In this series, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to critique your off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) eventing prospects. 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].
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. Bred to run, Star is by Event of the Year (Seattle Slew x Classic Event xx Mr. Prospector) and out of TheGrassIsGreen (Wind and Wuthering x Interquillo xx Interco). As you can see from Star’s pedigree, she comes from a long line of impressive racing history. Star is the perfect example of a horse who has that pedigree but maybe didn’t have the racing talent that the breeder would have hoped for.
Star is a 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare, bred and raised in California, which just so happens to be where her current owner Michelle Cooley found her. She raced at Santa Anita four times and came in last three out of the four times only coming in second to last once. It was clear that she did not have a future as a racehorse thus she then became a part of her breeder’s program, the Thoroughbred Education Foundation.
It was there that she was restarted and where Cooley was introduced to the talented mare as she worked for the foundation. Cooley explained, “I worked for them and it was my job to bring her, as well as the Foundation’s other OTTBs, along and sell them.” Of course, once she laid eyes on Star, she couldn’t let this one go. “I loved her so much that the breeders ended up gifting her to me,” Cooley said.
Now, Cooley and Star are successfully competing at Training level with Preliminary in their sights. Cooley is the first to admit that her conformation is not ideal for an event horse, but explained that Star makes up for it with her heart. “She is absolutely AMAZING with a heart of gold,” Cooley added. After two fantastic finishes at Training level this year, the pair is well on their way towards accomplishing and exceeding those goals.
It is clear that Star shows immense potential in her new career and we are thrilled to have Caroline Martin here with us to critique Starlite Event. First, Martin gave a little insight on how she goes about looking at potential mounts adding this helps her when looking at photos and being unable to ride the horse herself. “Casey Mckissock and I pick out our sale horses oftentimes based on expression and then feel if we are lucky enough to sit on them in person,” she explained. Martin is excited to use her eye to critique Star and evaluate her potential to blossom into an upper-level event horse.
Right from the beginning, Martin comments on her great expression she shows as she is jumping and how well she uses her neck. “This is a very keen looking horse! She looks athletic and brave, while still being efficient over the fences,” she added. This checked off the positive expression box off quite quickly for Martin who was pleased to see the same positive expression and technique in every photo.
When she moved on to evaluating her under-saddle photos further, Martin was drawn to how well she jumped and her positive form over fences. “She also looks very smooth and balanced, as her rider has a consistently correct position in the pictures. Her expression says, 'Let’s go,' which is great to see,” she detailed.
Finally, Martin detailed, “You have to have a horse that loves his job and this one clearly does.” There is nothing better than an OTTB who excels in his or her new career and Martin is very impressed by this 12-year-old’s talent for the sport. Martin is looking forward to cheering Star and her owner on as they continue to progress up the levels. She wants to wish them all the best and will be following them on the West Coast.
While every story submitted to the USEA for the June Horse of the Month was unique and special, it was Teddy’s story that stood out. Therefore, the USEA June Horse of the Month is Talon Ted aka "Teddy", a 14.1 hand, 17-year-old Paint Pinto Gelding owned by Eran Murray and ridden by Eran’s daughter, Brooke Murray.
In 2000 and with the support of Joan Iversen Goswell, the Worth the Trust Scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to amateurs to pursue their education in eventing. The funds from the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarship may be used for training opportunities such as clinics, working student positions, and private or group instruction, or to learn from an official, course designer, technical delegate, judge, veterinarian, or organizer.
The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.