Angie Leihy rode horses a bit as a child in Ohio and moved to Maryland in 1986, but it wasn’t until after 2003 that her passion for horses really grew. She took riding lessons at Willowbend Farm (WB) in Upper Marlboro as her young daughter rode there for years on their equitation team in the NCEL.
Off-the-track thoroughbreds come in all shapes, sizes, and breeding. While you can breed a racehorse with all the best pedigree in the world, sometimes they just don’t want to race as was the case with this month’s nominee. We are excited to feature Starlite Event, or Star as she is known around the barn, in our OTTB Critique column.
From the moment Paige Ervin’s parents took her for a pony ride at Wheaton Park Stables when she was five, horses were all that she could think about. For Ervin, she was hooked right then and there. After she was enrolled in lessons at the Potomac Horse Center, her passion for horses was solidified.
Bred and owned by Thomas Bateman Jr., Brush Dance (Dance with Ravens x Phyxius) found his way into prominent racing trainer Timothy Keefe’s barn, which is where he stayed throughout his short-lived racing career. “He was a sweet, athletic horse but just didn’t have much interest for racing,” Keefe said.
For Todd Killalea, horses were not always a way of life. Growing up in San Diego, he spent most of his time on the water, fishing, surfing, and participating in any other water sport he could find. It wasn’t until later when his oldest daughter, Delaney, took a liking to horses at the age of three that he was introduced to the horse world.
OTTBs come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. While sometimes known for being younger, this month’s OTTB didn’t come off the track until the age of six after he made a whopping 41 starts. We are so excited to feature Noontime Badge in this month’s OTTB critique column.
This year’s volunteer of the month, Melissa Rundt, wasn’t always involved in the horse community. She didn’t grow up around horses or even ride as a child. It wasn’t until her son was diagnosed with a mild form of Tourette syndrome at 8 years of age that she decided to start him in therapeutic riding lessons to help with some of his symptoms.
When Lisa Chan started looking for another horse after she tragically lost her beloved off-the-track Thoroughbred, she immediately knew she wanted to look for another OTTB as her next horse. Her journey began at the track where she set a few guidelines for herself when it came to picking something out. “I wanted something smaller because I’m petite, and my barn owner said no mares,” Chan recalled.
Jessie Quinlan hasn’t always been involved in the eventing community. She grew up a typical horse-obsessed girl and was always asking her parents for riding lessons no matter what special occasion it was. Birthdays? Riding lessons. Christmas presents? Riding lessons. Any way Quinlan could find a way to get back on the horse as a little girl she would.
Some off-the-track Thoroughbreds are just made for eventing. Mallory Stiver’s Hugo Boss aka “Huey” has proven to be just that. Huey is a 9-year-old 17 hand off-the-track Thoroughbred who raced under the name Andrus. Stiver explained, “He had a short but fairly successful race career, accumulating a little over $5,000 before his owners retired him sound and happy.”
Every year thousands and thousands of people converge on the Kentucky Horse Park at the end of April to witness what is the biggest event every year in North America. The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event brings together people from all walks of life to experience Eventing at the highest level.