With a feather-light, 15-foot stride, an ex-racehorse named Feather jumps around hunter courses as silently as her name implies, but with the steely strength of a champion who will fight and win against all comers.
The six-year-old Thoroughbred mare, who had four races under the Jockey Club name She’s From Money, was just a “skinny, scrawny” racetrack reject about two-and-a-half years ago.
But in the hands of owner Scotty Sherman of Hunting Horn Farm in Maryland, and talented rider Jennifer Marshall, the mare who was rejected by others for less-than-spectacular looks, has been taking down the Warmblood competition, one after another, in the Mid-Atlantic hunter circuit.
She’s From Money
Show name: Feather
Sire: Love of Money
Dam: Alvinia, by Horatius
Foal date: Feb. 28, 2009“Last year she was champion in every show she went to, and we just missed the TAKE2 year-end championships for Thoroughbreds,” says Sherman, a well respected horsewoman who just rode Feather to a championship victory last Friday at the Swan Lake National A Show in Littlestown, Penn. “We got the 3-foot-3 championship, and all the Warmbloods were following” in our wake.
But the seasoned rider bears no grudge against Warmbloods. In fact, she was importing and riding the mellower European breed back before they caught on as the must-have horse in the show world.
But there’s something so incredibly special about taking a green, spindly little mare like Feather, and helping her find her inner fighter pilot, her precise A game style, she says.
“She came to me in her 3-coming 4-year-old year as a project for me to train. I got her from a dear friend, Lynn Richardson, who must have seen something in her from the start. And I loved her right away. Unlike most green and gawky horses, who don’t pay attention or are afraid, she was different,” Sherman says. “As soon as I started to jump her, she really put her mind to it. She immediately came into a frame as if she was telling me, ‘I can do this!’ ”
Silky smooth and with the power of a Ferrari, Sherman says Feather went up through her gears with the most subtle of cues—“All I had to do was sit down a little in the saddle and think canter.” —it wasn’t long before Feather was winning championships left and right; against Thoroughbreds, against Warmbloods, with her loping and slow, rhythmic and quiet maneuvers.
“She got her name because she’s so light when she moves that you don’t hear her coming until all of a sudden she’s coming over a jump,” Sherman says, adding, “You know how with most horses you here them hitting the ground at the canter? She doesn’t do that. She just floats.”
She floats right to the top!
Last year, Feather narrowly missed a first-place finish in Thoroughbred division, TAKE 2, which offers 140 classes for OTTB competitors. “We got started late last year, and just didn’t get to enough shows to earn the points,” she says. “But last year, unless she missed a lead change, she won every class she entered.”
And this year, Feather is aimed at Warmblood territory.
Following her win on Friday, Sherman says she is determined to show that Feather can go up against the Warmbloods and win.
“I’m going to show that Feather is smoother than most Warmbloods, but she’s just as slow and lopey as they are … I’m cutting edge here. I’m going out there” where few Warmbloods are competing. “And I’m going show them what a Thoroughbred mare can do!”