$750 horse blazes a four-star future at Rolex

Leah Lang-Gluscic and AP Prime enter the ranks of four-star athletes after a weekend performance at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day. Photo by and courtesy of Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

Leah Lang-Gluscic and AP Prime enter the ranks of four-star athletes after a weekend performance at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day. Photo by and courtesy of Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

Five years after buying an off-track Thoroughbred for $750, a one-time investment banker and her bargain-basement gelding, AP Prime, went big this past weekend, competing against top international riders and scoring mid-pack at the fabled Rolex Kentucky Three Day.

After successfully completing all three phases of the grueling competition Sunday, Lang-Gluscic hugged her horse and slapped his neck in congratulations as the pair crossed the threshold and became bonafide four-star athletes.

“It was a dream come true,” Lang-Gluscic says. “It doesn’t feel like I went to Rolex on a $750 horse anymore. I feel like I went to Rolex on a world-class animal.”

AP Prime
Sire: Aptitude
Dam: Czarina Kate
Foal date: March 14, 2005
Indeed, she did.

Since the day she met AP Prime on the backside of an Illinois racetrack (thanks to an ad she spotted in CANTER Illinois), paying cash for the animal on the spot, the pair has been steadily moving up the ranks of the Eventing world. And when knocked down, as they were last year when a prior fall at another competition forced them to abort their planned Rolex run, they retooled and came back stronger than ever.

Amid cheering from fans, AP and Lang-Gluscic debuted their dressage in a raucous environment. “When we went into the Dressage ring, the crowd was instructed not to cheer until the very end. But people started cheering in the stands for him, and I had this moment of panic. I thought he’d flip out. But it turned out he liked it. And he really went in there and did the best he could in the environment,” she says, noting that though he was late on his lead changes, and his score suffered from it, on cross-country day, AP was on top of his game.

Asked if he hesitated at any of the gigantic obstacles, she answers a quick “No.”

Pure trust and all go was the spirit with which AP Prime attacked his first four star at Rolex. Photo by and courtesy of Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

Pure trust and all go was the spirit with which AP Prime attacked his first four star at Rolex. Photo by and courtesy of Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

“The first few times I walked it the course felt so long and so vast. It felt a little abstract, the way it fit together. But by my third walk it started to feel more connected and flowing,” she says. “Honestly, by the time AP got out there he didn’t really make any mistakes. He was a textbook case of skipping over the jumps.”

And after all the years of cross-country at the lower levels, the trust between them was ingrained. “Kyle Carter,who I walked the course with, put it great when we were on a course walk. He said that when he sits up and takes a half-halt that his horse knows there’s something coming up. So I was able to set up AP” to power over obstacles into water and across an undulating field of Kentucky bluegrass.

When the final phase arrived, AP entered the show-jumping ring with the focus of a warrior and the energy of a horse who felt like he’d been on vacation, she says.

Though he had a rail down, the pair concluded the Event on top of the world.

“He’s made my career, at this point. Though I have a lot of nice, young horses I’ve produced, he’s been the highlight. He took me from being what was maybe a good amateur when I started to a pretty competent professional at this point,” says Lang-Gluscic, of LLG Eventing. “We’ve really come up the ranks together.”

19 responses to “$750 horse blazes a four-star future at Rolex”

  1. Jon

    It was great to see AP at Rolex. Leah and AP were a pleasure to watch as they took on the XC course.

  2. Susan FriedlandSmith (@SaddlSeeksHorse)

    I got to meet Leah briefly at Rolex last year. I was thrilled to have a fellow Illinoisan “in the house” so to speak and even more excited since she was representing with her adopted OTTB. I didn’t get to see her ride last year (and somehow missed her on the streaming this year). I hope to return next year to make up for it. #BestWeekendAllYear

  3. Pete

    Does anyone have the original ad? Want to see. Not just the picture.

  4. Mikesmcs

    Susan Salk , YOU helped spark this revolution a long time ago with your articles and constant vigilance of promoting OTTB’s Look where it has gone.. So many have so much to be grateful to you for.. Thank you

  5. Bridget

    Congratulations Leah and AP!!!

  6. sally

    Love this story about the heart of a TB and the faith of Leah.

  7. Mary McLeod

    Congratulations to AP Prime & Leah, Blackfoot Mystery & Boyd, and all the other OTTB competitors & their riders. A big thank you to all who have adopted OTTBs: you rock! Take care, Mary in Boone

  8. KM

    We rescued a horse from slaughter who we traced his history through his tattoo to being a former racehorse who at one time sold for 6 figures. We also were surprised to learn he was a fully trained, yet rusty 3 day eventer. He now lives a fairy tale life as a lesson horse in a beautiful farm as well as the equine message therapy horse of choice for those learning the art and best of all he is the girl scout horse who “teaches” the children about horses and horsemanship. All horse deserve a chance and many may surprise you!

    1. colmel

      Another WONDERFUL story! Thank you for rescuing and giving your buddy a wonderful life. Only shows that giving kindness and a new career can bring out the best in our wonderful breed and that OTTBs can be the best of the best – no matter what their endeavor.

  9. Ginger Carpenter

    It takes both a rider and a horse pair to make the difference.
    I know that with my own, the we are so connected, I think it and he is there.
    Congratulations, and I heard you have a new special guy in your barn.

  10. joanne Oliveira

    Congrats! Very inspiring to many Ottb owners to never give up and hard work and dedication pay off. You guys make a great team

  11. colmel

    Congratulations! I’ve been so anxious to hear how y’all did after your disappointment (but doing the only right thing) last year. You’re a shining example of the absolute power of believing in your OTTB and opening up a whole new world for our amazing, athletic breed. Onward!

  12. Belinda

    Congratulations! So wonderful to hear of his wonderful life after the track!

  13. Canter Illinois

    AP Prime was found by Leah because he was listed on CANTER ILLINOIS!!

  14. Duncan McIntosh

    um,he wasn’t the only one. Blackfoot Mystery was also an adopted ottb, and was 6th…

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