A path of unhurried bliss has been the life, for both Mad For Smarty and his new owner, ever since the good people at Three Chimneys Farm brought them together last January.
Madison Scott, a longtime Smarty Jones devotee who often wrote letters to Three Chimneys about their Kentucky Derby winning racehorse, was given the son of the famous stallion, himself a successful racing Thoroughbred, in what can only be described as a gift of a lifetime.
Mad for Smarty had been intertwined with Scott’s life for years before he became hers.
In 2009, after having addressed many fan letters to Smarty Jones, c/o Three Chimneys Farm, the young fan was invited out for a visit.
And while there, Scott and her mother were asked if they wanted to name a Smarty Jones foal. Her mother actually thought up the name Mad For Smarty, which combined both the name of her daughter Madison with Smarty Jones, and also expressed the ‘madness’ her daughter had for the Derby winner.
After returning home from Kentucky, Scott placed Mad for Smarty in her online virtual stable, and kept tabs on her namesake. Her heart swelled with pride that he ran much better than the average racehorse, winning $115,619 before his career ended with a minor ligament injury.
Unbeknownst to Scott, as the racehorse rehabilitated at Three Chimneys Farm, a behind-the-scenes offer was made to Scott’s mother. If the family wanted, the gutsy racehorse could be theirs.
Race name: Mad for Smarty
Sire: Smarty Jones
Foal date: Feb. 27, 2007
Earnings: $115,619And when the day came, last Jan. 7, that Smarty arrived in a grand trailer at Bel Canto Farms in Wimberly, Texas, and the stunned young woman was handed the lead rope connecting her once and for all with her namesake, it was not the ending of a happily ever after story. It was the beginning.
So, starting with months of long hand-walks and grooming sessions, she finally took her first ride on Smarty in March.
Half expecting the accomplished racehorse could have a few tricks up his sleeve or, at the very least, be hard to handle, Scott was “amazed” to discover the truth: Her new guy was just as happy to walk around on a loose rein, or hack on the property of his new Texas stable.
“I didn’t expect him to be crazy, but I definitely expected a horse who was more high strung,” Scott says. “It had been six months since he’d been ridden when I got on him, and he was great. There were no fireworks at all!”
Although there were no fireworks for him, certainly Scott’s heart was aflutter the first time she climbed aboard a horse who in her wildest dreams she never expected to mount, and eased him into their first walk together.
They took leisurely hacks at Bel Canto Farm, where he is now stabled, before gradually moving into months of trot work. Without a race to finish, Scott decided the best way to get him going under saddle was with slow, consistent work.
“When we started trot work, I began with really short sessions, because I wanted to make sure he was strong enough,” she says. “I knew he’d had a minor tendon injury, and I thought this was the best way to build him back up.”
After five months of steady flat work, their best day came in August, when Scott and some friends trailered their horses to Galveston, Texas, for a gallop on the beach.
“That was the greatest moment. We spent two hours on the beach!” she says. “I asked him to get into the ocean and run up and down the beach with people everywhere, and he was great! He was so levelheaded!”
It’s a natural progression, then, that her brainy beauty will take part in Scott’s higher education pursuits at the University of Kentucky, where she is a freshman studying equine management.
After the winter break, Scott will move her fellow back to Kentucky to live nearby. While she attends classes, and works at an internship at Three Chimneys Farm, Mad for Smarty will graze on the bluegrass of which he is so fond.
And after all the hard work is behind her, she will have this most unexpected horse to look forward to at the end of the day.
“Having my own horse…,” Scott says, “is amazing. It’s such an incredible feeling to look at him and to know that I will have him for the rest of his life. I just love him!”