Three years after retiring the big, beautiful gelding her family bred for racing, race owner Shannon Casey has taken over the reins of the horse’s training, quite literally, and is now personally jumping him in the low-amateur jumpers in pursuit of the ribbons.
Casey has put her 17.1-hand gelding Osprey into training with Olympic Eventing coach Silvio Mazzoni and respected Eventer Hannah Sue Burnett in a quest to provide a happy and fun life for a horse she vows never to sell.
“He’s a one-of-a-kind horse, and I’ve loved him since he was born. My racing partner Yolanda Janczewski and I didn’t race him until he was 3 years old, and when we did, we had him trained by Rodney Jenkins. Osprey went on to win nearly $60,000 at the allowance level—we never put him into claimers because I didn’t want to lose him—and then one day Rodney Jenkins called me and he said this horse should be a show horse.”
Sire: Ghostly Minister
Dam: Alicia N., by Tactical Advantage
Foal date: April 5, 2009
Earnings: $58,222 in 11 startsTaking the suggestion to heart, Casey retired Osprey after his last race in August 2013, and set about finding a new path for the bold chestnut with flashy white socks. After all, the Hall of Fame show jumper turned racehorse trainer knew a thing or two about horses.
And Osprey has not let her down!
Competing last weekend in the meter low-adult amateurs at HITS Culpeper, the pair earned a pair of 6th place ribbons competing against classes of 20. And earlier in the month, the duo competed in the Twilight Jumper Series in Virginia, making a bid for the Outstanding Thoroughbred Jumper award given by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Although Osprey and Casey did not win the award, they are winning the battle by proving that off-track Thoroughbreds make ideal sport horses.
“This horse has always been very sweet, sensitive and trainable,” Casey says. “He’s just very brave, always perfectly behaved, never bucking, rearing or doing anything naughty.”
As a show horse, Osprey has proven to be a beautiful mover with great expression. And when he moves around the show ring, he’s as stealthy as a cat. “He just floats when he moves,” she says. “You don’t even hear him when he touches the ground.”
Her commitment to making a good life for the horses her family brought into this world, is a time-honored philosophy in her household, she adds.
“When we breed horses, we do so with the goal to create a well-rounded horse who will go on, after racing, to become a great riding horse,” she says. “We stay away from breeding lines with difficult temperaments. My father has produced incredibly well-rounded horses who’ve gone on to become Eventers, foxhunters, and in general, very useful in second careers.”
Her goal for Osprey is to help him mature into the high amateurs as she continues to showcase his talents.
“Hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun and success with him,” Casey says, noting, “And, we’ll never sell him. He’s going to retire at the farm and have a happy life.”