In this series, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to critique your off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) eventing prospects.
Oftentimes off-the-track Thoroughbreds come from impressive pedigrees. However, even if bred and trained by the best, every Thoroughbred isn’t always suited for racing. This month’s nominee is no different. Pedregal was born on April 7, 2013 in Kentucky at WinStar Farm. He is out of Malibu Moon and by Empire Maker, both of whom have very impressive bloodlines. In September of 2014, he was sold at the Keeneland yearling sale to Mainline Stables for $35,000. With Jorge Vargas Jr. in the irons, “Pedro” brought in a majority of his $47,910 earnings in 2016. He also secured both of his wins during 2016 but after a less than stellar record in four starts in 2017, it was decided his ideal career may not be in racing.
It was then that he found his way into Rebecca Barber’s barn. Now co-owned by Barber and Richard and Debbie Rodriguez, he has flourished in his new life. He made a quick and smooth transition into his life as an event horse which included a sixth-place finish at his first and only Beginner Novice at the Loudon Hunt Pony Club Horse Trials in June. Why his only? Because he quickly moved up and took it all in stride. At his first Novice, "Pedro" and Barber improved on their Beginner Novice result with a fourth-place finish at the Olney Farm Horse Trials.
Both Barber and his owners recognized his potential right away and it was only proven further with his disposition in the atmosphere of competition and his willingness to take on new challenges without batting an eye. This year, Barber and Pedro closed out their year with another fourth-place finish at the Virginia Horse Trials and a successful finish at the War Horse Event Series 2019 Championship last weekend.
When we spoke with Barber about Pedro, she compared him to her former upper-level horse as she feels he possess all the talent and demeanor. Barber knows she has a star on her hands and after working with off-the-track Thoroughbreds for the majority of her career, she is excited to have another talented horse on her hands.
This month, we have Heather Jane Morris with us to critique Pedregal and his talent for the sport of eventing. Morris is no stranger to OTTBs. Living in Lexington, Kentucky, Morris often times finds herself surrounded with some of the most talented young OTTBs coming off the track. She has an eye for spotting the diamonds in the rough and most recently has developed her own OTTB, Anderboch Flyer, up through the levels. Morris was excited to look over Pedro’s photos and share her thoughts with us in this month’s column.
Morris’s immediate response was one of excitement as she quickly explained how thrilled she was to see a horse of this caliber in the sport of eventing. “The horse seems to have a great disposition! He’s very cute and a horse that I wouldn’t mind riding myself,” she said. Morris then went further into his talents under saddle and explained some of her favorite characteristics that Pedro looks to possess. “He looks to be very happy and willing on the flat and the horse looks like he has lofty gaits. Also, he looks like he has a great gallop,” Morris detailed further.
She then continued and transitioned to his jumping style as that is a huge factor as well. “The horse has great position over fences, very keen and symmetrical,” she first pointed out. “He looks like he pushes off evenly with his hind end when jumping, which is very beneficial when moving up the levels of eventing. The horse seems to have plenty of jump and scope as well,” commented Morris.
Overall, Morris had nothing but positive things to say about Pedro. Beyond that, Morris also looked to the rider as, “The smile on the rider's face truly shows how much fun they are having! I have the same smile on my Thoroughbred,” she said. Morris closed out by adding, “As much as I can tell from pictures, this horse seems spectacular and it looks like he would be very successful in all three phases! I’d love to catch a ride on this one!” It is clear Pedro has all the protentional to continue up through the levels of eventing and Morris is excited to continue to watch his progress. Plus, it sounds like there is already a list of riders that would love to have a horse like Pedro in their barn.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.
Get to know each United States Eventing Association (USEA) Areas a little better in this new series, Meet the Areas! This month’s feature is USEA Area I which is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Founded in the 1960s, Area I was the birthplace of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) which was founded in 1959 and would later evolve into the USEA in 2001. In 2021 just under 800 members made up the membership count in Area I.
Trainers, riders, parents, and more are in for a real treat when the all-new USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is officially released. Those participating in the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first to set eyes on this all-encompassing guide that has been two years in the making.
The USEA established the Young Event Horse (YEH) program in 2004 to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition to, with proper training, excel at the uppermost levels of the sport. While the goal of the YEH program is to identify horses that will be successful at the four- and five-star levels, horses with the potential for lower-level success are also showcased by the program.