Where to begin?? 2013 was a great year for us. I wanted to update everyone as we look ahead to 2014, as I am absolutely stoked for the future for the Team CEO Eventing horses!
After losing my beloved Grasshopper in 2012 and selling my advanced horse Widespread Panic to help fund our indoor project, it was time to recreate a new, young string of horses for the future. To be completely honest, Grasshopper’s heart issue was a result of his lifestyle before I had him and his hardship at the track and as a rescue, so I stayed away from OTTB’s as much as I could because my own heart simply couldn’t handle it. So when I filled my string with new young prospects, I stuck 100% to warmbloods to stay as far away from that situation as possible.
You know they say life is a learning curve, and a steep one at that. I was so lucky to find some very nice young horses, but in the end nothing that really made my heart happy, other than my one OTTB, Promisemethemoon. The warmbloods were all STUNNING, but at the end of the day they just aren’t my kind of ride. I’ve always preferred a hot, sensitive horse who needed my reassurance. Live and learn… Each warmblood purchased in 2012 was sold this year to a wonderful new owner for each, where they will be absolutely thrilled and be a horse of a lifetime for someone. But you have to know what works for YOU. I’ve always said every horse is an individual and needs a different thing from its rider, but this year I learned that ever rider needs something different from their horse. Life lesson learned.
I worked and slaved and met some amazing folks in 2013, and through it all managed to sell dozens and dozens of horses for myself and other people. I sold every single horse in my string except Promisemethemoon, and decided one more time to reinvent the wheel and recreate my string. But this time I would listen to what works for me… After all, 80% of my upper level horses thus far in my career have been thoroughbreds. It was time to go back to basics and infuse some blood into my program again. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the string of Team CEO’s event horses for 2014!
Promisemethemoon: 6yo 16h OTTB by Malibu Moon, bred by Judy Miller of KY and purchased through the Makers Mark Secretariat Center. Thanks to the help of the incredible ladies at the Secretariat Center, Moon fell into my lap shortly after losing Grasshopper. Moon is a very similar horse to Hopper, and I absolutely fell in love. He is intelligent, brave, quirky, hot as hell, and doesn’t take instruction well. He is the least favorite horse for the girls who work for me, as he never ceases to cause trouble or pick on them. But he is my favorite! I just love this little feisty red powerhouse… Every person I have ever had a lesson on him with has been completely unimpressed by him–I’ll admit it, as a young horse he was so hot he bordered on crazy sometimes. But I always believed in him and we have a phenomenal partnership. In his year since his purchase, he progressed from BN to Preliminary, jumping around a couple of very big Prelim tracks this summer. I finished the course at Cobblestone with tears in my eyes, for I finally had a horse again. He was absolutely magical out there–jumped around a HUGE track and just got better with every fence. The harder it got, the better he got. He is truly a special horse for the future. He came off the track with some maintenance issues, and those issues have us on a little vacation this fall… But I’m confident we can do everything to make him ready to go again, and I can’t wait for the next time I get to leave the startbox on my little red Ferrari again. Okay, maybe more like a Ferrari without power steering or brakes? 😉
Loguestown Lass: 5yo 16h black ISH, by Loguestown Blues Man, bred by Erin Hurd-Schafer in Michigan. More than a decade ago, I rode a crazy black mare to a ribbon at NAYRC… She was my first upper level horse, she was incredible, but she was an absolute lunatic. I’ve shied away from mares ever since. So when I met Lola at Katie Ruppel’s farm in Florida last winter, I’m not sure if the subconscious similarities clicked or not? Maybe Lola will be my only mare for the next ten years, haha. Regardless, she is half thoroughbred but rides like she is 200% thoroughbred. Lola is as hot as a horse can physically be, with endless jump and gallop and more talent in her left ear than some horses have in their whole bodies. I love her though. *IF* I can ever get across to her, she is going to be a big time horse. IF. She evented novice a bit this season, but the problem is that novice is an absolute joke to her, but I will not let her go training until she lets me drive the ship. That may take years, who knows? So this incredible talented but looney youngster spent the fall and winter going back to basics and installing some control. I’m not sure when she will make it back to the competition scene… Maybe in the spring, maybe it will take years. Regardless, I love my crazy little black mare. We will take our time until she settles a bit (or a lot!). Once she does, she will be spectacular. The theme for Lola is definitely PATIENCE.
