In part three of her continuing series on Standardbreds, Ashley Francese introduces us to Rudy, who is not your average Standardbred. This ex-harness racer is now working his way toward running a full NBHA season this year.
When you think of barrel racing, you don’t immediately picture a Standardbred turning a barrel, but Pinehursttwo and his owner Ashley Fincham are trying to change that.
Pinehursttwo, known affectionately around the barn as Rudy, is a ROC the Standardbred Ambassador for Team Lime and is being retrained as a barrel horse. Like the previous two horses in this series, Rudy started life as a harness racer. He competed in over 200 starts from 2005 to 2013, earning over $61,000 in his career. In 2017, Ashley Fincham adopted him from Go and Play Stables.
According to Ashley, Rudy is not your average Standardbred. He is a challenge, and she describes him as a “professional rearer.” Despite his quirks, Ashley finds retraining him to be very rewarding. She knew before she met him that he had the potential to be a barrel horse, so she hooked up her trailer and went to meet him. The spark of fire that she saw in his personality suited her.
It took a while for horse and rider to gel as a team. Rudy has a big personality and knows what he likes and dislikes, but since they have connected, they have become underdogs on the barrel racing circuit. Ashley recently moved Rudy to a different facility to work with a new coach and they are planning to run a full NBHA season this year.
When asked what her main goal is with Rudy, Ashley said that she wants to open people’s minds to Standardbreds and promote Standardbreds in the riding world. Rudy has already begun to change people’s minds about the place for Standardbreds in the barrel racing community, and that’s made Ashley very proud of him.