A bold, bay Thoroughbred who cut an impressive figure on the Virginia foxhunting scene took home the first TRF Second Chances Challenge Trophy last weekend at the Piedmont Fox Hounds Hunter Trials.
The elegant OTTB General Skye, 11, and his owner/rider Brian Jarvis were judged to be the most impressive Thoroughbred team moving across the spectacular grounds in view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, says Elizabeth Beer, development officer of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
Sire: General Royal
Dam: Signorita Cielo, by Conquistador Cielo
Foal date: March 10, 2005“He was by far the most outstanding Thoroughbred competing that day,” says Beer, noting that the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation offers the trophy in recognition of the foxhunting talent of ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds. “This award helps demonstrate that the Thoroughbred is one of the best foxhunting breeds.”
Owner/rider Brian Jarvis acquired the 16.3-hand gelding with four white stockings seven years ago from Zohar Ben-Dov of Kinross Farm, whom he credits for allowing the gelding to leave the premises to pursue a chance at a second career. “Zohar is the reason I have General, and he was willing to let me buy him for a more than reasonable price, so he gets all the credit.”
Jarvis first spotted General at a steeplechase race in Charlottesville, and was immediately smitten. “He’s a big horse, with a white stripe, four white stockings, and incredibly impressive to watch in the paddock,” he says. “I just liked his eye. He looked like he could be a really cool dude.”
After making his interest clear to General’s past trainer Neil Morris, Jarvis was able to obtain the horse soon after and introduce him to foxhunting.
On their first ride, General proved to be every inch the worthy teammate. With a good head on his shoulders, he rode confidently through the woods and fields, never racing or dragging Jarvis along. “He really enjoys it,” he says. “And he’s very quiet with the hounds.”
And best of all, General has never met a jump or a fence he can’t trot, he adds.
After a particularly good ride at Piedmont last weekend, Jarvis says he was taken aback to learn the pair had the distinction of winning the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances Challenge Trophy.
“My first thought when I found out was how truly proud I was of General, and how happy I was for him that he performed so well in front of so many people, and among so many talented horses,” Jarvis says. “I’m biased, but General is really one of the best ones out there. And he’s one of the best Thoroughbreds I’ve owned.”