Meet Justforthehalibut aka “Fish." Fish is a 7-year-old OTTB out of On Z Run by Horse Greeley who was born and raced briefly in Ohio. This fun name is his registered Jockey Club name and I kept it because I love it. It completely embodies why I participate in this wonderful sport - just because it’s so much fun! While he didn’t seem to care much for racing, finishing in the back of the pack in all three of his races, he has excelled at eventing. His ears are up and he hunts for the flags.
We are both learning the sport under the excellent guidance of our trainer, Fylicia Barr. Fylicia has a great track record for finding OTTBs, retraining them for their second careers, and matching them up with the right owner/rider. She found my diamond in the rough as a 3-year-old and graciously let me try him for four months. I was sold with the first ride, however was just resuming riding several years off after recovering from back surgery and wanted to make sure he wouldn’t be too much for me as a youngster. I had told her I wanted a horse with a Labrador-like in-your-pocket personality and she knew he was the perfect one despite his youth. He is always the first to come up from the field and would do anything for a treat.
I purchased him as a 4-year-old and it is truly a match made in heaven. While I grew up working for lessons in a hunter/jumper barn and had previously started a couple of rescued Thoroughbreds under saddle, I have focused most of my time and energy on my career and family and Fish is my first horse! I am a veterinarian and I’ve always loved Thoroughbreds. I simply couldn’t have found a better partner than Fish. In addition to being an exceptional athlete who covers for my mistakes, he hacks out by himself and tolerates my crazy not-so-horse-savvy chocolate Labs. He just has the best brain and entertains us all with his loud snoring while napping in the barn.
Not that we haven’t had any challenges. For example at one of our first events, we parted ways during our stadium jumping warmup and he chose to take a preview of the entire cross country course before heading back to the trailers! He proved just how fit he was by handling it with ease the second time around with me in the saddle and I was especially proud that we recovered from my mistake during warmup to finish double clear.
Fish is also a bit accident-prone. A couple of weeks after I bought him, he ended up in the hospital with a puncture wound to his left hock. As a veterinarian, I knew how serious it could be. Thankfully it didn’t penetrate anything important, and since then there have been numerous puncture wounds, with absolutely no indication as to where they have come from. Believe me, we have looked! And the random oral ulcers that appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared - probably a reaction to a seasonal plant but has never recurred (thankfully) . . . and the weird whole-body skin infection last summer that made him lose all his hair . . . that also came and went without an apparent reason . . . it’s got to be because I’m a veterinarian, right?
Regardless, of these minor setbacks and challenges, in the last two seasons, we’ve moved with ease from Beginner Novice to Novice to Training. I plan to stay at the Training level this season with the goal to move up to Modified when I’m ready.
However, I’m so thankful I have Fylicia and her fantastic team to keep him progressing in his training so that he is always at least one step ahead of me. She will pilot him at the Preliminary level before the end of the year and who knows where he will go from there. On top of his great personality, he is a fantastic, super honest jumper.
With a name like Justforthehalibut, we’ve had lots of fun clipping fish patterns and scales for the winter. In 2020, I turned him into a dragon. However, in 2021, I think we nailed it as Nemo and Dory at Plantation Field’s Halloween starter trial.
I am so in love with my flying Fish – he is making this adult amateur’s dreams come true!
Does your horse or pony have an extra-special or unique show name? We want to hear all about them. Email Meagan DeLisle at [email protected] to tell us more and for a chance to be featured in our next What's In a Name column on useventing.com.
Welcome to the Show Me state and to Area IV USEA members! The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention kicks of tomorrow and features four full days of educational seminars, committee meetings, and social gatherings all with one aim—to bring the eventing community together to continue to improve upon and celebrate the sport that we all love. This year’s Convention takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Marriott St. Louis Grand in downtown St. Louis from Dec. 7-10, and we have rounded up everything you need to know to make the most of your time in the heartland.
To accompany the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, USEA Educational Partner STRIDER has prepared Digital Resources to Maximize Education & Access for the Eventing Community. In keeping with the USEA’s mission to expand the sport of eventing, this webinar outlines ways in which digital tools can be leveraged to increase access and education across equestrian opportunities. As part of STRIDER’s popular Professional Development Webinar Series, this presentation aims to provide a quick overview of best practices and digital tools used across the equestrian industry to boost growth.
Every horse who participated this year in the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program has a story—a background that involves a breeder who labored over bloodlines, veterinary care, initial training, and so much more. This year’s highest-placing U.S.-bred horse in the 5-year-old division at the Dutta Corp./USEA Young Event Horse Championships, Arden Augustus, is no exception. His breeder and owner, Anita Antenucci of Arden Farms in Upperville, Virginia, started her program nine years ago and said that the Warmblood gelding was a more emotionally driven breeding for her than others due to his connections with Antenucci’s long-time friend Sharon White.
Have you ever wondered why professional riders love bringing their horses through the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program? USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown chats with two of this year's YEH Champions, Caroline Pamukcu who won the USEA YEH 4-year-old East Coast Championship aboard HSH Afterglow, and Andrea Baxter who won the USEA YEH 5-year-old Championship with Camelot PJ, to discuss this year's Championships and all of the great things that the program has to offer.