His legacy is in his name: Steady Eddie (Jetball x Tuonela). The 16.1 bay Thoroughbred gelding owned by Denise Lahey, Pierre Collin, and George and Gretchen Wintersteen has officially retired at 19 years old. But before we reminisce his decorated record as an eventer, lets first remember and pay homage to his first career as a racehorse in Australia, where he raced under the name Big Jet.
From January 2007 to October 2009, the Steady Eddie we’ve come to love was doing exactly what we know him to do: galloping hard. Stamina is probably too soft a word to describe his heart and physical ability. And if we’re really being honest, his athleticism is plain insulting.
“Yea, it’s almost cruel, isn’t it?” asks Boyd Martin, who met Steady Eddie under rather casual conditions in Queensland on holiday. “I’ll never forget the day I tried Steady Eddie—I tried him in shorts and a pair of flip-flops.” Despite having won seven races from 36 starts, Steady Eddie’s lasting impression was in his jump, which meant a golden opportunity awaited him in the States with Martin.
“He just finished his racing career, and then to see the horse travel to America and work his way up the grades and compete at so many 5 Stars is a true triumph of where an off the track thoroughbred could end up in his second career,” says Martin. “When you looked at his racing career in Australia, he raced hard. Towards the end of his racing career he had multiple races that were in consecutive days, like he’d race on a Saturday and then again on a Sunday—two different racetracks, six or seven hours apart.”
And his personality was in true fashion of a thoroughbred: on his toes, always with energy. His was born a fierce competitor, being piloted by Martin in all corners of the world.
“I think his best performance for me was finishing in the top ten at Burghley. He was just born for Burghley. He was a fantastic galloper and, I mean, what an epic horse to then transition over to Michael and get Michael to the 4 Star and 5 Star level. Just goes to show what a champion animal he is,” says Martin. The memories, like with any good horse, are right on the tip of Martin’s tongue, segueing from one story to the next until one of humor strikes: “He’ll always be remembered for me—I fell off him and broke my leg in half at Carolina International. I still have a rod down one of my legs from a fall I had on him. Steady Eddie will always be a part of me.”
Michael Pendleton became a working student for Martin in 2013 and later graduated to a full-time member of his staff and assistant rider at Windurra in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, where he rode and competed a ton of young horses. It was when Pendleton returned from a month-long stint in Germany, riding with Michael Jung—a trip Martin encouraged and helped navigate for Pendleton—that Martin quite literally handed over Steady Eddie’s reins to Pendleton for him to get some mileage in at intermediate level. Together, the pair competed at 28 events from January 2019 through April of this year. Steady Eddie gave him three starts at the 5 Star level.
“You wonder where Steady Eddie’s life would have—you know, he was from a really remote part of Australia called Rock Anthem, which is the end of the earth—what his life would have become if we didn’t pick him out,” says Martin. Good thing that’s something that can be left to the imagination, Boyd. We’re overjoyed to bear witness to his outstanding career and a dash gloomy to not see that white blaze tearing through cross-country at the next event.
As the 2023 competition year draws to a close and many of the high-performance and other riders are connecting at this year‘s USEA annual convention, the Great Meadow International organizers would like to update you on GMI.
United States Eventing Association (USEA) members at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention were in for a treat on Friday as the U.S. Eventing Team was on hand to discuss their accomplishments this year at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
“Test the best without hurting the rest,” said show jumping course designer Chris Barnard as he and fellow designer Marc Donovan led a lively discussion for nearly 50 participants at the Show Jumping Seminar on the first day of the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
This afternoon, USEA President Louise “Lou” Leslie welcomed U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors members, USEA staff, and USEA Annual Meeting & Convention attendees to the first of two Board meetings which will take place during this year’s Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, with the teaser that 2024 is going to be full of initiatives for more opportunities to access the eventing experience, some of which attendees might get first wind of during this year’s gathering. The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.