Oh, dear... I am sorry I've been absent from the blogging scene. I have been expending a lot of creative energy over on my Millcreek Spreaders Facebook Page (hope you'll pay it a visit!), so this poor blog has fallen by the wayside. However, I am ready to get back to telling you about my trip to Kentucky in April.
The first event I attended, held the Friday night I arrived, was "Thoroughbreds For All." Sponsored by New Vocations Racehorse Adoption, this featured evaluations both in-hand and under saddle of some of their current horses by internationally-renowned 4* eventer Philip Dutton, former top jockey Chris McCarron, a Lexington veterinarian and an eventing trainer. I drove (at a rapid rate; I always seem to wind up having to jet around Lexington because I spend too much time yapping with the friend I stay with) to the farm and thankfully my phone GPS got me there in good order, because as usual it was down a winding country road and very easily missable. This is the second year the event has been held and they had a huge turnout of people!
Here's the view down the barn aisle. Of course I made a beeline to see the horses, even foregoing the tasty-looking buffet until after they had been inspected:
After I'd visited with the barn inhabitants, I had the pleasure of meeting up with none other than Stacy K., author of the Behind the Bit blog. I've been reading there for at least three years and was quite excited to hang out with her in person! It's not often that I get to attend events like this with a fellow equine enthusiast who really knows what's going on. We enjoyed the dinner buffet and settled in on the bleachers in the arena.
The first demo was Chris McCarron riding a TB fairly new to the NV program. This horse was being extremely looky-loo, I'm sure because a crowd on bleachers did not normally accompany his lessons. No doubt he fancied himself right back in the paddock at the track. Chris unsurprisingly dealt with him quite admirably, though Stacey and I agreed that neither one of us would want to ride a recently off-track TB in similar conditions.
This one had a perfectly stunning head:
Here are some pretty poor photos of the horses being worked:
Mr. Chestnut Arabian Head turned out to be a nice boy. He had a good trot and an iffy canter the judges said would improve with work, but he had no qualms about hopping over the jumps. A little bay mare whom the judges had been lukewarm about in-hand also did a great job, jumping in good form, and if I recall correctly actually wound up getting the best assessment overall for sporthorse potential. She was pretty nondescript-looking but again, you can't judge a book by its cover, especially a horse!
All in all this was a terrific event. I came away feeling like I had a much better handle on how to evaluate a TB for H/J/eventing potential (should I ever have the need, and let's hope I do). If you have the opportunity I highly recommend attending!
P.S. Regarding English Major: Sometime last month NV officially offered him for adoption on their website. He went quickly... color me unsurprised, if sad that he wasn't coming home with me. :-) Here's their cover photo of him - is it any wonder someone snapped him up?