After 3 surgeries, a t’bred now dances like a star

Cherie Chauvin has seen her Thoroughbred Dusty through three leg surgeries and a rough start. The pair recently earned their Bronze in dressage.

Cherie Chauvin has seen her Thoroughbred Dusty through three leg surgeries and a rough start. The pair recently earned their Bronze in dressage.

An unraced Texas Thoroughbred who survived three surgeries on three different legs has blossomed into a virtuoso in the dressage ring.

Though he once hated dressage work so much he’d occasionally stamp his feet like a child, Dusty Dazing has suddenly morphed into a 3rd Level dressage competitor with everything going his way.

“This horse was basically rehabbing from injuries and surgery from the fall of 2013 to the summer of 2015, when I brought him back to work with the help of Jennie Brannigan, assistant trainer to Phillip Dutton,” says owner and rider Cherie Chauvin of Maryland. “We were so lucky she was willing to take us on because we were a mess.”

Dusty Dazing
Barn name: Mi
Sire:Stephene Mon Amour
Dam:Amber Dust, by Dust Commander
April 19, 2001
Even before the accident that left Dusty sidelined and rehabbing for so long, the horse/rider team had their issues, she says. “Right from the beginning, we had a hard time meshing. I had him for six months and we were trying to build a partnership, but there were more than a few temper tantrums on his part. He didn’t want to be messed with, and he barely tolerated dressage,” Chauvin says. “I was looking for a connection to the horse on every stride, and he was under the impression he should be left alone.”

After he got seriously hurt in an accident that no one witnessed, and underwent three separate leg surgeries to repair the damage, their relationship still failed to knit together. “Putting him on stall rest was just horrible.”

After an accident in his field left Dusty with three injured legs, she took the long view on their future plans. He recently rewarded that patience by earning his Bronze level scores.

After an accident in his field left Dusty with three injured legs, she took the long view on their future plans. He recently rewarded that patience by earning his Bronze level scores.

Though there were some pretty dark days, the pair started taking jumping lessons with Jenny Brannigan in September 2015, and the perseverance started to pay off. “We started to figure each other out, and we actually started to click a little,” she says, noting that the progress was so profound that when Brannigan announced she was going to Florida for the winter, Chauvin hitched up the trailer, and the pair followed her. “I rented an apartment, got permission from my boss to work remotely, and put my absolute focus on my partnership with this horse.”

Bouncing between jumping lessons with Brannigan and dressage lessons with Susan Graham White, Dusty suddenly found his dancing legs one day in the dressage arena. “All of a sudden he developed the confidence and security to do it. And his back relaxed, I was able to sit his trot, and we quickly rose to 2nd level,” Chauvin says.

And just like that, the fire-breathing Thoroughbred was arching his neck and relaxing into his rhythm like he’d been born to it!

Over the summer, the pair did their first 3rd level test at the PVDA Ride for Life in Maryland, and cinched a qualifying score for a US Dressage Federation Bronze Medal after that.

Though the journey has been fraught with difficulty and roadblocks, Chauvin says her bond with both Dusty, has been richly rewarding. “I’m pretty proud of my OTTB,” she says. “I am just absolutely thrilled with him.”

3 responses to “After 3 surgeries, a t’bred now dances like a star”

  1. Joanna Deal

    Love your story. How wonderful for both of you. So many of these TB are just tossed aside if they don’t make it on track or sustain an injury

  2. edna

    Nice story. Glad to hear that you two clicked and are flying together! My mare and I have also had our ups and downs. Now we’re with a different trainer that “gets” us and we’re making great progress. Freda also really needs alot of outside time and very little in a stall so she’s getting her wish finally and she’s content.

  3. Cheri

    Very nice! Great job! “Cherie Chauvin of Maryland”… I hope it will be “Cheri Vaughan of Maryland” one day, too!

Leave a Reply to Cheri Cancel reply