Misquote proves them wrong, not a mistake

Misquote couldn't put a foot right on the racetrack, and was often referred to as "Mistake."

Misquote couldn’t put a foot right on the racetrack, and was often referred to as “Mistake.”

On the Canadian track where the little bay racehorse tried his best for those who wished he would win, he rarely put a foot right.

It didn’t take long before folks around the Ft. Erie track began to joke about his performance, and turned his Jockey Club name, Misquote, into a derisive nickname, “Mistake.”

In 32 starts, he crossed the finish line only once as a winner. And, in just two others, hit the board with a second or third-place showing.

Race name: Misquote
New name: Simply Ben
Sire: Opening Verse
Dam: Misdoings
Foal date: 1997
It wasn’t until he had been retired from racing, and left to grow his hair long, that someone with a fine eye for good horses looked beyond the rough appearance of a thin, shaggy Thoroughbred and saw his hidden beauty.

“My heart sort of went out to him when I saw him,” says well-respected Canadian coach Linda Hauck. “He was so thin his hips jutted out, and his coat was long and shaggy.”

She hesitated. Although he looked too thin to ride, he possessed such a kind eye that she decided to see how he moved.

Misquote became a very competitive Eventer under Daelin Verkind.

Misquote became a very competitive Eventer under Daelin Verkind.

Turning him loose in the indoor arena where he was stabled, she was immediately bowled over. No missteps here. In fact, he floated through his gaits with such an over-step, that, in movement, he looked truly graceful.

And when he hopped a cross rail with his knees folded into the perfect show-jumping position, Hauck decided to hop on his back for a test ride.

“He was amazing, even in the condition he was in! He didn’t pin his ears, but instead, they went forward, and it seemed as though he said to me, ‘OK, what do you want me to do for you?’ ”

That initial impression, followed by a clean bill of health from a veterinarian, was all Hauck needed.

She “overpaid” for him, writing a check for $2,500.

And, in February 2003, she took home a horse that would quickly prove to be the diamond in the rough she had imagined.

A horse who can "jump like a cat" and was calm enough to be grazed by a 5-year-old girl.

A horse who can “jump like a cat” and was calm enough to be grazed by a 5-year-old girl.

For three months, she worked with him on his fitness and skills. Starting with short, 10-minute walks, they built on their riding foundations. Feeding him hay around the clock, along with a compliment of vitamin/mineral supplements, he became rounder and stronger.  And finally emerged as a fat, shiny, willing mount so trustworthy that Hauck allowed her top junior rider Daelin Verkind, to school him.

“The whole time I was quietly bringing him along, Daelin was looking to buy her own horse. I’d be jumping him over anything—at one point I was using a Christmas tree as filler for an oxer and he didn’t bat an eye— and meanwhile, two prospective horses for Daelin failed the vetting.”

Not wanting to seem too pushy, Hauck finally couldn’t contain herself. She asked the obvious question: What did Daelin think of her trusty schooling mount now named Ben?

“She told me she’d always loved Ben, so I told her he was for sale.”

After which, Hauck sold Ben to her student, with a promise that Ben was “going somewhere.” And off they went!

They successfully competed across Ontario, at Bromont, Midsouth and Stuart horse trials up to the CCI One star level. Ben was twice named top Thoroughbred in Training and Preliminary Eventing in Ontario.

“The two of them gave me the biggest thrill!” Hauck says. “People called him “Mistake” because they thought he couldn’t do anything right. But, that horse could jump like a cat, but he was safe to hack, and so calm that five-year-old daughter could graze him … he was no mistake!” — This story was originally published on April 6, 2012. 

T-bred logoPlease consider stopping by the blog’s store, Off-Track Products. Proceeds will sustain the blog in the future, and go to charity.

10 responses to “Misquote proves them wrong, not a mistake”

  1. Judith Ochs

    Once again – a TB shows that you breed thoroughbreds for their qualities – not the specific job you choose for them! In this case – it took a long while for someone to look at him objectively and see what he not only could do – but wanted to do. Beautiful jumping form in the photos!!

  2. Jon

    They are not all race horses. But they are all athletes that have talent. I like this ones talent.

  3. Christina

    Yes, thanks, Susan, for bringing us these wonderful stories! As noted in your comment above, I’ve also longed my entire life to own a horse…and for the past year and a half, we did; my daughter had an OTTB. Goals change, however, and so our OTTB went off to live with another family and pursue a different career. She’s currently doing a half-lease of a different horse, and I’m back to daydreaming about having a horse again someday 🙂 In the meantime I will live vicariously through the inspiring stories on your blog! Kudos to all these horsepeople who see the potential in all these horses.

  4. LL

    No wonder he couldn’t win races if he was that thin on the track. He probably wasn’t getting the proper nutrition. How terrific it is to see a horse blossom like that. I couldn’t believe those pictures that he actually made it over the jumps. Wow!

    1. Linda Hauck

      LL in all fairness I saw Ben in a February and he had come off the track the previous August. I don’t know what shape he was in then – TB’s can lose their weight so quickly if not fed right…

  5. Michelle Y.

    I also love reading your blog Susan!!

    Ben is a beautiful horse and I’m so glad he found his calling! It’s so wonderful when they can blossom in another discipline like he did!

  6. Callie1983

    Thank you Susan for bringing us another great story of one of our thousands of Off Track Thoroughbreds! I, for one, can not get enough of these stories because I do believe the Publicity you bring to these horses actually saves them from a bad end.

    Kudos to you and the ‘horse who can jump like a cat’!!!

Leave a Reply