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 obtained her Thoroughbreds through CANTER New England. Other Thoroughbreds in the demonstration hailed from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the SPCA and Lucky Orphan Rescue.
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.
7 responses to “Thoroughbreds strut their stuff at Equine Affaire”
A well organized, beautiful presentation of OTTBs. Thank you Fiona, and to each rider who took the time and energy to show off the talent of their retired racer.
very cool, nice job Fiona! Thanks as always for sharing these stories Susan!
To Fiona, Monica, to all horse owners and to these magnificent equines themselves, I saw “BRAVO, great job!”. The Thoroughbred is the most versatile of all breeds: loving, competitive, inquisitive and willing to please.
It looks like it went very well! A huge thanks to Fiona and Monica who tirelessly work to bring the wonderful attributes of OTTBs to light. Thanks for posting this Susan! xo
I had the wonderful good fortune to have an OTTB as my lesson horse when I was learning to ride many years ago, and I’m really pleased to be able to say that these reports don’t surprise me in the slightest. Drifter was a lovely, good-natured, well-adjusted horse with a fun sense of humor…great fun for a young intermediate rider! It’s lovely to see these wonderful animals being given a second chance!
I had a similar experience this past March, at the WNY Horse COuncil’s Equifest. My OTTB mare Darkness Falls was the TB in the parade of breeds, and she was also in a dressage demonstration along with a Friesian and Hanoverian. She was the best behaved horse in the parade of breeds and the only horse in the dressage demo who just calmly went about her business and did not spook or erupt when the loudspeaker crackled or the crowd clapped. Everyone was saying how amazed they were at how calm the racehorse was! OTTBs are the best ambassadors for themselves, and congratulations on showing them off at Equine Affaire!
We are honored that Fiona wore our ‘off the track jacket’ during this incredible event!!