Four years ago my wonderful, beloved Thoroughbred mare, Star, died from colic. She died on Mother's Day. I was heartbroken and not really ready for another horse of my own. Two years after her death I really started looking for another OTTB. Sure, I'd looked on and off, but nothing really caught my attention. None of them seemed to fit what I was looking for. During that time Chief, a 20-year-old Appaloosa, found his way to our farm. He belongs to my youngest daughter and he's about as reliable and steady as they come. A year after Chief made his way into our hearts, we found Calypso, a 7-year-old quarter horse mare who seems to be a good match for my husband. She is a little spunky, and at the moment, quite fat off the lush pastures, but she's learning to settle down and be a nice, quiet trail horse for my man.
On Sept. 7, 2008 Gabe came home. One of my jockey friends knew I was looking and not having much luck and pointed me in the direction of a trainer friend of hers who had a horse for sale. He was an utter failure on the track. Dead last in every race but one. She wasn't advertising him because she wanted him to find the perfect home, not just any old home. His price was a bit more than I had budgeted, and I was a little hesitant to make the nearly three hour drive up to the Indiana border to see him. In his pictures he was ideal in so many ways and I was afraid I'd fall in love and have to make a monetary choice to not bring him home.
My wonderful husband insisted we go look at him and assured me that if he was "The One" we'd make it work.
He was "The One." At 16.2hh he has such a commanding presence! He's playful and has quite the personality. Such GORGEOUS gates! When he trots, he floats on air. When he canters it's all power and grace. I fell in love and I made a deal with the owner. It was a deal we all could live with.
He is going to be a challenge to train, but a fun challenge. I love fun challenges. He's never really been taught halter manners and he's never been ridden except to run his heart out. He's not too spooky and not the least bit hot. Sure, he jumps at startling things, but he figures them out quickly and wants to check them out. He's curious and most of the time, very brave. He's smart and learns quickly, which certainly adds to the challenge.
My goal with Gabe is to have a sane, sound, fun horse to trail ride, fox hunt and do some lower level eventing with.
Gabriel's official Jockey Club pedigree
Yes, his "official" name is Stick n Rudder. His previous owner dubbed him Sticker and I just couldn't see myself standing outside and yelling "Sticker! Come here!" so, after much contemplation and observation of him, he earned Gabriel. I call him Gabe, or, when he's feeling extra frisky, The Gabe-ster. He seems to like it.