About five years ago, my son got bitten by the horse bug. After watching a few of his lessons, I got on a horse for the first time in my life. Horses very quickly became a full blown obsession for us both, albeit severely limited by lack of budget (and my lack of athletic ability).
I always said that someday the right horse would find me, and very recently one did. Frankie (pictured above on our post lesson walk) is a Thoroughbred who retired from his big show career when his rider went off to college. He’s loving, honest, unflappable, and he still loves to jump. Riding is a dangerous sport and I can’t even describe what a blessing an older, experienced horse is for a novice adult rider like me. He’s taught me so much in such a short time.
The legendary trainer George Morris has said,
Somehow, we have to get back to the horses we have in this country. There are tens of thousands of horses out there. There are Gem Twists out there. The American Thoroughbred is the best sport horse in the world. I had two very early European mentors, Otto Heuckeroth at Ox Ridge, who was a great horseman, and Bertalan de Némethy. Both of those Europeans told me repeatedly, ‘George, the best horses in the world are these American Thoroughbred horses.’ I would like somehow in the next 25 years to see some people with deep pockets get back in that direction and utilize this internal resource.
I started out at a barn with a very large school horse program where I got to ride all kinds of horses: Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods, Quarter Horses, Drafts, and Mustangs. No one works harder for you than a Thoroughbred. A Thoroughbred will give you everything and then he will give you his heart.
It’s a national tragedy that these very deserving horses have such uncertain futures once their racing careers have ended. Organizations like CANTER find new homes for retired racehorses. Many have gone on to successful show careers.