I love talking about the horses that I have been involved with and I have been dying to tell the story of a horse named Track’s Protege. Breeding here http://www.pedigreequery.com/tracks+protege. He started running at age 5 where he raced 3 times ending up near last in all three starts. I first came across him when I was getting ready to put up his listing for Delaware Park CANTER listings. He was just a plain bay but there was just something about him that spoke to me.
I totally admit that I worked really hard on his trainer to get him to donate. I had sent his pictures to Allie (CANTER MA’S Director) and she just fell in love. It was the first horse that I had ever heard her talking about buying and we see a TON of horses. His trainer decided that he wanted to sell him instead of donate so we put his ad up on CANTER Delaware Park. He was listed for over a month at $2k and there was no interest. Most people probably just saw 15.3 h, 5 yr, plain bay with decent size osselets on both ankles. His trainer called me up and said if you can pick him up then you guys can have him. I moved really quickly before he changed his mind 🙂
His stable manners were absolutely horrible. He was terrified of everything, hard to catch, cranky and sure wasn’t fun to work around. I rode him once before we took him to our layup farm and it took me 20 minutes just to get on him because he was scared to death of me standing over him on the mounting block. Once I was on him he was perfect but you could tell he just had some quirks.
I remember the day we were loading him to take him to our layup farm. I had brought him in from the field with his fly sheet on and was trying to remove it and he wouldn’t let me touch the back leg straps. He was throwing an absolute fit. I gave up and just loaded him with the damn sheet on. I was eager to get him off my farm 🙂 He just needed some time to decompress! You knew there was a nice horse in there so we figured time would heal all.
Sonrea (the stablemate that Track arrived with) and Track became a nightmare at the layup farm. They were attached at the hip and difficult to handle. When Allie was looking for a shipment of horses to go to North Carolina those two were eagerly volunteered 🙂 Track got down the North Carolina and proceeded to have an intense dislike of coastal hay and colicked several times badly enough that Allie moved him to her barn to monitor him. She had been in love with him but like the typical horse person she needed another horse like she needed a hole in the head. She did try to market him a bit but nobody wanted him because again he was just sort of plain and has some big osselets.
Allie had just been enjoying hacking him out and forming a partnership with him. She xrayed those ankles and sure enough they were just calcification and not career limiting. Allie said they are pretty big ankles..I say Letterman’s ankles are bigger but only she and I would be goofy enough to be arguing over who’s horses ankles are bigger 🙂 She decided she would buy him for herself as her event horse was retiring. Her goal was just to event him at BN, foxhunt and hack out with her friends.
She happened to free jump him and discovered not only was he as talented as she thought he would be but that he had something that most people would pay a ton of money for.
That is a recent picture of him jumping with Liza Horan riding him but it gives you an idea of what Allie saw that day when free jumping him. He just kept coming around the ring and jumping like that every single time. Knees to the chin like it was no big deal.
Allie took her time bringing him along and didn’t jump him for a long time. She hacked him out on the gorgeous sandy trails behind her farm and worked on some lunging. She then started jumping just baby jumps so that he learned that jumping wasn’t such a big deal. Sometimes horses tend to jump like that when they are scared and she didn’t want for him to be scared. She nurtured his talent along until he was ready. He had been out foxhunting and was fantastic.
He is now beginning his event career and competed in his first event with Liza Horan riding. He has gained a huge following of people who are simply amazed at his natural ability. He could probably do the big time hunters ..or jumpers..or eventing. Sky is the limit!
You wouldn’t think that it would be fun to own such a talented horse but I imagine that it is pretty darn stressful. You have everybody pushing you to allow your horse to continue to be ridden by professionals and compete at the upper levels but you just wanted to enjoy your horse at the lower levels because he is everything you ever wanted. Do you risk him getting hurt on his way to the upper levels or do you just own the most amazing BN/N horse in the whole wide world????? I am not sure I would want to be faced with that decision but I know that Allie always has her horses best interest in mind and will do whatever is best for the both of them. She is really enjoying watching her horse out there showing that ottb’s are amazing and every bit as talented as the fancy warmbloods. We would also be lying if we said that we didn’t enjoy saying I told you so to all those who doubted us when we said this horse is the real deal or those who passed him over when we were marketing him.
I personally hope that Track’s Protege and many of our other CANTER MA owned graduates, go on to prove that just because horses are donated to CANTER does not mean they are not nice horses or that they are not sound. Most of our horses are donated because their owners care about them and know that we do an amazing job of finding them new homes. That is something to be proud of and I hope that we have many other horses that will highlight the great work that CANTER MA is doing.
Letterman’s Humor, King Remda, London Lullaby, Dazzle and Shine, Sonrea, Track’s Protege and Big Talk were all donated to CANTER MA by the same trainer. Every single one of them are just lovely horses that were sound and well cared for. I will have some updates on some of them coming soon.