Imagine being at a horse show and hearing over the loudspeaker: “And next in the ring is Mine That Bird!” Don’t tell me that wouldn’t send you running ringside to watch.
Icabad Crane placed third in the Preakness before transitioning to an eventing career.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
While living in Kentucky I have met many people who ride Thoroughbreds. They perform successfully in hunters, jumpers, dressage, fox hunting, polo, and, of course, eventing. But take a look at any of these horses’ bloodlines and race records and you’ll typically notice a few common themes: won little to no money; didn’t even start; has pedigree no one wanted to pay for at the sales. And while it’s great that equestrians are giving these racetrack duds new lives and careers, aren’t you at least a little bit curious to know what a top racehorse could be capable of in, say, the grand prix ring?
Sure, there are the obvious reasons why the Zenyattas and Curlins of the world retire without pursuing other endeavors. Maybe their talents and pedigrees are worth a mint in the breeding shed. Or the wear and tear on their bodies from long and decorated racing careers limits their future physical abilities. Then there’s the fact that horse racing is a business, and most owners would rather reinvest their stock in breeding and sales than fund a performance care