The year-old child let her hand slide through the tantalizingly soft coat of the tall Thoroughbred.
Sitting in a specially fitted saddle with handlebar, the wee Ontario child named Tenley leaned toward the front of the saddle, and reached her hands through the ex-racehorse’s silky black mane and down to his soft, smooth withers.
Instantly, Tenley hooked on horses, and 12-year-old ex-racehorse Kadin, who was already impressively showing for his owner Edie Urbasik and her daughter Kayla, got yet-another post-racing job: lesson pony for a pint-size rider!
To those who scoff at Thoroughbred ex-racehorses, who call them crazy, un-trainable or even mean, Urbasik just chuckles a little, and thinks of the “kind of funny day” last year when her friend’s wee grandchild decided it was high time she do something other than loll around in a baby carriage.
Race name: Tall Glass
Show name: Admit Nothing
Barn name: Kadin
Sire: Canyon Creek
Foal date: May 15, 2001“I’m friends with Tenley’s grandmother Leah, and last summer they came out to the barn and I said to my friend that it’s not fair to bring her out her and not let her go for a ride,” Urbasik recalls. “So I got Kadin, tacked him up and put Tenley on. He was the perfect gentleman. They walked around the outdoor ring and after they were done, she kissed his neck and patted him every so carefully.”
It was clear the child loved the experience. And the “bug” took hold pretty quickly after that.
“Next thing we knew, Tenley had her own saddle, paddock boots, helmet, breeches and grooming tote and rides Kadin every Monday night!” Urbasik says. “And she’s so dedicated. She rarely misses a ride, even during the extremely hot and cold days.”
Tenley’s grandmother Leah admits the first time she placed her granddaughter in the saddle, she was a bit nervous. Both adults held onto the child and the horse.
But all her little grandchild knew was that being on a horse was the very best place to be. “She’s almost 3 years old now, and this is all she wants to do,” Leah says. “She even has a pink princess shovel to help clean out the stalls, and she cries when we finally have to drag her away from the barn.”
OffTrackThoroughbreds.com salutes Kadin, who raced under the name Tall Glass. Just one more ex-racehorse disproving the myth that Thoroughbreds are “crazy.”
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6 responses to “An Ontario OTTB teaches 2-year-old to ride”
My OTTB Rhett is the same way. When I got him home, buying him from a trainer posting on CanterPA sight unseen, my daughter was just two years old. And he was, and still is always thinking about who and what is around him.
It has been 8 years now and the things I have seen this “crazy” TB do to protect and keep me and my daughter safe are amazing.
I have been blessed though. My first horse, an Appy mare was exactly the same way. She would not move a hair if she felt a kid was unsteady on her back. And my second mare, a Mustang would let you climb all over her from the time she was a yearling.
Another example of why TB’s are special!
I had a horse whowas a registered non colored paint that we all swore had tb in him though he was on the smaller side…even when we got him green broke at six he was ever so gentle with kids that my daughters would bring to see him. He refused to walk down the driveway unless I walked next to him. He just knew they were inexperienced and was such a gentleman about it. He may have given me a hard time but never the kids. He passed away last September from bloat at the young age of 12 yrs old. I miss him so much but I now have a new project and I hope her and I have lot’s of years together.
When I was 2 years old when my mom couldn’t find me–all she had to do was go to the pasture. I would be sitting on one of my grandmother’s hunters.
Although I have never been able to work with thoroughbreds, I want to-even today as a senior citizen.
Absolutely precious! I’ve seen, first hand, how horses respond to small children and to those with limited capacity. It’s a sight that always fills me with wonder (and, admittedly, almost a tinge of jealousy). How lucky for Tenley to have a grandmother who understands that starting young and being around horses makes not only for a happy child, it makes for a healthy one as well.
It is amazing to see thoroughbreds respond so gently to children. Our niece started riding thoroughbreds when she was two and we have had many children, over the years, bonding with both thoroughbred babies and adults.
Thanks for writing the article and shining light on how kids and thoroughbreds can be friends.
Ken Lian, DVM