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.”
Dam: Czarina Kate
Foal date: March 14, 2005Indeed, 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.”
“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.”