He ponied one week, raced the next; many hats

Jebster used to race one week and pony the next. Now he has a permanent home with exercise rider April Le Blanc and is a lesson horse for adoring youngsters.

Jebster used to race one week and pony the next. Now he has a permanent home with exercise rider April Le Blanc and is a lesson horse for adoring youngsters.

Jebster was never much more than mediocre on the racetrack.

He won three 1sts and hit the board often enough to earn $72,000. But neither his record nor his looks — cute but by no means flashy —distinguished him from the sea of bay brown racehorses.

What Jebster had was a workmanlike ability to wear many hats, functioning at times as a racehorse, and in his off- weeks, as a pony, before eventually moving into a third and fourth career in hunter/jumpers and barrels in Canada.

“Jeb quickly became a barn favorite,” says his owner April Le Blanc, a Woodbine exercise rider and proprietor of Shadowy Hills Farm in Ontario. “He used to lay up at my farm in the winters. My friend and exercise rider Ricky Brown kept him with me when he wasn’t riding him. And he was just such a character. All the girls who ride at my barn liked him a lot because he was really quiet, polite, and kind of a ham.”

What they didn’t know was that on the track, he wasn’t nearly so nice. Known to flatten his ears and sometimes charge at people, Jeb worked for nine years on the track, his last few for exercise rider and pony rider Ricky Brown.

Jebster
Sire: Belongs of Me
Dam: Jeb, by Jeblar
Foal: April 4, 2005
Earnings: $72,962 in 33 starts
“I originally took him to be a pony at Woodbine and the more we started using him the more fit he got. Then he started acting more like a racehorse,” he says. “So we decided to breeze him to see if he had anything left.”

Proving he still had the gumption to run, Brown entered him in a race in June 2011 at Ft. Erie, and he won!

Though he didn’t set the world on fire as a racehorse, Jeb earned some checks making occasional runs on the track. And when he wasn’t running, Jeb rode him to bring other horses to the gate.

After finishing his last race in October 2012, Brown told Le Blanc he didn’t want his horse to “go just anywhere” and asked if she would keep him. He told her he was too good a horse to not do something for him now.

Ricky Brown and Jeb, right, in their ponying/racing days.

Ricky Brown and Jeb, right, in their ponying/racing days. Photo by Jose Paye

“When Jeb came to Ricky he thought he might have a soundness issue creeping up on him, so we turned him out for the entire winter,” she says, noting that by springtime he seemed eager to please the growing fan club he had at his new barn.

“We took three months re-starting him. He was 9 and had only ever been ridden on the racetrack so I wanted to give him a chance to get used to the dressage ring or the fields with hills,” Le Blanc says. “He was never spooky or bad, and he figured out very quickly that the young girls were his favorite riders.”

Jeb found his calling, and a little bit of the limelight, in the local hunter/jumper circuits this past summer. Ridden by Le Blanc’s student Amanda Dowling in six hunter/jumper classes, he ribboned in all! And he is not pigeonholing himself to one career. He is also trying out barrel racing for another student, Le Blanc adds.

“Right now he’s babysitting yearlings in between his duties as a school horse. My whole barn’s in love with him!” says Le Blanc. “He’s one cool dude.” ♥

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3 responses to “He ponied one week, raced the next; many hats”

  1. Lisa Melone

    What a sweetie!

  2. Michelle Y.

    Another happy ending!! Kudos to Ricky for caring enough about what happened to his horse as well as to April for taking him in!!

  3. R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    What a nice horse.

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