In this series, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to critique your off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) eventing prospects. Professional riders and trainers will share their insights into each OTTB's pedigree, racing history, and conformation. Would you like to have your off-the-track Thoroughbred featured in the next edition of OTTB Critique presented by Athletux? We are looking for our next horse! Email your tips to [email protected].
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.” Stiver then adopted Huey as a 3-year-old a month after he last raced from the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program, a hot spot for many future eventing stars.
There are programs like this in almost every state. Their main goal is to rehome OTTBs to loving homes and follow their progress as they excel in their new careers. If you’re looking for an OTTB, these various associations and nonprofits are where you should start looking.
Together, Stiver and Huey have gone up through levels competing at the CCI2-L and Intermediate level. When Stiver talks about Huey, she has nothing but pride and excitement for the potential he exudes and the boldness he shows on a daily basis. Stiver detailed, “I have lots of goals for his future and believe with his heart that he can go all the way up the levels. Cross-country is definitely his favorite phase. He is very bold and honest, and loves to do his job.”
However, it isn’t just about how amazing Huey is under saddle for Stiver. She added, “My favorite part about him is his quiet demeanor, kind eyes, and his amazing feet, especially for a Thoroughbred. He very rarely pulls shoes and has never had an abscess, knock on wood!” Stiver knows she has a star on her hands in Huey and she is thrilled to have him featured in this month’s OTTB Critique column.
This month we are excited to welcome Natalia Neneman to critique this special OTTB. Neneman is no stranger to OTTBs. She has ridden up through the upper echelon of the sport on OTTBs she has brought up the levels herself and recently won the fox hunting class at the Retired Racehorse Project's Thoroughbred Makeover. She knows what it takes to succeed in the sport and has an unbelievable eye, spotting diamonds in the rough from across the track.
First, Neneman commented on how pleasant, gentle, and genuine Huey looks. Moving on to his conformation, Neneman pointed out, “He has a nice big shoulder and, although he looks to be a touch short coupled, it can be hard to tell from a photo.” She also added that he “looks to be uphill and has a kind eye as well, something I look for in every horse.” His conformation already points to the horse being perfectly suited for his new career.
Then, Neneman moves through her checklist and moves on to his under saddle photos. Right from the beginning, she noticed, “It really looks like he enjoys his job and he always has his ears up!” Neneman also really appreciated the effort Huey makes over the fences and his expression under saddle as well. “He looks to have all the scope in the world and his jump will allow him to excel in the sport because of the way he uses his body and strength in a way that is economical and efficient,” she explained. “You can try to teach a horse how to jump like this but it definitely helps when from the moment you bring them off the track they know exactly where to put their legs. This horse looks to be a super jumper,” she further added.
Overall, Neneman has a great feeling about this pair as she feels he has all the makings of the OTTBs that succeed at the highest levels of the sport. His positive conformation traits combined with his athletic ability and scope all point to a long and successful eventing career. There is nothing Neneman loves more than watching an OTTB blossom and she feels so much pride knowing others are appreciating them just as much as she does. This horse is a perfect example of the classic OTTB and she wishes Stiver all the best with her talented partner!
A combination that can be found on almost every cross-country course starting at the Novice level is the coffin combination. As the levels go up, so does the difficulty of the coffin question. The distances become shorter, coffins become bigger, and the terrain becomes steeper - even the name itself sounds intimidating.
The dressage test is the first of the three phases in eventing. Intended to demonstrate "the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse," the dressage test contains a prescribed list of movements to be carried out in front of a judge, or judges, and which is then given a penalty score that horse and rider carry through to the end of the competition.
On Sunday, June 16, Molly Sullivan and Kate Swain were named the two winners of the Charles Owen Technical Merit award for Area IX at Golden Spike Horse Trials.
Tim Price (NZL) won the Longines CCI5*-L with Ascona M in a nail-biting finish. He jumped clear, but didn’t quite make the time allowed; however, he had a cushion with Alex Bragg (GBR) and Zagreb dropping a pole.