the bit. I was thrilled. Within three days of work Vilas has changed tremendous, both under the saddle and on the ground.

The first days of handling him on the ground were connected with some learning of ground manners and discipline. You remember when we picked him up at your place he was pulling me around. So my goal was to learn him how to walk shoulder on shoulder and to stop when I wanted to stop and not when he wanted. After two days this was done and now he leads perfectly. I will send you some pictures of him standing on the pasture.

A couple of days ago he hit himself on his right leg (He still has to learn how to sort his feet - he didn't walk around in freedom so much in a long time) It's nothing serious, but I wrapped it to keep it clean and to let heal - I don't want you to wonder what that green wrap his on his leg.

Today the vet is coming as I need new Coggins for all of them. I will let him have a look on it.

Vilas success story has begun and I can't wait to tell you more.

Take care,

January 9, 2008

Hi Elizabeth,

Here is my first update on Vilas aka Villie:
When we got home yesterday, everything was already prepared to welcome Villie. Villie definitely likes his new stall. He loves to watch everything what´s going on outside. That night we also got our other two horses inside from the pasture to keep him company.He had a good night and all his food and hay was gone this morning.

Then I decided to put him first out on the riding arena. We don´t have a small paddock.You can not believe how happy he was to run, jump, fly, roll and do what horses like to do. Here came this gorgeous man with this floating trot and this incredible canter. I directly called Klaus to tell him that we really got a very nice superduper horse.

OTTB - Vilas County was a Prospect Horse For Sale in January 2008.

As the ton of pictures proof he had so much fun and enjoyed his freedom - finally!

My farrier was already here, so the race pads are gone. We put just front shoes on him. He walks very good with that. Next step will be to introduce him to my other horses. I think it will probably take him another 2-3 days to completely settle in. But he shows already confidence while I groomed him and while the farrier was there.

I really did not expect to get such a beautiful horse!!
Let me thank you a 1000-times and I will keep you updated.

Take care,

More news: Villie is doing fine and is already standing on the pasture. We introduced him yesterday night and he was just eating gras. He loved it! I put them out this morning again and I think he can't believe what's happening to him. It is great to see "Happy Horses"!

He loves my Anglo-Arab gelding...they will get good friends...

I will ride him the first time on Friday.

Thanks a lot,

Vilas County gets his new sport horse shoes.
Vilas County gets his new sport horse shoes.

"Villas" is a 4 year old, dark bay, gelding who measures almost 17 hands.

Vilas County aka "Villas" - Congratulations to Katharina Berner of Roopeville, GA!

Elizabeth's Notes:
Katharina first contacted me when she moved from Germany to Georgia in 2007. She did not buy a horse from us at that time but she called again the same day I received photos of Vilas County. She and I discussed what she was looking for in a new horse. I told her that my Kentucky contact was sending photos of anew horse and I thought might be a match. I sent Katharina the photos as soon as they came in my e-mail. Vilas County's owner/trainer needed to move him fast and I knew that if he were not sold quickly, he might not be available in a week. Fortunately, for both Katharina and Vilas County, Katharina was able to make a decision quickly. The vet check turned out well and the vet was very impressed with the movement and athleticism of Vilas County. Barry and I were headed to Lexington to meet with some of our breeder contacts and tour the big breeding farms during their stallion open houses. We offered to pick up Vilas County and bring him back to Georgia for Katharina.

Big beautiful horses are often sold the day we find out about them. Vilas County is what most people are looking for in a horse. If you are a serious buyer and ready to act fast, call to see what horses we might have in our "warehorse". I often have horses that have not yet made it to the Web site as my "real" job keeps me extremely busy creating and updating Web sites for clients. Visit Katharina's Web site and see why we are so excited about this match!

Former Thoroughbred race horse - Vilas County at the track. Click here to see his Prospect Horses For Sale photos.
Former Prospect Horse For Sale - Vilas County at the track. Click here to see his Prospect Horses For Sale photos.

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