Talk about taking an “honorable turn.”
After leaving Suffolk Downs nearly two years ago with a tendon injury, Honorable Turn emerged from six months of rest to become one of the best hunter/jumper prospects Marietta Kirkpatrick has worked with.
So good, in fact, that the gelding she calls Syd is a keeper. He will not be resold after his training because her guy’s floating, ground-covering trot, jumping style and lovable nature have worked their magic on the veteran trainer.
“I have a lot of experiences with horses, especially green horses, over the years that by comparison, Syd really stands out,” she says. “The first thing is how incredibly smart he is. He’s the smartest horse I’ve dealt with.
New name: Honorable Turn
Barn name: Syd
Sire: Honour and Glory
Dam: Turn to Mommy
Foal date: Feb. 9, 2004“The second thing is how brave he is. He has no spook in him whatsoever. Nothing bothers him. He takes everything in stride. Hands down, those two factors make him a dream to work with.”
Kirkpatrick met Syd at CANTER New England’s (please see: http://www.canterne.org) annual Suffolk Showcase and was immediately wowed by his eye-catching trot, she says. She recalls turning to others gathered at the sales event to declare, “That horse is coming home with me today!”
Her excitement was tempered shortly after Syd moved home with her to New York, and was diagnosed with a tendon injury in his left hind leg. Not noticeable at the trot, the condition showed itself at the canter, when he presented with a very short stride.
For six months, Syd was nursed back to health. He had stall rest and very limited turnout in a small paddock. Last April, the veterinarian gave him the all-clear after a clean ultrasound, and the horse just blossomed.
“Now that he’s healed, he’s a gorgeous mover,” Kirkpatrick says. “He has a wonderful canter, and fortunately, there is no evidence that he ever had an injury. He never showed signs of bowing.”
With a full year of training behind them, Kirkpatrick feels he is ready to start showing in the hunters. Hopefully, soon.
In the meantime, the 46-year-old veterinarian technician is already thinking about future off-track Thoroughbreds. So impressed with Syd, Kirpatrick is considering the possibility of bringing another into her barn, down the road.
“I have one other horse, a warmblood. My experience has been so good with Syd that I’d definitely consider getting another one,” she says. “Thoroughbreds seem, as a rule, to be braver and not as spooky as other horses.”
3 responses to “From barn rest to bold mover”
I love the story you have written about my horse Syd. He has won my heart. My hope is for more happy endings for TB’s after their racing days are over.
I also hope to be writing about more happy endings. I have a new story, planned for tomorrow, about an ex-racehorse purchased off a feed lot in New Jersey. It has a happy ending, but it was a close call.
I would love to get a discussion going about training OTTBs. I would welcome comments on personal experiences, obstacles to overcome, and the rewards.