Money Makes Money repays a kindness

Karen and Kit take a victory gallop

Karen and Kit take a victory gallop. © 2013 JAS Photography

Tucking the prayer card from her father’s funeral service into her saddle, Karen Benson and her Thoroughbred Money Makes Money, once vanned off a southern Florida racetrack, stood ready at the big Virginia Thoroughbred horse show last month.  They had “wings.”

When March 17 dawned at the Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Show, Benson and her versatile bay gelding, who she now calls Kit, were unbeatable.

“He was nothing short of a superstar,” she says. “It was indoors, under bright lights and other horses were spooking.”

But not Kit.  A once-injured racehorse, he jumped clean on all his rounds, and netted five championships that day!

They won the championships of both the Churchill and Belmont Jumper Divisions, and also were recognized as the Jockey Club Incentive Award’s High Point Jumper champion, and as the Senior Rider High Point Jumper. Kit also won the Jumper Style Award.

“It’s the most I’ve ever won. We won saddle pads, cash, picture frames, and coolers,” she says.

All in all, it was a pretty terrific performance for an animal who was vanned off Gulfstream Park in 2006 for a badly bowed tendon, and for his owner, who nursed him through nine months of recovery. (Please see related story in Off Track

For Benson, the show was like a blessing after the heart-wrenching loss of her father a only week before.

Benson’s 76-year-old father died of a blood clot following a period of illness, and, after spending a week in New York at his bedside, and attending the funeral, she was ready to cancel her plans to attend the Thoroughbred show.

“But at the least second, I decided to go,” she says. “My father passed away on Saturday, and I flew to the show the following Tuesday. My father had never been to one of my horse shows, and I took his prayer card and said, ‘You’re coming with me!’ ”

When Benson and her OTTB took their victory gallop after unparalleled success, she felt nothing if not the rays of joy; like sunshine, shining through after a terrible storm.

Money Makes Money in the winner's circle with Karen Benson

Money Makes Money in the winner’s circle with Karen Benson. © 2013 JAS Photography

Benson agreed to take in Money Makes Money in 2006 after he bowed a tendon so badly at the track that he was vanned off. She nursed him back to health over nine long months, and then gradually taught him to ride a variety of disciplines, ranging from Cowboy Challenges and trail rides to more traditional hunter/jumpers.

With a keen intelligence, he adapted to everything with great aplomb.  In 2011, he won the Versatility Award at the Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Show, and in the same year, beat out all the Warmbloods to win the Low Jumper Classic at the Tryon Hunt Club, his first A-Rated show.

“My father never was much into horses, but my mother and I were,” she says. “After I’d go to a show, he’d ask, ‘Did you win? Did you win any money?’ ”

And with thoughts of him riding along that day, she could imagine herself saying, “Yes, yes, I surely did!” as she collected her ribbons, coolers and other gifts and posed for a winner’s circle photo.

And now the sky is the limit for the pair.

“Since I put that card in my saddle, I haven’t had a rail down, and he has won more championships!” she says, noting that she is now aiming to get him to the World’s Extreme Cowboy Challenge this year.

10 responses to “Money Makes Money repays a kindness”

  1. NotaQuittersMom

    Yes- those links worked! Beautiful! What harmony the pair have – and I never knew such a “Cowboy Challenge” existed. It looks like so much fun – at least the way Karen and Kit ride it! What a pair! 🙂

  2. Kitster

    Here is a link to Tryon Classic jumpoff:

    Link to first round Extreme Cowboy Regional.

    Hope they work!

  3. Jill

    Awwwww, what a really great story! So happy for your and Kitt’s success! Thanks for making me cry. . . then smile : )

  4. Tessa

    Makes my heart smile! Very happy for you both!!

  5. NotaQuittersMom

    Awesome! Congrats on turning a shadowed time into a sunny one. Great story. Any videos posted on YouTube we can watch you and your Pegasus?

  6. Kitster

    Thanks everyone for the kind reply’s. I could have not done it with out this amazing horse. Ottb’s are the best. Just give them time and be patient and they will do anything for for you. Kitt will have a forever home with me. Kitt can be followed on his Facebook page Mr Kitster.

    1. TBDancer

      Done! Can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

  7. Melissa P

    One of my greatest memories is of my Daddy (who passed away way too young – 62) when he came to visit our first homebred thoroughbred when she was just a foal. He was never much into horses, himself, but he knew how much they have always meant to me. He wanted to be a small part of my joy. Our filly was such a little lady to him that I saw him come to understand, if only a little, the draw. I only wish he’d lived to see her race, win, and become a mom.

  8. trina

    great story…. Keep on going Karen, you and Kit touched my heart…………….I bet your dad was watching over u….

  9. TBDancer

    I LOVE stories where someone “sees the hidden star” waiting to shine beneath a sometimes not so starry exterior–a rough coat, an injury, a horse so terrified it wants to jump out of its skin. Someone who stands back, sees through all that and takes a chance is very often rewarded with a loyal friend that thrives on the new job (or in Kit’s case, PLURAL jobs) and repays the many kindnesses shown with “ribbons and glory” while showing the world what great things can come from a racehorse in a second career. THIS is one of those stories. Thanks, Susan!

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