Master Mind: 5yo 17.1h bay ISH G by Kings Master (Master Imp). Are you noticing a theme here—I like difficult horses? Well if you are, here is difficult pony #3. I’ve always heard the Master Imps are tough but insanely talented horses, and hilariously enough every stereotype rings completely true in Guinness. When I saw Guinness in Ireland, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He is a horse that has a presence about him… I only rode him for about 10 minutes because I just knew he was special, and my kind of ride. He is 3/4 TB and hot and sensitive and delicate minded. My favorite! (By this point you have to think I’m insane, but that’s okay.) His trainer in Ireland was kind enough to give me a heads up–“He’s a big baby, he can be a fool, but mind him and he will be special.” Guinness proceeded to spend his first few days in America setting both Andrea and I in the sand, and then jumping out of his paddock. But we are starting to develop a bond now. This will be a horse that I HAVE to create a relationship with, because like Hopper, I think if he likes you he will do anything for you, but if he doesn’t like you, you had better run for cover!! Thank goodness he is a HUGE fan of american horse cookies as well as his 4yo buddy Puck, two strategies we intend to use to help tame the huge, wild Irish princess! (And yes, he is a gelding.)
Quick Silver: 4yo 16h gray ISH G by Fast Silver. From the moment I saw Puck in Ireland, I loved him. Something about those black eyes behind those white eyelashes just spoke to me. The moment I saw him, I whispered to Andrea: “He is coming home with us!” I’ve never been a sucker for grays (so much cleaning!) so it wasn’t that… But there was something about the arrogance and mischievousness about this horse that I loved. Oh, and the fact that his canter is simply Heaven. Thanks to a wonderful seller, I happened to end up seeing him three times in Ireland–twice to ride him and once at his vetting, far more than any other horse. I just loved how he carried himself. I sent videos home to my father and Dr Newton, both who replied “I like the bay horse! The gray, he’s okay.” And Andrea agreed. But me? I LOVED the little white pony of a horse. And he has not disappointed. I have ridden him a few times stateside and he is a white version of Moon. Though the mischievousness came true, and we’ve spent some great bonding time icing/wrapping/medicating when he decided to wear his hay net as a bracelet. Note to self—this one gets into EVERYTHING. He promptly earned several stall toy presents from Santa. Oh, and stall rest is NOT his thing apparently.
Elevate: 3yo 16.1h bay OTTB G. And after it all, it’s time to go back to the OTTB roots. I was NOT looking for another horse when an old friend said, “I found something special.” Well crap. We immediately hooked up the trailer and off we went, secretly hoping my well respected, highly knowledgeable friend was wrong. (Oh yeah?) Well, she wasn’t. Arrow was spectacular… Straight off the track, big and stunning looking, and exactly my type. I brought him home for the vetting and the vet said, “This is one of the best looking OTTB’s I’ve seen in years. Wanna sell him to me?” Haha, no thanks. So Arrow has been enjoying the fall and winter out in a big grass field with a couple of buddies, chilling and waiting for the spring when we get to see what he is made of!
Levitate: 4yo 16.1h bay TB G from Second Stride OTTB adoptions, by Hard Spun. So this will sound like a broken record, but…. We were out shopping for horses for clients (and buying several) when I met this guy and fell in love… I was NOT shopping for myself, but my very knowledgeable dad always tells me you can never find a good track horse when you are looking for one, but always find them when you are not looking. So you shouldn’t pass them by when the opportunity comes up. I mean, I was going back with the trailer anyway, so what did it hurt? 😉 This guy has since been gelded and turned out with Elevate so they can chill and be horses this winter… I think it is SO important for their minds and bodies as babies after racing. I’ll bring him in this spring and see what he is made of, but so far he seems to be a carbon copy of Elevate, hence their matching names. Maybe we’ll have a matched set this spring!
So there is our roster of 4, 5, and 6 year olds. Needless to say, it’s going to be a very green year! This year will be all about investing time in the most talented group of youngsters I’ve ever had, not pushing for ribbons but finding great mileage and education for each. It’s time to build a foundation for the future. I’m so excited to spend the winter at home developing a partnership with each of these exceptional kiddos. So bring on 2014…. Beginner Novice here I come!!