Amanda Steege will be trotting into the ring for the USHJA International Derby Championships this week with the striking bay stallion Loxley.
Loxley, a 13-year-old Anghault-Saxon stallion (Levistro—Prinz Pilot), started his U.S. career in 2011 with Evan O’Donnell in the saddle. In the summer of 2012, Loxley made his USHJA International Hunter Derby debut with O’Donnell. By 2013, the pair were consistent in the high performance division and winning ribbons in derbies.
Steege took over the ride in the beginning of 2014, and in January of that year, they were second in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Jacksonville Winter A to Z (Fla.). In March 2014 they placed 10th in the $50,000 derby at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) and in May, they were second in the derby at Old Salem Farm II (N.Y.). That August, they competed in Loxley’s first USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships, placing 23rd in Section A.
Loxely also picks up primary-colored ribbons in the high performance division.
In 2015, they won the $10,000 derby at Garden State (N.J.) and went to derby championships again, placing 15th in Section A and sixth in Section B. This year, they’ve alternated between high performance division tricolors and placing in multiple derbies.
We went behind the stall door with Loxley to find out more about this gentle giant.
• Loxley may be a stallion, but he’s quite mannerly. “He’s the easiest stallion to take care of,” Steege said. “I’m aware of it, and I’m careful—I don’t put anybody next to him on the trailer, and I take ordinary precautions.”
• He’s minimally macho. “I always call him the marshmallow stallion,” Steege said. “He’s cuddly and sweet.”
• But he’s not immune to hormones. A fellow competitor moved into the stalls next to Loxley one year at Devon (Pa.) after Steege and her grooms had left for the day. “They put a mare in heat right behind him. He was all riled up all night, and he was exhausted the next day,” Steege said.
• He’s all business when it’s time to work though. “Once he has his tack on, and he’s at the ring, he can have mares all around him and he doesn’t care at all,” said Steege.
• There is one exception, however. Loxley has a serious crush on the mare Capricette, an adult jumper owned by Steege’s student Charlene Graham. “He goes bananas about her. She’s the only mare he notices, and he notices her for sure!” Steege said. “He’ll climb the wall and break down his water buckets if she’s nearby.
“She is pretty beautiful,” Steege admitted.
Loxley has a beautiful rich bark brown coat, but his ears and the top of his head by his forelock are always a much lighter shade of brown.
• Loxely loves his turn-out, but barn staff needs to keep an eye on him. “We just have to be a little careful about when he’s out. You might hear him squeal a little and see him puff up, but he doesn’t do anything bad. You just have to bring him in,” Steege said.
• Again, however, there is an Achilles heel for Loxely—Capricette. If she’s out in a paddock Loxley can see from his stall, “He’ll stand there and watch her. And if she trots or runs, he thinks that’s super sexy, and he’ll start spinning around his stall,” said Steege.
• He’s best buds with one of Steege’s other rides, though—a gelding. “He likes Zidane. They do a lot of the same classes together and they live next to each other in Florida. They get along well,” she said.
• Despite being entire, Loxley hasn’t been bred yet.
• He’s very sweet, but grooms have to keep their eyes open in the grooming stall. “If he thinks he can give you a hard time, he’ll give you a hard time. He’ll kind of kick at you a little, but not to hurt you, just to test you,” Steege said. “That’s mostly when he’s had some time off and he’s feeling a little rowdy. When he’s in a normal work schedule, he’s quite pleasant to work with.”