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].
Riders every day are looking for their next event partner and more and more of them are turning to off-the-track Thoroughbreds. Whether they are jumping around a Beginner Novice for the first time or preparing for an FEI event, the popularity of these special horses continues to grow. It's clear that as more and more horses retire from the track and transition to the eventing world, their disposition in the barn and characteristics of what makes them great racehorses also makes them a perfect fit in the eventing world.
Midnight Casanova. Photo courtesy of Colleen McLaughlin.
When some are retired, it is not for lack of promise on the track. Colleen McLaughlin’s Midnight Casanova (Pleasantly Perfect x Casanova Story) is an 8-year-old OTTB who was the 2012 Pegasus Thoroughbred Training Center’s 2-Year-Old and sold for $125,000. As a 3- and 4-year-old, he made a total of 10 starts and garnered four top-3 finishes and nearly $25,000 in prize money. After a less than stellar 4-year-old year however, he was retired and later made his way to McLaughlin, who then began to transition him into the eventing world. This month, Natalia Neneman takes a closer look at Midnight Casanova and analyzes why he may be a perfect fit for his second career as an event horse.
For Neneman, “the first think I look at is the eye and I really like this one’s expression. Genuine and kind are always a plus and this young horse looks to have both.” She really feels, “the most important thing is their attitude," and she feels just by looking at this photo that he has a very genuine expression and one she would trust. From there, Neneman evaluates the horse’s conformation and adds, “he’s put together quite well and has a nice big shoulder. I like the way the neck comes out of base of shoulder, and while it’s hard to tell by one photo, the horse looks nicely put together. You have to go with your gut and he looks very nice and sturdy.” Another impressive feature this horse possesses per Neneman is that, “it looks like he has decent feet, which are nice and in an OTTB is a huge plus.”
Midnight Casanova's pedigree.
Then Neneman looked closer at Midnight Casanova’s breeding. She immediately noticed, “He has Storm Cat in him and while that line is known to be a touch on the tricky side, they are also known to be very athletic.” She feels that, “if he has a good attitude and is workmanlike, it bodes well and I would be happy with that.” She also noticed that he does have an increased number of starts, 10, than some horses you would see being retired from the track however that does not bother her as well. “I don’t mind a horse with lots of starts and one that can prove soundness as long as you do your homework and make sure there are no major injuries” explained Neneman.
Midnight Casanova in competition. Andrea Kaus Photo courtesy of Colleen McLaughlin.
Lastly, while it is important to look at their build and history, Neneman adds that, “I love an OTTB because for me, there is not a breed that tries harder or has more athleticism than they have. There is nothing better than a good OTTB.” Sometimes it is not as easy to discern if an OTTB will take well to his new career from a photo, and although Neneman believes a photo really is worth 1,000 words she always recommends you look at the horse in person as sometimes that one photo does not tell the whole story. She concluded, “these horses are truly special and I feel Midnight Casanova looks to have all the physical makings to be very successful in his new career.”
Natalia Neneman owns and operates Natalia Neneman Eventing in Ocala, Florida. She has ridden and trained multiple OTTBs in their new careers in the event world in addition to showing at the Retired Racehorse project with great success.
The scoreboard was kept working at full tilt on cross-country today at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International as 24 of the 41 CCI4*-L starters picked up some sort of jump penalty on Derek di Grazia’s course. The leader position changed several times throughout the afternoon as 15 penalties were handed out by the ground jury, but Waylon Roberts and Lancaster kept their slate clean to take over the top spot.
Derek di Grazia’s cross-country courses at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International is the setting for all the action today in Elkton, Md. Here is what you need to know to follow along:
With 70 percent of the scores coming from the second day of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships, the 4- and 5-year-olds had a big moment in front of them to impress the judges Chris Ryan and Sally Ike. The horses were judged over a set of show jumps (15 percent) then moved directly into the cross-country portion (30 percent) before finally showing off their gallop and earning an overall score for their jumping (15 percent) and general impression (10 percent).
At the end of a busy day wrapping up the dressage phase of The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day (FHI), two new riders took over the top of the leaderboards. Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville Z moved into first in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship with their 28.6, while Alexa Gartenberg and Louis M claimed the pinnacle position in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship on a 25.9.