Nine Thoroughbred ex-racehorses from several re-homing organizations strutted their stuff at the annual Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Mass., last weekend.
Horses training in a variety of disciplines performed as a group, in the walk, trot and canter, in a demonstration that was jointly organized by Fiona Farrell, Esq. of Thoroughbred Renaissance, LLC. and Massachusetts rider and Thoroughbred owner Monica Southwick.
Despite good-sized crowds and the big atmosphere of the robust equine trade show, the Thoroughbreds remained pretty cool under pressure, says Southwick, who rode her two ex-racehorses in the demonstration.
The young Massachusetts equestrian began by riding Willie Cruise first and her new OTTB Gordian Knot later. Though Willie was on his toes with excitement, he was perfectly calm as he performed in western tack, she says.
“In the ring, Willie’s a bit of a show off. He knows eyes are on him at that moment,” Southwick says. But her gelding has always been unflappable, notes the woman who purchased him straight off Suffolk Downs in 2006. Back then; Willie was so cool-headed that his trainer at the time underscored his claims to Willie’s even temper by hopping on his bare back and cantering him past shedrows at the racetrack. Please see an earlier story in Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com.
Southwick was so happy with Willie that she has since purchased several other OTTBs, and she leaps at the chance to showcase the breed, as she did last weekend.
“Before the demonstration, earlier in the day, someone approached me while I was walking my OTTB Gordian Knot in. She really liked the way he looked and was stunned when I told her he was a Thoroughbred racehorse who’d come off the track a few months ago,” she says. “They couldn’t believe it because he was so calm. But I’ve never worked with an OTTB who is super hot.”
When she rode Gordian into the demonstration ring, she admits she was a bit on pins and needles. “I had no idea what he was going to with all those people, and the clapping,” she says. “I was nervous. But he was great. He was a bit high headed and looking around wondering where we were, but he listened to me the entire time and went around the ring like we were riding at home.”
Southwick’s co-organizer, Fiona Farrell noted that the short demonstration went a long way toward helping the horse-buying public understand the versatility and trainability of the breed.
“For a 13 1/2 minute demonstration, it is astonishing the hours of effort each and every participant, their family and supporters took to be at Equine Affaire to promote the versatility, level headedness, talents and charm of Thoroughbreds,” Farrell says. “It was such a wonderful group of people and horses to work with.”
Other OTTBs in the demonstration were Livingston Appeal, Shoe Shopper, Grub for Gold, Sunny Irish Skies, Matachine and Cody Monster.