A pretty white snowball of a horse drifted from home to home until about a month ago when he landed softly in the hands of a 13-year-old boy.
Scattering Breezes had been in some fine hands along the way, but when young Austin hopped on his back and trotted, then cantered near the fence line of the gelding’s Salem, Va., paddock, the perfect fit of horse and young man was evident. And strangers though they were, the connection was instant, they got along famously.
Race name: Scattering Breezes
Sire: Concordes Tune
Dam: Buck N Cavalry
Foal date: March 8, 1999“We went to see him right before Labor Day, and he was such a mellow horse that when I asked my son if he felt comfortable cantering him, he said sure, and cantered him up and down,” Heather Skeens says. After the ride, Austin rode in a four-wheeler with his mother back to the barn, the horse walking beside them.
They took the 15-year-old gelding home, gave him iodine baths to clear up some rain rot, fattened him up on some good feed, and took him to his first hunter show. Even plumper on high-octane food, the gelding they nicknamed Joey was a perfect gentleman.
“We took him to this show the weekend after we purchased him. It was really blustery that day, and he didn’t look at anything, or spook,” she says. “He showed in a hunter hack class and he was great. He looked at a few jumps, but I was amazed he was so good on such a windy day.”
Joey won the family over pretty quickly with his gentle ways, and by the end of the 30-day tryout, Skeens purchased him for her son.
“Joey’s so kind to Austin. My son can enjoy him like a kid can. He takes him out to the woods and gallops him and I don’t worry,” she says.
Skeens did have a momentary pause however, when she happened upon an older article in Off Track Thoroughbreds, in which his owner at the time described her early difficulties with Joey.
Alisa Gusterer, one of Joey’s previous owners, had corrected issues of mounting block spooking and bucking, by introducing natural horsemanship techniques. But after a fluke accident in July 2013, her mother encouraged her to sell the horse and buckle down on her college studies.
She sold Joey to very some experienced riders who used him for a trail horse for beginners, Gusterer says.
To look at Joey and his new owner today, those trials and early difficulties appear far in his past.
“He’s an unusual horse,” Skeens says. “I was shocked when I read the article, because the horse he is today is so different. He’s so gentle with him. I looked out at them the other day, and Austin was turned around backwards on him, and just lying on him.”
Future plans are to compete him this weekend at the Penmeryl Horse Trials in Greenville, Va., and to let the road carry them where it may. ♦
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10 responses to “A white horse and boy gallop on, a new chapter”
Thank you so much for the kind words and well wishes everyone. We feel very lucky, indeed.
Congratulations! So, glad that your son & Joey got along from the start! This story is how it happens for many Thoroughbreds and OTTB”s! Glad your family has bought an OTTB; there are so many needing homes! I believe they make great partners for our youth in the whole wide world! You have joined the ranks of many who have owned & ridden a TB or OTTB! And, I hope that Joey & your son can be another~ ‘youth team’ who goes on to be successful in all his riding disciplines with his OTTB and to help get more recognition for Thoroughbreds & OTTB’s! Not all TB’s ever make it to the track; to get the tatoo that they need to be in the OTTB horse shows that are popping up more all over our world! I send much love & ‘positive energy’ to them & your family! Please keep a great scrapbook of photos’ and memorabila along their journey.. your on your way now! Love, Rebecca Hill ;)))))
This is a wonderful story! us begin in the racehorse business I love to hear storys on how TB go on after the track my sons group place our 1st exp with a TB to someone who is training him in hunter jumper too he just wasnt cutting it as a race horse! Good luck and Enjoy joey you look like you have belonged together forever!
Beautiful pair; Nice form on the young rider and Joey looks pretty darn good, too. You should share this with Denny Emerson; it would ‘warm his heart’.
What a wonderful story!! I hope Joey and Austin have many years together!!
He just needed to find his person.
Nothing like a good kid to bring out the best in a horse. I LOVE this.
Congratulations to Austin, Joey and the whole Skeens family!
I am happi for you