Behavioral graces were not exactly the forte of Social Lies when he first set hoof on the dignified foxhunting fields of Virginia.
This bay-colored bad boy came spinning, and rearing onto the scene, looking as though he was back on the racetrack, says his doting owner Debra Earhart, 63.
“The first time I took him cubbing, he reared, twisted and turned like he thought he was going to have to run a race,” she says. “I’d keep him as far away from everybody else, and I never did anything but sit there. Sometimes I’d sit on his back for 20 minutes and then it was like his brain (clicked into gear) and I rode him on the buckle, never picking up the reins, for the rest of the hunt.”
Barn name: Chilly
Sire: Maria’s Mon
Dam: Authentic Air, by Personality
Foal date: May 20, 1999And this is how it went for several glorious years riding hunts. The first 15 minutes were his time to act up a bit, never in a “mean” way. And after that, his quick intelligence and agility carried them away on many adventures.
“One day we were out cubing … and there was this enormous tree that had fallen over, with its branches sticking out everywhere,” she recalls. “The branches were touching his belly and he started to rear … so I put my hand on his neck and he stopped. I couldn’t get off him because a leg injury prevents me from mounting from the ground, so I wouldn’t have been able to get back on.
“And so I’m sitting there thinking about what my next alternative was when all of a sudden we’re up in the air, over the tree, and facing in the opposite direction. I couldn’t figure out how we got there! And then I heard my hunt master ask if I was OK and I was laughing … and he said my horse had just done an air above ground, with a twist.”
Social Lies saved her bacon many times after that.
And through the years he proved to be so smart and trustworthy that Earhart finally convinced her daughter Jessica (pictured) to ride him on a hunt a few years ago.
Afterwards, Earhart was poised with her camera to capture the smiles on both their faces!
Social Lies sold as a yearling for $50,000 before winding up at Charles Town, and eventually in Earhart’s hands. Her experience with him, and with an OTTB before him, named Stella, has cemented Earhart’s commitment to ride only Thoroughbreds.
“Now I’m starting to look for another one. I need another packer, just like them,” she says. “I have friends who’ve spent huge, big bucks trying to buy packers, and I’ve always had Thoroughbreds who just took care of me. I could never understand why people spent so much on other breeds when they could get a Thoroughbred.”