Skeptical that the small, dark-brown bay with the beautiful face could really be the horse of her dreams, Brandi Carreira was nonetheless compelled to meet the off-track Thoroughbred who had never won a race.
Hitching up her horse trailer, she withdrew cash from her bank account and headed to Suffolk Downs in Boston, secretly certain she wasn’t leaving without Olivia’s Account, a 15.2 hand gelding she later renamed OlivaSudden.
“He was a little small, and I remember thinking I’d never be happy with such a small Thoroughbred. But there was something about his face. He’s got such a sweet look and to me, it looked like he was saying, ‘Somebody, please take me home.’
We trotted him out of his stall, and that was it. He had raced that Saturday, and I bought him four days later.”
That was five years ago, Sept. 7.
Since then, Carreira and her first off-track Thoroughbred have bonded over cookies, two-mile gallops at top speed, and the pleasures of showing—and winning!
Racing name: Olivia’s Account
New name: OlivaSudden
Barn name: Oliver
Sire: Call to Account
Dam:Misty Mountain Hop
Age:11A “ham” in the show ring, OlivaSudden is a fierce competitor. With so many blue ribbons displayed on a wall at her home, Carreira’s husband jokes the wall that supports them will fall down.
Among OlivaSudden’s victories are the Hanson Riding Club of Hanover, Mass., 2009 hunt-seat year-end championship, and Equitation Award of the Year, and the South Shore Horseman’s Council’s 2009 Road Hack Championship.
Out of the show ring, Carreira and her gelding “Oliver” gallop two miles regularly, traversing ground faster than the young rider has ever experienced. As a mark of the deep trust she has in her horse, Carreira says she can “feel him taking care of [her]” as they race across a ditch or gravel; he always makes sure his “horse mommy” is still in the saddle.”
Around the barn, her horse has discovered a sweet tooth so precise he knows when she’s holding out on him. “He knows if I’m holding back a cookie. He goes under my shirt, pulls my zippers, and just annoys me until I give it up.”
Purchasing her off-track Thoroughbred has been steeped in rewards greater than the ribbons, and a joy that began when she spotted him on the CANTER New England Trainer Listing site: http://www.canterne.org.
“I took this horse, and I trained him,” Carreira says. “I wouldn’t want a made horse any day. If anything, God forbid, ever happened to Oliver, I would go right back to the track.”