Kylie Clarkson never had a one-star as a goal until this season when her trainer Sara Kozumplik Murphy suggested she try for one at the Ocala Jockey Club International.
Now she’s just completed her first CCI* aboard My Kinda Party, an Appaloosa gelding that stands out from the crowd.
Clarkson is originally from Texas, and her mother Laura runs an eventing barn there.
A friend of Laura’s found the now 10-year-old gelding six years ago.
“She would hack down the road, and he would jump out and follow her. He lived in this little mud pen so she talked to his people who said they were going to send him away to be a pony horse, so she bought him,” said Kylie. “I was supposed to start him for my mom and make him safe enough to stop and steer, then I never gave him back!”
Photo by Lindsay Berreth.
“He came to us, and I hated him. He was underweight, and he was ugly, and I was like, ‘He’s hideous Mom, why do you like him?’ We teased her endlessly about him,” she said with a laugh.
Kylie met Kozumplik Murphy and her husband Brian Murphy through groom Max Corcoran, and has been working for them at their Overlook Farm for almost a year.
“Windsor” is a registered Appaloosa with some distant Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred in his lines.
“He’s really brave but he’s really quirky. Anyone who sees him says, ‘Oh he’s an Appaloosa, is he a little stubborn?’ And he is a little stubborn! I started him when I was 16, and I was like, ‘He steers, he stops, he jumps the things.’ Looking back I wish I’d done it a little slower, but he’s forgiven a lot of my mistakes, and he loves it,” said Kylie, 22.
Photo by Lindsay Berreth.
“[Sara and Brian have] been a huge help in getting me here. I didn’t really have a one-star goal, I just took him out at the beginning of May because he’d had some vacation hanging out at home. They were like, ‘Do a one-star!’ And I was like, ‘Alright, we’ll do a one-star!’ Here we are, and it’s kind of great,” she continued.
The pair jumped clear with 2 time penalties on cross-country at Ocala and added one rail to finish in 35th place today.
“He was super yesterday. I was a little nervous about the waters and thought if I could get through the first water everything else would be great. He was so brave. He just cruised around and was like, ‘Mom, you’re messing up but it’s fine.’ I’m really happy,” said Kylie.
“They’re a fantastic partnership. They’re a little bit like brother and sister, [poking at each other,] but Kylie is one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had,” said Kozumplik Murphy. “She’s an extremely talented rider, and they’ve worked very hard for the past few months and made tremendous improvement. He was always a great cross-country horse but we’ve worked a lot on the show jumping and dressage, and it’s tremendously better. It’s a pretty cool result for their first one-star.”
Kylie Clarkson and Sara Kozumplik Murphy with My Kinda Party. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.
“He takes himself really seriously. Sometimes if he’s tired he’ll cuddle with you a little bit, but most of the time he just needs to be on his own. He’s a sweet horse. He’s easy in the barn, but he’s not really personable. It’s nice because when you mess up it’s like, ‘Mom, that’s embarrassing, don’t do that. You can’t embarrass us like that,’” Kylie added.
Kylie hasn’t decided whether she’ll try to get some intermediate miles with Windsor or sell him this winter to someone else he can teach. Either way, she said the mileage he’s given her is invaluable, and he’ll always stand out in a crowd.
“People always comment on his ears because he has really cute white tips. Most people have an Appaloosa story to share. We do joke if he got loose it would be hard to claim he wasn’t yours because people know! For better or worse he definitely stands out,” she said.
Curious about the new Ocala Jockey Club International? We’re on site to bring you coverage of the CCI*, CCI** and CIC*** and lots of photos! Check out a full report in the Dec. 12 print edition of the Chronicle.