Lexington, Ky.—Oct. 7
When Charlotte Cannon saddled up Seeking Fame for the show hunter finale at the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park, she was returning to the show hunter ring after a nearly two-decade hiatus. Winning was not on her mind.
“This was not in the plans,” Cannon said with a laugh as she walked out of the ring, blue ribbon in hand and championship cooler draped across “Fame’s” back. “I’m in shock. He’s such a good boy.”
Cannon had shown in the hunters in Virginia in the ’90s, but a terrible back injury knocked her out of the sport.
“I broke my back, and I had to learn to walk again,” Cannon said. “We started doing the Paint horse circuit and have been doing Paints since 2000. It was a little lower intensity than doing the hunters.”
The hunters were never far from Cannon’s mind though, and a couple years ago she tried to get back into it with a different off-the-track horse.
“It ended up becoming crippled early after we got it,” Cannon said. “I was really depressed about the whole thing, and I was scared to jump again, scared to buy another one.”
Then Fame came across her social media newsfeed.
“I saw his picture on Facebook, and I don’t know, I really liked him,” Cannon said. “The woman who had him said her 5-year-old kid could handle him, and I thought if a 5-year-old can handle him maybe I can!”
Cannon showed Fame beautifully at the makeover—the horse was the clear winner and by far the quietest horse in the field. She heads back to her Fox Point Farm in Fort Mill, S.C., and though many of the horses at the makeover are for sale, this one is getting on the trailer home.
“He wasn’t for sale before he came, and he still isn’t,” Cannon said with a smile. “I really would love to be able to show him more—we’re professional horse people who teach lessons and just have a small barn, so we don’t really have any money. We’re broke horse people, but I would love to be able to show him at [the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.)] in the Thoroughbreds. That would be my dream, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that!”