With ears pinned as if ready to fight, Inside Draw arrived at Allyson May’s tranquil barn in Maine last winter like some awful news or a despised guest.
Sending everyone scampering to get out of his way, the beautiful dark bay scared everyone who approached him, recalls May, whose heart sank the instant she met the 17-hand gelding.
“We didn’t like each other at first sight,” May says. “He was rather aggressive, defensive of his stall and untrusting. If I went into his stall, he’d pin his ears and pick his feet up at me. He didn’t actually try to kick me” but the message was pretty clear.
Dam: Elusive Song, by Elusive Quality
Foal date: Jan. 16, 2010And May fretted that her spontaneous decision to purchase the animal sight unseen and have him shipped all the way from Kentucky had been a very bad idea. A somewhat nervous rider, May swallowed her fears, put her foot in the stirrup and discovered that beneath the fire and brimstone lurked the easiest, most quiet horse she’d ever had the good fortune to ride.
“He was very honest from the start, and I found that by just going and spending time with him, he started to soften up,” she says. “I taught him that being brushed was OK and that people weren’t going to hurt him. He still has trust issues … but all he needed was some consistency.”
Working steadily throughout the summer, May and Inside Draw developed such a strong rapport that in August at the Downeast Maine Medal Finals, to her surprise and delight, the pair earned a third-place ribbon.
“It was incredible that we even qualified for the finals because he wasn’t even cantering a full course the month before,” May says, noting that her early success with her OTTB has rocked her world.
“I’d always assumed they were all hot and racy. But he’s just not. And I’ve always heard that they have more heart than any other horse, and I can tell you it’s true. He’s gives 110 percent,” she says. “My mother came to watch us ride recently and she was amazed at my confidence on him. He’s totally changed my opinion of Thoroughbreds.”