One afternoon about three weeks ago, Shannon Smith slipped into a couture jacket and onto the back of her storybook-beautiful gray gelding.
Posing for photographer Michele Taras in an outfit by a local designer, the Ontario equestrian and her OTTB Realbigwig romped in the woods without a care in the world.
“Normally I wouldn’t ride without a helmet,” Smith says. “But nothing fazes him. He’s super smart and super brave. He’ll do anything you ask; he’s not a spooker and he’s super levelheaded.”
Real Big Wig
Dam: Pop Princess, by Alphabet Soup
Foal date: May 22, 2010Smith adopted Realbigwig two years ago from Adena Springs Farm after putting out feelers. When she got a call from her friend Stacy Clark, who ran the retirement program for the farm, her gut reaction to Realbigwig guided her.
“I fell in love with him right away,” she says. “We took him out to the arena, and at the time he’d only had three rides on him, and I watched him work. He was super green, but he didn’t put a foot wrong. I remember thinking I’ve waited forever for this guy.”
After giving him about a year off due to winter weather, she started him in training in the spring. And she was so impressed with his talent that he’s entered in the October Thoroughbred Makeover Project in Kentucky.
“I love his versatility. He’s a quick study and he has paid me back in spades with his commitment,” she says. Even let his horse mom drape a long train over his hindquarters as they canter in the very picture of a young girl’s dream come true.