Five months after her big dream to ride Rolex was yanked out from under her, Leah Lang-Gluscic is slowly making a comeback, and working the magic once again to take a giant leap on her crazily talented $750 Thoroughbred.
The one-time investment banker who ditched her day job in 2010 after discovering, quite by chance, the fiercely talented AP Prime on the backside of Fairmount Park, Illinois, gave up a shot at the cross-country run of her dreams, when just before the start, a medical concern arose.
Sire: A.P. Indy
Dam: Czarina Kate
Foal date: March 14, 2005After rocketing up the Eventing levels to get to the world-class Rolex Three Day in record time, Lang-Gluscic decided at the 11th hour, on the eve of the grueling cross-country phase, to pull out of competition when an ultrasound on AP’s left, front leg, showed a worrisome result.
Injured just weeks before Rolex, in a fall at a jump at CIC three-star event The Fork, Lang-Gluscic decided on the spot to put her professional hopes and dreams aside for the sake of her horse’s wellbeing. And she packed him up in the trailer and made the trip back to Illinois to start over, recalibrating her Rolex goals.
“This was the first time our competition plans were held back,” she says of the OTTB she purchased in 2010 for $750. “We gave him an ultrasound the night before cross-country and my vet told me that if he was a 17-year-old horse at the Olympics, she’d say to go ahead and run him. But, in my case, since he’s only 10, she said she didn’t know how many four stars might be in his future” and the decision was made to preserve him.
In the long weeks and months that followed, Lang-Gluscic spent some time sitting on her couch feeling a bit sorry for herself before eventually picking herself up, and forging ahead on a different path to fulfill her dreams.
Whereas earlier, she and AP blazed toward Rolex with the swiftness of a hare, this time they were turtles, walking and trotting under close scrutiny of her veterinarian, who performed monthly ultrasounds on AP’s leg.
“In July we got the go ahead to start back to work at the walk. Although my vet never classified this as an injury, because he was never lame, he definitely has his racing ‘jewelry’ and we wanted to make sure,” she says. “Three weeks after that, we got the OK to start trotting, and we started with straight lines, only in the indoor.
“Then on Sept. 10, we got the go ahead to canter. We started trotting circles and canter straight lines and soft curves, and by October we will hopefully go ahead back into full work.”
Lang-Gluscic is planning to compete AP in January, after they travel from their Illinois facility to their farm in Ocala, Fla., she says. She plans on building his foundation in dressage before going Preliminary in Florida, and then tackling Pine Top in Georgia, a difficult three-star course.
Looking back on the disappointment of Rolex in April, Lang-Gluscic is philosophical about the bump in the road, and her decision to start over.
“Rolex was the first time in our competition plans that we were held back … but the silver lining in all this is that I got to do a dress rehearsal for Rolex. I walked it. And I practiced the mental preparation. That’s the big thing. We had exposure to that level of competition, and there’s value in that,” she says. “During this time, I’m very glad to have built my business to have young ones coming up behind AP, like Of Course Carter, and to have given him the time” he needs to be 100 percent again.
And while he rested and waited, a silver lining emerged.
A 7-year-old cousin to AP named Of Course Carter presented Lang-Gluscic with the opportunity to work with her next generation Eventer. The saucy chestnut, who is the polar opposite to AP and his quick-learning style, was the perfect outlet for Lang-Gluscic. Giving him all the time he needed, she worked with the talented OTTB, had some great rides, and will compete him at the Preliminary level his year.
“AP took 10 months to go up the ranks, and Carter has spent a year at every level. They’re opposites, but both so talented,” she says. “I was able to take Carter to Richland this year, one of the toughest prelims, and he was fabulous. It was a great run in the middle of August” which set up to move up the ranks this year.
So after a rocky start to the summer, Lang-Gluscic finds she now has two great Thoroughbred Eventers on her hands, both descending from the famous sire A.P. Indy. Her star AP Prime will set his sights on Rolex, and Of Course Carter will make his mark at the lower levels until it is his turn, one day.
“I’ve always been warned that a horse at the top level of eventing will need some extended R&R from time to time. Not having AP to compete this fall has certainly been tough, but I’m just grateful to have such a promising athlete in Carter to keep me focused on a goal, excited, and on my game,” she says. “It will be pretty fabulous to have two upper level A.P. Indy grandbabies to campaign this coming year!”