In this series, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to critique your off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) eventing prospects. Professional riders and trainers will share their insights into each OTTB's pedigree, racing history, and conformation. Would you like to have your off-the-track Thoroughbred featured in the next edition of OTTB Critique presented by Athletux? We are looking for our next horse! Email your tips to [email protected].
With the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, a lot of equestrians are starting to thaw out and really think about show season, cross-country schooling, and maybe, just maybe, a little horse shopping. If you find yourself looking for a new equine partner this spring, you might be asking yourself just what to be looking for in those all too-short sale ads. This month we teamed up with upper level eventers John Michael and Kimmy Durr of Durr Eventing and Show Jumping in Shelby, North Carolina for this month's OTTB Critique.
Choosing any horse takes a lot of knowledge, some trial and error, and a bit of luck. Knowing what to look for in an equine partner can spare a shopper a lot of heartache, and for a shopper wanting to take on an OTTB, having a good idea of that horse’s history can really be eye-opening and a true advantage in the shopping process.
The Durrs took a look at this month’s horse, Another Gulch ((Thunder Gulch x Multiplicity), owned by Amy Maser. “Goober” is a 13-year-old gelding who competes at the lower levels of eventing with Maser. “Before even really looking at this particular horse, you can look at his history and see that he’s had a successful, pretty long career on the track. When we see a horse like that, one who was able to withstand track life, it’s always a good indicator that they’ll be able to hold up to their next career.”
STATISTICS BY YEAR*
*Current year Includes North American and Dubai World Cup Day statistics; all previous years include results from all countries
Moving on to look at Goober’s overall conformation, the Durrs noted that he doesn’t have the most typical “eventer” body. “His conformation doesn’t scream upper-level eventer. He’s a well-balanced horse, but he’s built differently than what is typically successful at the upper levels. I would like to see a little more angle in his hock. His hip looks powerful, and he has a good expression about him. While he may not be built to take on a four-star, nothing about him screams ‘INJURY PRONE’, and I would think he could have a very long career in the mid levels.”
Another Gulch and Amy Maser. Flatlandsfoto Photo courtesy of Amy Maser.
Kimmy also enjoyed taking a look at Goober’s jumping technique. “He really looks focused on his job, like he’s hunting the fences, which is exactly what you want in an event partner. His expression is great, he’s having fun and has his radar on, perfect for any jumping partner. He has good technique and really looks like he’d be enjoyable to jump.”
“Watching a video of a horse at liberty can tell a buyer a lot about a horse’s personality, as well as show off a horse’s natural movement. This horse has a really fun personality, he’s playful and having a good time showing off in his video. I would like to see him moving a little more freely in his shoulder but he moves well and carries himself naturally with a lot of confidence that I would hope would carry over to cross-country.” Kimmy said.
The Durrs noted that thoroughbreds can be some of the best partner’s for an aspiring eventers, but that proper retraining and conditioning can make all the difference. “A horse coming off the track has had completely different expectations for a long time, and it’s important to remember that both mentally and physically they aren’t exactly prepared for their new careers right away. Take your time with them, and work to strengthen muscles that they weren’t using. When looking a horse like this one in particular, you really want to think about removing all negative tension, the more relaxed he can be the more his naturally good topline will stand out. Getting a horse strong and mentally prepared for their next career is important, and if a rider can do that with an off-the-track Thoroughbred, they’re bound to have a great partner.”
John Michael Durr and his wife Kimmy Durr own and operate Durr Eventing and Show Jumping out of Shelby, North Carolina. To learn more about their training program, check out their website.
Would you like to have your off-the-track Thoroughbred featured in the next edition of OTTB Critique presented by Athletux? We are looking for our next horse! Email your tips to [email protected].