Your Turn: From skeleton to rising-star event horse in 10 months
Reader Carrie Mulks shares a Craigslist/OTTB success story.
One of my clients was checking Craigslist back in early January of 2013 and saw a 16’3″ OTTB gelding for sale. His ad stated that he had previously been a jumper and his owner could not afford to feed him. The word “jumper” resulted in my client calling me to tell me about this horse and to let me know she “had a feeling about him.” I thought she was totally crazy but called the next day to schedule an appointment to go. I drove two hours to go check out this horse and as soon as I saw the poor starving thing I knew I could not leave without him! I purchased Will within 20 minutes of stepping on the property for $400. Will (currently known as High Octane) was on the verge of starving to death (literally) and lame on at least two of four legs. Although he barely had the strength to walk into the trailer, he seemed very happy to jump right in.
Scared that he was not going to make it through the night my mom and I checked on Will every hour making sure he had everything he needed and still had a pulse. After months of groceries, vet care, farrier care and a slow start to a conditioning program, Will was looking much better and starting to show signs of life. Once I felt he was strong enough to jump I pointed him at a very small log located in one of our pastures. The log was in a location where if you jumped it straight it was two strides out over a bigger training size log. I very carefully presented Will at an angle to the small log with every intention to NOT come even close to the bigger log. Apparently Will had a different idea as he pulled the reins out of my hands, locked onto the out log, and over we went.
That was the start to a beautiful friendship!
I signed him up for Novice at Spring Bay Horse Trials in April and although he did not understand the dressage yet (scoring a 57) he was brave and confident for both jumping phases. It was not long before Will and I won the dressage at Cobblestone Horse Trials scoring a 30 in the Open Training division and having an unfortunate rail to finish second overall. Will has now completed two Novice events, six Training events, and is now entered for Prelim at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-day Event & Team Challenge next weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park. I think Will is a very special horse and I would not be surprised to see him at the upper levels within the next few years. What started off as a rescue has turned into a horse that could possibly go all the way? I am very excited for this horse’s future, and my students seem to think this just might be my Rolex horse.
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