Brett is a Handy Hunter

Hi Elizabeth,

What a fantastic show, and what an idea.  Ann Rusuck is an owner/breeder/trainer of TB racehorses who a few years ago got involved in rescue–much of her work done with Anna Ford of New Vocations.  She has put together a show that is a showcase for these horses, as well as the most fun horse show I have ever been to. It is unrated, yet run like an A show–with notable exceptions, all done to make it a horse friendly, people friendly, horse successful event.  The courses were challenging, but the jump height low enough to allow teams to succeed.  They were beautifully decorated. Dinner Saturday and lunch on Sunday were included in the very inexpensive entry fee, and they were catered meals at ringside.

Everyone there (or at least everyone I met) was there to have fun and support other OTTB owners.  There were some fantastic horses there, some fairly fresh off the track, and some who might be described at challenging!  That said, many crossed over easily from the hunter classes to the jumper classes, and some were clearly best off in the venue they’d been trained for. One of the hunters–a big winner at the show–won $130,000 at the track!

We were all stabled together, so everyone made new friends.  The show organizers wandered around the barns, asking if we were having fun, and if there was anything they could do better.  THey ASKED for feedback, and gave us their email addresses!  The gate person spoke to each and every rider as they went in, as as they came out.  One poor kid never got her horse over a fence, the gate person let Ann know, and the kid got a prize for her persistence and patience–and encouragement to keep trying.

The organizers have the same commitment to saving these guys that you do–it was refreshing.  Two exhibitors were licensed race horse trainers, riding stuff they’d had in training that had washed out.

Each horse’s bio was read each time it showed, and if the animal was for sale, that was stated as well.

Photos haven’t been posted yet, but they will be at We were #009.

So, what about us?  Sunday was our day–we were 8th out of 35 in the 2’3″, 6th out of 35 in teh 2’6″, and 5th out of 25 in the 2’6″ handy hunter class–and he’s never done a handy before.  He also had never shown indoors before, and while he had some concerns, he stayed focused and did his job.  He was fantastic!