After conquering the fabled Rolex Kentucky Three Day this spring, a former accountant-turned-professional rider and her bargain-basement superstar Thoroughbred are aiming to compete among top international horse and riders at England’s famous four-star event.
Leah Lang-Gluscic announced that she would attempt to gain sponsors and financial support needed to fly her four-star ex-racehorse AP Prime to Great Britain to compete at the legendary Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September.
The move comes after she and AP completed Rolex at the end of April and she found, much to her surprise and delight, that her horse was firing on all cylinders.
Dam: Czarina Kate
Foal date: March 14, 2005“A week and a half after Rolex, AP had a full veterinary and lameness exam and he passed with flying colors,” Lang-Gluscic says. “I was in the vet’s office and I called my coach Jon Holling, a four-star Eventer, and said I have a horse who could go back to work tomorrow, what do I do with him? I though thought about going to Fair Hill, and he said he’s a Burghley horse now, he’s at a whole different caliber now.”
With that ringing endorsement as incentive, Lang-Gluscic launched a fundraising campaign to raise $40,000 to cover the cost of a round-trip ticket for AP ($21,000), as well as another $5,000 in airfare for herself, coach, grooms and other personnel.
She explains, “Travel is the bulk of the costs. We’re looking to rent an Air BNB because it’s cheaper than a hotel, and we’re hoping to do this on a shoestring budget. It’s such a huge amount of money, and I want people to know that I won’t be getting any new clothes and AP won’t be getting any new halters. The cost is almost entirely travel and lodging expenses.”
The effort to get Leah and AP to Burghley was spearheaded by Sara Kozumplik Murphy, a talented and deeply experienced Eventer and coach, who offered to raffle off a week at her beautiful Ocala, Fla. farm and five lessons with either her or her equally talented husband, a show jumping coach and trainer.
That offer, which Lang-Gluscic calls “insanely and over-the-top generous,” kicked off a silent auction of goods and services that has snowballed with goodwill and donations from fans and supporters who want to help the lovely off-track Thoroughbred and his rider get over the Big Pond.
Thus far, about $25,000 worth of goods and services has been donated to the auction, says Lang-Gluscic, who adds she is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support. “I really have to credit Sara Kozumplik Murphy for spearheading this whole effort,” she says. “After she offered a week at her Ocala Farm, which is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, the whole thing snowballed. Suddenly people without any solicitation started donating an insane amount of amazing things to the auction!” To bid on auction items, please visit this site: https://www.32auctions.com/apprimegoestoburghley.
In a secondary fundraising effort, Lang-Gluscic is also offering to put photos of $100 donors on AP’s stall guard at Burghley. The idea is that the faces of donors will be right there with AP as a physical reminder that it was the fans and their support that made a dream such as this even possible, she says. To learn more about the stall guard campaign, please visit this site: http://llgeventing.com/burghley.html
Should Lang-Gluscic not meet her $40,000 fundraising goal, she will choose two or three CIC three-star events with “perfect footing” to ride, to keep her remarkable Thoroughbred sport horse tuned up. “If we wind up not meeting our fundraising goals, I’ll pick some venues that have prize money, and try to put that away and try again next year,” she says, noting that whatever happens, she is thrilled to be a part of the “powerful bond shared by OTTB owners. Says Lang-Gluscic: “I feel that as a group of people, we can do almost anything!”
And she should know. Lang-Gluscic bought AP Prime off the track after finding him in an advertisement by CANTER Illinois. She paid $750 on the spot, took him home, and made her equestrian career on a flashy bay gelding who has proved to be worth his weight in gold.