So quietly, the unassuming little chestnut with flaxen mane has inspired young children to ride, and older folks to grow misty. And given wings to many.
Q One For Two has taught youngsters, including the son of Barbaro’s trainer Michael Matz, and has carried his owner out foxhunting along with some of her friends; he’s made the hunter/jumper show rounds, packing all level of riders, and of late, has tried his luck at barrel racing.
“This horse has done things for people,” says his owner Kelly Conner. “His personality is just so kind and loving. He’s nurturing while he teaches.”
Thinking back on the post-race career of the flashy chestnut who her brother John Conner claimed in May 2005, Conner describes a horse who ground out 83 starts on the track, amassed more than $300,000 in earnings, and still let his hair down after the races.
Q One For Two
Sire: Lac Quimet
Dam: Vale Royale
Foal date: March 14, 1996
Earnings: $304,559, 83 starts“We trained him at Fair Hill Training Center, and after a race, rather than cold hose him, I’d hop on him bareback and ride him out to a stream he could stand in,” she says. “He just loved the country. And he loved that stream. Even now, he loves to go with the kids who ride him to a stream on our property and let it run through his legs.”
Q, as he is nicknamed, held tight to the hearts of the Conner family, and everyone who met him.
And after his last race was run, the siblings agreed to make a forever home for a horse who had become a part of their family.
“When I first moved to my farm in November 2008, Q was one of the first horses to move in,” she says. “My brother held him at the track until I could get it ready.”
Since then, the broad-shouldered gelding who looks like a Quarter Horse, has packed adults and children around at all levels.
“Q has taught 7 year olds to ride, and last summer, Michael Matz’s wife D.D., who’s a neighbor of mine, came to me and said she wanted to find a nice, really safe horse like Q for her son to ride,” she says. “I said to D.D. that he’ll never be for sale, but that she could take him on loan.”
And when he returned to Conner’s farm sometime later on a stormy day, all his young fans and friends who had been temporarily left behind, pestered their parents to bring them to the barn. One girl only asked to put him on the cross ties and brush him.
“Everybody gets so attached to Q. When I was a little kid, all we ever had were Thoroughbreds. When I got this farm, I put in five stalls, and I’ve got five Thoroughbreds in them,” Conner says. “It’s an honor and a privilege to have this horse until the day he dies.”