The old timers say that you can tell a lot about a horse’s character by their eyes. Add the heart of a Thoroughbred into the mix, and you’ll understand.
I’m reminded daily of the Thoroughbreds I’ve competed over the years, with the most recent duo Artful Way and Eor The Terrific who greet me each morning.
Eor The Terrific is the son of Fort Prado (by El Prado). His 4 start race career as a 3-year-old was cut short because he would run out of steam. A few factors come to mind to explain his failing racehorse career. For example his 17.3 height, size 3 shoe and a personality of a Labrador. A common phase I regularly hear is, “He’s HUGE!”.
Training “Lou” has been a slower process than most Thoroughbreds due to his size, so we take it brick by brick and continuously condition and strive for upper level movement. He is a winning Training level Eventer and has won multiple Thoroughbred Incentive Program awards.
For now we’ve set our goal towards upper level Eventing, but I’ve learned that I have to go Lou’s speed and not push him before he is ready both mentally and physically.
I’m lucky that this ‘big elephant’ couldn’t run, and I’ve enjoyed every minute.
Artful Way is the son of Tinner’s Way (by Secretariat). We competed together for many years mostly at Preliminary and with a few outings at Intermediate. He is a traditional type of Thoroughbred who would have successfully flourished if the ‘long-format’ in Eventing still existed.
“Ray” was a distance runner on the track, and was the easiest point and shoot partner on cross country. He was so intelligent when he was competing that he memorized his dressage tests and knew which phase was next because of the tack he was wearing.
Sadly it was the discovery at The Fork Horse Trials of a heart murmur that promptly put an end to his competition career, which spanned 10 years and more than 60 events.
Today, Ray’s job is to babysit the new prospects at the farm, and he keeps himself quite fit by playing and cantering circles in the field.