Tag Archives: Fiona Farrell

One Small Thoroughbred World

It’s a gloriously, happily, exhilaratingly, ridiculously small horse world. I spent a wonderful morning last November with a friend of mine, Monica Driver, who I simply never see enough of. She’s great company. We talk books, dogs, politics, and that’s just in the first five minutes. We were watching two of the young horses she bred, Analysis and Circuitous. The colts were training on the farm where they live when in New York. I snapped a few pictures. Little did I know the small world would start spinning.

Thoroughbred colt at racetrack

This is Analysis (by Freud, of course) as a long yearling that late November 2011 day being ridden at Stone Bridge Farm, New York. Analysis is Circuitous's half brother.

The pictures provide glimpses of a training farm and the routine a young horse in race training goes through.  It was a day exemplifying what one of my heroes William Steinkraus says makes for a good day’s training: nothing happens.

Circuitous is such a lovely bay I forget I’m a grey-aholic. Maybe because his sire is that grey poster boy: Skipaway. Others might even forget for a nano-second or two their passion for chestnut mares. Circuitous’s demeanor as much as his looks captivates. He’s outgoing yet calm in his stall, happy to interact with humans, and developing a prodigious work ethic and concentration.

Monica is an owner who manages Mosaic Racing to race her fourth generation homebreds. Monica has her horses thoroughly trained and provides funds for their life after racing. Just as all OTTBs are not the same by reason of conformation, soundness or innate temperament, OTTBS vary based on handling and training regimes in their formative years.

Thoroughbred colt at racetrack

Circuitous looking at Monica. Her shadow is on the right. A cool, crisp day and the young Thoroughbred stands almost perfectly square only moving his ears to keep track of the conversation.

Small world event number one occurred when Susan Salk profiled Circuitous and his winter training regime on her blog offtrackthoroughbreds.com.

Colt at racetrack

The humans kept talking. Circuitous has become interested in something else. His head is alertly up but he's relaxed as the brisk November breeze lifts his mane and fringes his tail.

Small world event two happened shortly after Susan’s profile appeared. Another friend, Amy LeBarron, mentioned what a pity there wasn’t a picture on Off-Track Thoroughbreds of Circuitous being ridden by his New York exercise rider, Gavin. Amy inspired me to dig up my snap shots of Gavin on Circuitous.

As the small world was turning Amy came up with a photo of herself riding Circuitous in New York. Event number three. What synchronicity. Amy was the person who skillfully, tactfully, patiently, positively, and with a sense of humor backed and trained the first two Thoroughbreds I bred. Here is a visual example of her doing the same for Circuitous.

Circuitous gallops on training track for Mosaic Racing Stable

Amy riding Circuitous mid-October 2011.

Event four shrunk the small world down to about tennis ball size. Heidi White has been on my radar for many years thanks to her international advanced level 4-star Thoroughbred Northern Spy.

Northern Spy shares his name with the Vermont goat farm with Thoroughbred connections owned by friends of mine, Brad Kessler, and Dona Ann McAdams. Lo and behold, Heidi White is the woman training Circuitous at his winter digs in Aiken. Years ago I reveled in the name connection, now here was one even more concrete.

Thoroughbred walking at racetrack

Followed by a vehicle Circuitous remains flat footed as he learns to walk around the farm on his own. Gavin keeps watch while Circuitous seems to have completely placed his trust in his rider.

Event five might stretch credulity so I hesitate to include it, but to get my horse world down to pingpong ball size it was Amy who sparked Dona’s photography of Thoroughbreds.

Oh and by the way, does this make this horse world example ball bearing size if Circuitous is the front page horse on the Stone Bridge Farm website, where White trains?

racehorse in training

One can never see enough pictures of Thoroughbreds walking calmly, especially when they're three, in race training, and it's a brisk, breezy, cool, November day. This is the kind of "early childhood development" that makes for great OTTBs.

So, thank you Monica, Amy, and Susan for the opportunity to wallow in warm memories of a November morning with Circuitous and friends sharing our appreciation for Thoroughbreds.

International Women’s Day was March 8th this year. In recognition of my own ridiculously small horse world peopled with warm friends I hereby declare today, March 27, to be Local Thoroughbred Women Friends’ Day. A toast to small horse worlds.  It’s been fun to celebrate with you. Here’s to a thoroughly friendly day in your horse world.

Racehorse galloping at training track

Circuitous galloping. This unedited point and shoot picture shows his length of stride and balance. Before this winter's round of training in Aiken you'll see he's not boring down on the forehand as so many horses might do at his age.




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