Salute to the Thoroughbred! This month on YourDressage, we are saluting the versatile Thoroughbred and Thoroughbred crosses of all kinds.
Dressage riders who choose Thoroughbreds as their mounts are eligible for Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards as The Jockey Club is a Participating Organization.
We recently asked our social media followers to share about what makes these horses so special. Here, a Region 1 rider shares the story of how her failed resale project became her heart horse.
By Regina Waterfield-Hatchell
I had been sidelined from riding to take full time care of my 95-year-old father in his last couple of years on this earth. I lost my horse, a 25-year-old Prix St. Georges level Trakehner, two weeks after I lost my father.
I had hoped to tackle the learning process into dressage with that horse, but it never happened. I was then to import his full brother from Canada, but before I could manage to do that, my husband (we were newlyweds) had heart failure and was in need of a new heart, so money could not be spent on a horse. I let my deposit go and figured that was the end of my horse life. A few weeks later, I received a call from a family member who was settling another family member’s estate. They had this retired racehorse, named Without Fear. This is where our journey began.
He was free, I paid shipping. Not a OTTB fan, my intentions were to get him back under saddle then sell him to get another horse. Three years ago, he arrived from Martha’s Vineyard, sight unseen. Here was this big 17.2hh dark bay. He was slightly underweight and had an injury from his racing career at Belmont Racetrack, in New York. He had sat for a year. while the family that had bought him were killed in a car crash, and he couldn’t be placed in a new home. Right away I knew he was mean and didn’t like me. (He is of the Storm Cat bloodline, so he has a very sassy personality, naturally). I got him under saddle, hoping for a possible hunter pleasure horse. Nope, WAY too fancy and “not a pleasure to ride”. After almost a year of frustration with him, I tried to give him away. Nope, no one wanted him. He was too nasty. Buck, bite, kick – you name it, he did it.
After talking to a friend who owned a dressage barn, she said to bring him there and work with a trainer who was there for a short time boarding a horse. So, I bit the bullet and took him from my barn on the 10 minute drive up the road to a 5-star dressage barn, where we met up with Fallon Blackburn, of Blackburn Dressage.
She took us under her wing, and wow, did a bond start to form. This horse was born for dressage.
The bucks did not stop right away, but fast forward two years later, after Covid and everything coming to a halt, we are competing! We have been doing online shows for now, just to get feedback from judges, but we plan to make our first live show at the 2022 March Magic! My trainer says he is one of the hardest horses to work with she has ever encountered, but she said when it clicks, the sky is the limit for him. I’m older, almost 60, so I’ve got lots to catch up on and learn quickly, but he is my last horse and I’m his last owner. We have a bond so tight that no one is going to break it. I love him. His name, Without Fear, is still his USDF show name, however he is known as Vido – fearless in Italian.