Dancing with 2nd dream horse in Kentucky

Wendy Wooley and her new OTTB Dancing Commander take a walk after a bath at the Kentucky Horse Park. Photo by Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photo

Wendy Wooley and her new OTTB Dancing Commander take a walk after a bath at the Kentucky Horse Park. Photo by Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

After years spent trying to fill the void left by the death of her dream horse, Jaguar Hope, Kentucky photojournalist and equestrian Wendy Wooley floated on air as she watched her newest Thoroughbred rise to the top of the Thoroughbred Makeover Show.

Four-year-old chestnut gelding Dancing Commander gave Wooley a thrill of a lifetime this past weekend as she watched him glide across the dressage ring at the Retired Racehorse Project’s massive show at the Kentucky Horse Park. A witness to the naturally stretchy trots and canter sets the young animal performed with skilled equestrian Emily Brollier-Curtis, Wooley’s face broke into a proud smile.

Dancing Commander
Barn name: Winston
Sire: Mr. Trieste
Dam: Dancing Darling, by Mutakddim
Foal date: April 4, 2012
Dancing Commander earned a 3rd place ribbon against stiff competition and roughly 60 retrained OTTBs. But even more significantly, he proved to be the dream horse she’s been searching for since her flashy dark gelding Jaguar Hope died in 2009. (Please see earlier story).

“This guy kind of reminds me of Jag in that he loves to work. He can have chaos all around him, and he’ll just put his nose down and go to work,” says Wooley, of EquiSport Photos. “He’s a fancy mover who naturally carries himself like a dressage horse. We’re not forcing him to do anything. He just walks into the ring, puffs himself up and says, ‘Watch me everyone!’ He has the high knee-action at the trot and the movements like he was born to do dressage.”

Dancing Commander frames up naturally for dressage as he works with rider and coach Emily Brollier-Curtis. Photo by Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

Dancing Commander frames up naturally for dressage as he works with rider and coach Emily Brollier-Curtis. Photo by Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos

Wooley purchased Dancing Commander earlier this year from her coach Brollier-Curtis after bonding with the animal. The petite ex-racehorse was placed with Brollier-Curtis for retraining in January, and soon after, Wooley befriended the animal. “He was just so sweet and followed us around like a puppy,” she says. “He’s honest as the day is long, and he hasn’t put a foot wrong since Emily started training him.”

Wooley and her husband Matt Wooley decided to purchase the horse after Wooley discovered in the young horse an animal who could build up her confidence as a rider. Though she has two other OTTBs that she loves and rides, both require a more defensive style in the saddle. But Dancing Commander, so much like Jaguar Hope years ago, is an easy and fun ride.

Thrilled with his performance in Training Level dressage, Wooley’s plan now is to have a riding partner for life, a horse “to grow old with” while learning the beautiful dance of Dressage.

5 responses to “Dancing with 2nd dream horse in Kentucky”

  1. Jeanne

    Makes me smile

  2. Elizabeth

    I’m so jealous! What a lovely horse! So calm and willing for a youngster, smooth transitions and wonderful stretchy work, so much potential. Wendy is right to be proud of him! Sad to think that at just 4 years old he has already had a first career that must have put a strain on his growing back and joints but so good to know that he has found the right place to be and a loving home for life. I know he will be that new special horse for you Wendy.

  3. Glenys McNally

    Lovely.

  4. Mary McLeod

    I have found you can’t fill that empty spot left in your heart when a dear one crosses over. Rather, you find a new place in your heart for another dear one. The two of you make a stunning team, Wendy. Bon chance, Mary in Boone

    1. Wendy

      So true Mary! The work ethic is about all that Winston and Jag have in common. They are so different otherwise but both of them love/need to have a purpose and I love to give them one! Jag will always be extra special… On the other hand I can’t wait to start showing Winston myself this coming year. First Level and starting to get the scores we need for our Bronze medal – here we come!!

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