"OK, kid," I thought to myself as I watched the curious chestnut youngster clatter down the ramp from the rig that had just deposited him to my door from his former foster home at Rerun in Virginia, "Time to put your money where your mouth is."
Luckily, there's very little money involved.
Utterly dedicated to encouraging those without trust funds, wealthy husbands, or lucrative professions, that one can find a potentially competitive dressage horse for a grand, I took the lead of my new charge with the endearing name, Go Forrest Go, and led him briefly around the property before showing him his new stall so he could have a pee and munch some hay.
I have to admit that my heart flutters a bit just looking at him. And in the beginning of my search, I had avoided OTTBs, concerned about downhill conformation and worried dispositions but a flood of emails and Facebook messages took me to task for this bias as several echoed:
Well, sure I do. The problem is, I'm not Hilda Gurney.
But then I saw Forrest: built wonderfully uphill with an elegant head and soft eye, marvelous deep hocks and a massive shoulder. 16.3 at 3 1/2 years of age with plenty of growing ahead of him. Finding a racing video on-line showing his one win (and only place) in 7 starts, it was clear why he was a flop at the track: Forrest gallops as if climbing stairs- displaying tremendous lift and power in his shoulders and forelegs but not covering the same ground as the successful racers who assume the position of speed skaters.
But the very best part? When this youngster was led into the winner's enclosure, while the other horses were spinning and snorting, Forrest walked placidly looking somewhat bored and stood, panting, with no evident tension whatsoever.
Bingo! I had to have him.
Let the journey begin....