Sponsored Project

Seabiscuit's Legacy

Director(s):
John Osborne
Producer(s):
Leigh Anne Lindsey, John Osborne

What is the special connection between horses and humans? The story of Seabiscuit holds some good clues. This feature-length inspirational documentary shows how a ridiculed and ungainly horse managed to beat the odds and win race after race. And when his career was seemingly over due to injury, he made an amazing recovery to win the Santa Anita Handicap. Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California, where Seabiscuit was stabled, had a lot to do with his success. Yes, it was a destination for many movie stars. But it also provided the perfect milieu for healing and inspiration.

Owned by millionaire Charles Howard, the Ranch was beautiful, but remote. Because of no local medical facility, he lost his young son, Frankie, in a freak accident at the Ranch. This was a hard blow for Howard, and he immediately began the building of the Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in memory of his son, and as a help to all nearby residents. This desire for healing sets the tone for the Ranch itself.

As a balm, he became an avid fan of horse racing, and developed the Ranch into a horse stables. With his second wife, Marcella, also a horse enthusiast, they discovered Seabiscuit in a race at Boston's Suffolk Downs. They immediately fell in love with the horse. Their trainer, Tom Smith, saw a lot of possibility. They soon discovered, however, that Seabiscuit was a troubled horse.

He had been abused, neglected, and mistreated. His distrust of humans made him uncooperative, mean, and dangerous. Smith, also coping with his own neglected status among trainers, immediately gave Seabiscuit the freedom he desired. Smith and the Howards wanted the horse to succeed. And Seabiscuit felt the change. He suddenly had friends.

This friendship and care was what made Seabiscuit a phenomenal success. The special connection that’s possible between horses and humans. Seabiscuit was propelled by the love of his owners, trainer, and his main jockey Red Pollard; however, their lives were all healed in someway through their connection with him. And the background for all of this was Ridgewood Ranch.

We want to show how the dynamic of Seabiscuit and his owners reveals what’s possible between horses and humans. Not only will we illustrate this aspect of the Seabiscuit story, but we will interview experts in the fields of equine therapy and animal communication.

We will look at Ridgewood Ranch today. Surprising it is still a stables where Seabisuit’s Legacy of healing and overcoming the odds is very present. It has an equine therapy program of its own, a land conservancy program, and a Foundation for the preservation of Seabiscuit history. In its stables currently are two horses directly in the Seabiscuit lineage. A new Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital has just been built to serve the needs of the Willits community.

What Seabiscuit started is still going strong. And the emotional value of the horse human connection is now widely supported. It’s about trust and truth.
In this feature-length inspirational documentary, we weave a story of courage, hope and healing from the past to the present making Seabiscuit’s Legacy a film like no other story about the famous racehorse.

Seabiscuit's jockey Red Pollard once said, "You know, everybody thinks we found this broken-down horse and fixed him. But we didn't. He fixed us; every one of us. And I guess in a way, we kinda fixed each other too."

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