19-year-old T-bred is unlikely Eventing star

Valentine enjoys the fuss as Kayla August attends to him.

Valentine enjoys the fuss as Kayla August attends to him.

Valentine, a poorly put together 19-year-old Thoroughbred with knee chips and early stage navicular, is blowing the socks off the competition in Preliminary cross-country throughout the Area 3 Eventing world.

The unlikely sport horse, who once won a race under Jockey Club name R Motel, by “running in terror from the other horses” is never so happy as when he is plunging into water, and soaring over obstacles with his owner Kayla August.

“His thing is Cross Country. He falls asleep before dressage and showing jumping. But put him in a start box and he goes wild,” she says. “At our first one-star, just before the starter said go, he reared and screamed” and they took off running, and haven’t looked back since.

August purchased Valentine, who some deemed dangerous, when he was a scrawny 15 years old. Said to require two hours of lunging before each ride, with August he fit hand-in-glove.

Race name: R Motel
Show name: Valentine
Barn name: Red
Sire: Chateaubay
Dam: Chaka Zulu
Foal date: May 21, 1995
“We clicked right away,” she says. “I remember getting this feeling like I was sitting at home in my saddle, and I had this snapshot in my head of how it would be. It was like he knew what I was asking without me needing to ask.”

Though X-rays on his legs have revealed bone chips in his knees, hocks and ankles, and navicular changes are starting in his front feet, her older gent has only taken two un-sound steps in his life; simultaneous abscesses in both front feet sidelined him once, and a stone bruise, picked up while running a course after throwing a shoe, sidelined him a second time.

“I had no idea the time he threw a shoe. I didn’t find out until we got to the Vet Box, and he was still fine on it and did Stadium Jumping the next day,” she says. “It wasn’t until we got home that he let me know he was sore.”

Valentine is a 19-year-old ex-racehorse Thoroughbred who shows no signs of stopping as an Eventing sport horse. Photo courtesy of Kayla August.

Valentine is a 19-year-old ex-racehorse Thoroughbred who shows no signs of stopping as an Eventing sport horse. Photo courtesy of Kayla August.

He has done so well climbing the ranks that last March 30 he cleaned up against very fancy Warmbloods at the Full Gallop Farm event in Aiken. “We won it all,” she says. “I was riding against a woman who had a young horse, who was much fancier than my Red. I don’t know how we pulled it off!”

She considered dropping Valentine back down from Preliminary, where he is campaigning now. But he is not a horse who wants to be pulled back, she says. “He jumps Preliminary fences like he’s jumping Intermediate. He just loves it.”

Though the pair is riding out the summer heat away from the competition fields, she plans to enter him at Full Gallop in August or September, and other events in the Area 3 region. Age, to this horse, is a state of mind.

“He’s usually one of the oldest horses and he is not put together well at all, but when he moves, he’s amazing,” she says. “And he shows all those young horses exactly what perfection can look like!” —Author’s note: This story was originally published on June 23, 2014. ♥

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California Chrome gear auctioned for T-breds

Kate Miller, Adoption Coordinator, CANTER Calif., poses with California Chrome in the halter.

Kate Miller, Adoption Coordinator, CANTER Calif., poses with California Chrome in the halter.

As Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome readies to run in the Breeders’ Cup, some of his treasured memorabilia has been donated to two Thoroughbred charities to be auctioned off for the benefit of Thoroughbreds in need.

Alan Sherman, who is part of the father-son training team that helped usher California Chrome to wins in the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, donated the coppery racehorse’s famously misspelled saddlecloth to Beyond the Roses, and to CANTER California, a leather halter worn by the famous horse.

The gifts, says Sherman, were ones the great racehorse team was happy to make. “We are proud to help retired racehorse,” Alan Sherman said in an email to Off Track Thoroughbreds. “I think every trainer should try to help them as much as possible.”

The two items are up for auction this week.

Chrome's misspelled saddlecloth is being auctioned by Beyond the Roses.

Chrome’s misspelled saddlecloth is being auctioned by Beyond the Roses.

The halter appears on CANTER California’s Ebay auction, which is available at the Halter’s Ebay site, which is hyperlinked here. Bidding has reached $900.

