Blaine’s Storm caught a ride to his post-racing career as a tagalong.
The strikingly handsome bay gelding, who’d knocked in 73 races and earned just north of $100,000, wasn’t even on the radar screen when Becky Thayer pulled up in her trailer two years ago to adopt a different horse from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s South Carolina facility.
But when she learned the mare Be Distinct had a deep attachment to Blaine’s Storm, and suffered separation anxiety when he wasn’t near, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Okay, throw him on the trailer too. We have 100 acres and plenty of room for one more.”
And simple as that, Blaine’s Storm was soon bombing along the road alongside his girlfriend. He took a four-mile trip from the Waterree River Correctional Institution, where he’d helped teach inmates horsemanship skills through the TRF’s Second Chances program, to a private barn, where a young man would soon take his measure and see in him everything he ever wanted in a show horse.
Sire: Stormy Atlantic
Dam: Bonnat Ehrie, by Clever Trick
Foal date: Feb. 23, 2001
Earnings: $103,034 in 73 startsJacob Crotts, a summer exercise rider for legendary racehorse trainer Michael Matz, and aspiring veterinarian, spotted Blaine’s Storm the minute he arrived.
“He immediately caught my attention,” Crotts says. “He was very, very well put together conformation-wise. I saw he had a great shoulder, neck and head and when I found out he’d raced 73 times, I couldn’t believe it because his legs were in such good shape.”
Guessing the handsome gelding hadn’t had a saddle on his back since 2008, when he last raced at Suffolk Downs in Boston, Crotts decided there was no time like the present—and he went for it. “I saddled him up, and he was fantastic,” he says.
Soon after that first meeting in 2013, Crotts adopted the 15.3-hand Thoroughbred, and began foxhunting and showing him with great success.
In 2014, the pair won the green hunter division at the Camden Hunter Trials—it was a “favorite moment” for Crotts, who personally trained the gelding
to jump. “He really impressed me with his jumping, right from the start,” he says. “He’s very scopey and very smart about the jumps.”
And on the fox-hunting field, he has proven to be a brave and happy warrior.
“Once he figured out that his job was to fly through the woods and jump, he loved it,” Crotts says, adding that he was “shocked” that a horse who caught a ride from the TRF, almost as an afterthought, would be the perfect match for him.
“He just came out of nowhere,” he says, “and I showed up when he needed someone. It was perfect timing.”