Thursday, September 7, 2017

Meet Baybuilt

Baybuilt
2012 Bay Thoroughbred Gelding
Photo by Liz Stout
From the moment I began considering Pig's retirement, I knew I would be on the immediate hunt for a new dressage prospect. My work with Pig has given me an intense love for the sport of dressage, and for doing it with thoroughbreds. I knew I'd need a new horse to help keep me going after stepping Guinness down.

The day the therapy program called to set up an appointment to see Pig, I started reaching out to thoroughbred placement programs like New Vocations and After the Races, two programs where friends have sourced excellent horses. I traveled to check out some horses, but overall found nothing that hit my list of needs.
Must love dogs.
Photo by Liz Stout
My requirements weren't too intense, but my strict adherence to them plus my low budget made me seem very picky. What restrictions/requirements was I working with?
1. Must be an OTTB. I wanted a horse that had race training and had raced. I'm kind of a chicken when it comes to riding horses that are barely saddle broken. I wanted something with a bit of experience.
2. Relatively clean legs. Some windpuffs or old soft tissue injuries were fine, but I didn't want a horse with screws in joints or obvious arthritic changes.
3. Between the ages of 4 and 7. The road to FEI levels in dressage is long. I don't want to start with an older horse again.
4. Confirmation and movement suggesting an ability in the dressage ring.
5. A SHORT back. Long backed horses need not apply; I don't like and am not good at riding them.

Things I didn't care about?
1. Gender. Mares or geldings were welcome. If a stallion had knocked my socks off and the castration could be included in the price, I'd have jumped.
2. Color. I adore chestnuts, but color doesn't help a collected canter develop.
3. Height. Anything between 15.1 and 17 was  on the table, though I preferred close to or just over 16 hands.

Enter Baybuilt...
15.3 hands with a back so short it barely exists. Perfect.
Photo by Liz Stout
I found him at his breeders, with the help of Niamh. He'd last raced two weeks prior to my seeing him, and he'd just come home. I didn't even get to see him move, but knew he was the right fit. All the pieces were in the right places, and his history was perfect. His cuddly nature probably didn't hurt. I left his breeder, telling her I wanted to see him move before making my final decision.
"I have pretty eyes and give good snuggles. This will make me a good dressage horse, yes?"
Photo by Liz Stout
A few days a video popped up on my phone, and I was sold.
Freedom of movement? Yes please!
Four weeks after his last race, Baybuilt was set to come home to me to embark on his second career. I waited, filled with excitement and apprehension. Who knew what this little fireball would be like when he arrived.
Stay tuned...

32 comments:

  1. He is gorgeous! I love him already. I can't wait to hear more.

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  2. You already know how I feel - he's wonderful and beautiful and sweet and so sensible!!! I can not wait to see how you two develop together!!! And can't wait to get to know Crab Chip better!!! <3

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  3. What a handsome guy! So excited for the two of you :)

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  4. Congratulations! He's adorable

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  5. Yay for OTTBs starting over in dressage! That's my favorite (though I've got one with a back that is a mile long).

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  6. Love love love his eye!! Gorgeous boy!! Yay!! And I am kind of glad he is bay. There is only one chestnut for u ��❤️�� Enjoy!!

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  7. blerg i really like him. hes just put together sooooooo nice.

    i love short backed horses but after runkle i realized i had to go slightly larger. my ass is too big. the saddle fitter didnt OUTRIGHT come out and say that but when she says your saddle extends too far back past the 18th thoracic vertebrae then... your ass is too big for your horse.

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  8. I'm so excited for you guys together! :-)

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  9. Such a cutie! I'm glad you guys found each other.

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  10. He is so very handsome!! Welcome home, Babybuilt!

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  11. I just found your blog. Congrats on the new tall, dark and handsome man in your life.

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  12. Yay!!! So excited for you and he's so gorgeous!!! Can't wait to read more about you guys

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  13. So cute and so exciting! Congratulations.

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  14. Exciting! Can't wait to hear more. Congrats

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  15. Congrats!! That fancy hind end... can't wait to see you progress.

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  16. Congrats! I love a nice bay and he is a great size. Can't wait to watch you two develop.

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  17. He is gorgeous!! Congrats! And thank you for being someone to whom sex and color don't matter. I think people miss out on a lot of oportunities because they are too focused on that!

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  18. He's super handsome! Can't wait to read more :)

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  19. I'm so happy that everything worked out for you! You deserve this and so much more:)

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  20. Yay can't wait to hear more about him!

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