If you read my update posts after Galway you may remember me talking about how Presto is going to be staying with Megan through the spring now, and how at the disappointment of not bringing him home as planned, I spiraled pretty hard and found myself looking at OTTB’s (my classic go-to spiral maneuver, don’t judge me). Hillary will be riding Henry this winter, and I was mega bummed to not have Presto coming home for me to ride. I was really looking forward to starting a new challenge, something different to work on and do stuff with. I was deep in the OTTB facebook spiral when I told Michelle what was happening and she was like “why don’t you just come get one the mares to ride over the winter instead”, because she’s less insane than I am. I happily took her up on that offer.
The two best candidates were Vee or Grace, who are very different. Vee of course is a TB, has been ridden a little bit since her racing career concluded but is basically not much further along than just off the track, although from the riding Michelle has done with her she’s been quiet and simple.
Grace is an Irish Sporthorse (although mostly Selle Francais and Holsteiner with just a wee bit of actual Irish via Clover Hill) who had evented pretty extensively with an amateur before joining the broodmare herd.
I was kind of on the fence… I love OTTB’s, I’ve always found them really rewarding and fun to work with. Pretty much my entire riding career has been built on them, after all. But there was also a lot of appeal to Grace, who could slip into my routine quickly and easily and be able/ready to go do things without a lot of prep or foundation-building. Admittedly there are some activities coming up over the winter that I would love to do and not have to worry about having to prepare a super green horse for or coax a super green horse through. Like foxhunting and xc schooling.
Both mares are pretty good in a herd, and the care for each was about the same (ok Grace is an easier keeper food wise – no surprise there) so one didn’t really win out over the other as far as how they would fit into the farm. I mentioned it to Megan and she immediately said “Grace! Go get Grace. She would be PERFECT for you.”. Megan has taught Michelle some lessons on Grace before so she’s fairly familiar with her and likes her. I knew Grace when she was competing (Henry and I showed against her some) so from what I knew of her, I had to agree. Plus Michelle has been riding her some already, so she’s more legged-up than Vee is at the moment.
All that to say, Grace is coming to me this weekend on loan for the winter! She’ll have a little time to settle in, I’ll have some front shoes put on her, and then I’ll start playing with her and see how it goes. Hillary will be able to come ride Henry while her horse is away for training, and I’ll have Grace so we can still ride and go on adventures together. We won’t be doing anything strenuous or ambitious but it’ll give us both something fun and different to do over the winter. And then in March when breeding season starts I’ll just take Grace straight over to the specialist vet that does Michelle’s ET work, since she’s not that far from me anyway.
Michelle as usual is the real MVP and has really saved the day on this one. She da bess. More updates next week once Grace is here!