And the saddlecloth is up for bid on Beyond the Roses Ebay site at hyperlinked here. By Sunday afternoon, bidding had reached $750.

Both Dacher and Hirt were over the moon with the donations.

Says Dacher, “We were thrilled to have the support of the California Chrome team and the racing industry. With the money we raise from this auction, we’re hoping to establish a surgical fund for horses who come to us with straightforward injuries, like bone chips and condylar fractures.”

The auction runs through this Friday.

Cayambe plays with Sharman Privitt of Beyond the Roses.

Cayambe plays with Sharman Privitt of Beyond the Roses.

Hirt, equally thrilled with the saddlecloth, says that Sherman donated it shortly after her rescue joined with racehorse owner Maggi Moss and others to secure a retirement for a racehorse the Shermans had trained years before. Cayambe was a warhorse California bred and the Shermans were his first trainers, she says.

Shortly after learning that Cayambe had been successfully retired from the low claimers, Alan Sherman called Hirt with the news. “He called me up and said he had something he was sending me, but he wouldn’t tell me what it was. When it arrived three days later, we were ecstatic. It’s one of the nicest donations to the rescue we’ve ever had. ♥

Off-Track Products.com is the blog’s store. It was created to sustain the blog going forward. Proceeds from sales of sporty saddle pads will also go to charity.

$750 T-bred qualifies for Rolex, let’s rumble

What a test! AP Prime and Leah Lang-Gluscic finish the  cross-country course at Fair Hill last weekend after being halted twice for fallen riders.

What a test! AP Prime and Leah Lang-Gluscic finish the cross-country course at Fair Hill last weekend after being halted twice for fallen riders.

A $750 T-bred, off the track for just four years, qualified last weekend to compete at the preeminent Rolex Kentucky Three Day.

AP Prime, grandson of the great A.P. Indy, and his owner/rider Leah Lang-Gluscic rode their hearts out at Fair Hill last weekend, despite being halted twice on course while injured riders were tended to.

It was amazing to Lang-Gluscic that he was able to pull himself up from a hell bent dash over the challenging course, that twice had fallen riders ahead of them and caused the event to be momentarily halted.

“AP was so professional! This was our first hold on course ever. It happened right after Fence 8, but I wasn’t worried, because the next fence was a big and inviting, and easy to re-start the course with,” she says.

AP Prime
Sire: Aptitude, by A.P. Indy
Dam: Czarina Kate
Foal date: March 14, 2005
It got worse. “Then, after we got through with Jumps 9 and 10, we came flying up a huge hill and saw the huge blue tarps ahead, surrounding Fence 11.

“When you see the blue tarps, that means something horrible has happened,” she says of the time-honored way of shielding the public’s view.

Her heart hammering as she fought to rein in her ex-racehorse, and Lang-Gluscic was “very upset” until she was reassured that the fallen horse/rider team were not badly injured. And she kept AP walking and calm until she was given her third “Go!” signal of the day.

“When we got the signal to again, I was a little nervous. Jump 11 is a huge Trakehner, and it goes right up the hill to a Coffin, which is notorious at Fair Hill for being difficult,” she says. “But AP was amazing! We went right over it and finished the ride!”

The Fair Hill course wound up testing everything they had.

The Fair Hill course wound up testing everything they had.

Although they ended with a time penalty, Lang-Gluscic says AP did an extraordinary job stopping and restarting the course twice, and jumping clean and willingly. “This is a difficult course designed by the same course designers at Rolex. A lot of people had time penalties and refusals. But AP went clean and very bold.”

In the show jumping round the next day, though they had three rails, two were her fault—she rushed him past the distance and he caught them with his hind feet—and a third was a fluke. “When I got him into a good quality canter, he jumped his heart out and went perfectly. I need to get my eye a little more patient by Kentucky, and I think we can be competitive there.”

With the tests of Fair Hill behind them, AP Prime will relax on a six-week vacation before heading to Ocala, Fla. for the winter. “He’ll get fuzzy, he’ll get fat, and he’ll be happy,” she says. “Then we’ll do two advanced level horse trials, shorter ones, and we’ll be on target for Rolex!” ♥

 T Bred iconOff-Track Products.com is the blog’s store. It was created to sustain the blog going forward. Proceeds from sales of sporty saddle pads will also go to charity.