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].
With the Retired Racehorse Projects’ Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium right around the corner, OTTBs are in the spotlight this time of year. OTTBs and their owners will descend on the Kentucky Horse Park for a jam-packed week to highlight what makes these horses so special. While they show off their skills in all disciplines, they can really show off their stuff when eventing. There are so many horses headed to Kentucky and the number doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how many are being produced in their new careers around the country. We are excited to highlight one of those special horses today!
For this month’s OTTB critique we are excited to feature Kristen Miller’s Uno. Miller has been developing 4-year-old Uno since bringing him off the track in October of 2017 after six starts. Miller has been diligently working with the special horse in the hope of eventing him one day. We are excited to bring in Allison Springer to help critique Uno and gauge his potential to excel in the sport. Having worked with many OTTBs throughout her career, Springer has the knowledge and expertise to evaluate both conformation and performance.
On her first impression, Springer found that, “There is much to like about this young Thoroughbred.” Springer noted the first elements she considers when looking at a prospect are balance, structural correctness, and way of going.
When evaluating his conformation, Springer stated, “I like the slope of his shoulder as it appears to be a nice 45-degree angle and I like the look of his topline compared to his underline,” both good features to Springer. She also noted, “I love that his neck is set with a natural, uphill balance. I prefer this sort of neck in my horses as they seem so much easier to balance at pace if they are naturally uphill.”
When her eyes move further down the horse’s body, she adds, “His back appears to be strong and not long. I definitely don’t like a long back because that tends to be weaker and problematic to keep strength on. His back appears to be in the range of normal to short.” Springer also appreciates both the depth of girth in his body and the nice hip angle as well, solid features that bode well for Uno. Finally, when it comes to conformation, Allison really enjoys how proportionate the horse’s entire body is and how solid his feet are. “Feet are important,” exclaimed Springer.
Moving on to both the video of Uno jumping and under saddle photos, Allison feels the horse looks very willing and clever and seems to really enjoy his job. “It is always important to have a horse that comes out every day ready to try and learn. While they may make mistakes, it is imperative for a horse to be able to learn from them and be willing to try again,” said Springer. “The horse looks eager and that is something you just can’t teach,” she added.
Overall, while Springer explained that it is sometimes difficult to analyze the whole picture from a few photos, this horse looks to have the makings to really excel in the sport of eventing. She feels he really looks to be enjoying himself and from the photos, it looks like he has taken to his new career just fine. Springer feels there is nothing better than a solid and willing OTTB and she wishes Miller and her partner all the best as they hit the cross-country course, cruise around show jumping, and enter the dressage arena. Good luck and have fun!
It is the eventing programs like Lee Ann Zobbe’s program in Area VIII that help keep the sport alive. In addition to teaching students how to ride, Zobbe the manager and coach at Come Again Farm, also teaches her students how to volunteer. Whether her students are 11 years old or 70 years old, volunteering is an integral part of her program located in Sheridan, Indiana.
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