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!
For those that compete in a Hylofit USEA Classic Series Three-Day Event, what truly sets the competition apart from a regular horse trials is endurance day, where, in addition to cross-country, riders have the chance to experience the two roads and tracks phases and the steeplechase phase.
“We need to back up and look at the gut,” said Dr. Maureen Kelleher before diving into an explanation of the many different oral joint supplements on the market. “Digestion begins in the mouth. Salivary secretion starts to break things down as the horse chews things up and then swallows, and it ends up in the stomach. We’ve got more digestion occurring in the stomach and the small intestine, and absorption starts to occur in the small intestine and continues in the large intestine.”
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event (FHI) will host the U.S. Equestrian CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Fall Eventing Championships along with the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships presented by Dubarry, October 17-20 at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area. The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International will award $50,000 in prize money.