Camelot pauper is show-ring prince

Atom is schooled by Teresa Tolar.

Atom is schooled by junior rider Teresa Tolar.Photo by Jessica West

A dusty Camelot castaway, plucked by chance from an auction that could have catapulted him to the slaughterhouse, is now on the cusp of a first-class hunter/jumper career.

Atom, an un-raced bay Thoroughbred, has emerged from his shell under the training of Mooresville, N.C. trainer Karen Benson to take high ribbons in big classes at the Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico, clearing jump after jump with the high-knee tuck of the refined show horse he was born to be.

“He has an amazing natural talent,” says Benson, who helped save him from the Camelot auction in 2012. “He’s so good with his front … that one of his riders took him to train with Liza Boyd, who rides top-dollar hunters and was international hunter rider of the year. And she loves him!”

Sire: Royal Academy
Dam: Araadh, by Blushing Groom
Foal date: April 17, 2007
Brilliantly balanced over the jumps, Atom leapt his way into the high ribbons in large classes at the Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico two weeks ago. With very few showing miles under his girth, and ridden by Judith Schaefer, he finished 3rd out of 30 in his first class, and 5th out of over 50 in the Hunter Classic, Benson says. “And he jumped so big the jumps were almost too small for him,” she says, noting that he also took 3rd in the hack class.

Rider Teresa Tolar, who plans to compete him in the A circuit at the Aiken Fall Classic and at the TAKE 2 Thoroughbred hunters, also rides him, Benson adds.

Though hardly recognizable from the timid-looking horse in the crowd at Camelot a few years ago, his remaking into a show horse has not come without its difficulties.

Atom as he appeared at the Camelot auction just a few years ago. Photo by Sarah Andrew

Atom as he appeared at the Camelot auction just a few years ago. Photo by Sarah Andrew

In fact, Atom went through a “very bratty stage” that had Benson second-guessing whether he was just a little too much horse for her. “One day he bucked so hard with my trainer on him that he almost fell to the ground,” she says. “And he continued to be so bratty that last year summer I decided to give him 60 days of really good training.”

Throwing out the usual playbook, Benson took Atom on trail rides to the mountains and through streams. She rode him western, and put many, many miles on him letting him unwind and grow up.

By the time she started back in with his hunter/jumper training, he was a new horse. And after his success at Pimlico, is well on his way to becoming a top-notch show horse.

“When I think how pathetic he looked in the Camelot kill pen, and look at him now, there’s no comparison,” she says. “And he was the last horse to go because nobody wanted him.”

5 responses to “Camelot pauper is show-ring prince”

  1. Jon

    You forgot to mention what part of PA that the horses are in. It helps when people are trying to figure out if they can afford the shipping or where they have to go to get the horses should they purchase them.

  2. alice fulton

    URGENT, TIME SENSITIVE: Two off-track Thoroughbred mares are right now in a kill pen in PA. If they aren’t purchased by 9PM on Saturday, Aug. 12015, they will be sent to slaughter.Their information appears on Alex Brown’s Advocacy Facebook page and on the Moore’s Equine site:

    If you visit the above site, you can help the mares by paying their fee (or “bail” in kill pen lingo) and/or offering them homes. You also can help by sharing this info with rescue groups and anyone who might be interested. Again, these two mares will be shipped to Canada (slaughter) if they are not purchased by 9PM this Saturday. Please help them. They are beautiful horses from the photos, which you can see on the Moore Facebook page at the above link. They are hip numbers 412 and 401. Thank you!

    Horse # 401 Bay TB Mare, five years old
    Name: Put It On Me
    Tattoo N20743
    HEIGHT: 15.3HH

    Horse #412 BAY TB MARE, 16 years old
    Tattoo: C09988
    Name: Thrilled Flossie- 1999 bay mare, 16 years old
    HEIGHT: 16HH

  3. r perry

    I agrre with the comments above & love the story about Atom, who my friend Judy showed at Totally TB! BUT… I don’t think there’s a “TB mindset”. I think its myth. I think the high-activity atmosphere of the racetrack environment creates it- in some horses. Some horse, like some ppl, thrive on it, others get frazzly. 2 of my best unraced TBs, had totally different attitudes. Both mares & raised by same ppl, the younger bay mare never even went to the track, her 1/2 sister , 1 year older, went, trained but never started… she was a much more sensitive horse, by nature & the track life idd not suit her. Both were awesome on the trails 7 fields, the older filly became a retired lady’s field hunter & the younger fill became a 3′ Children’s rated show hunter. Both were super sweet, talented horses. & now I have another sister as my broodmare & she’s as laid-back as could be! & I got her as a barely-halter-broke 7 yr old. Love a good TB! And a good Tb is a great improvement to most other breeds… there
    ‘s a reason the German gov’t pick up TB stallions from France to take to Celle!

  4. Stephanie Morse

    he’s cute as a button, now. good eye on the person who took him out of Camelot

  5. nancy atkinson

    Good move to trail ride him. I wish all OTTBs had that opportunity to unwind. Even though he did not race he has that TB mindset that needs to unwind. They actually LOVE the woods and streams. Good job and good luck!!

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