Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Behind The Stall Door With: WakeUp

The whole country has watched WakeUp grow up—and win at nearly every young and developing horse level. 

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The whole country has watched WakeUp grow up—and win at nearly every young and developing horse level. 

The U.S.-bred American Warmblood (Wagnis—Maiden Montreal, Macho) represented his country at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses (Germany) as a 5-year-old, and then he won the USEF Markel Young Horse Dressage Championship (Ill.) as a 6-year-old, placed second in the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship (Ill.) at 7, won that developing title as an 8-year-old, and then he moved up to the Grand Prix level. He was reserve in the USEF Developing Grand Prix Championship at 9 and won it this year at 10

Next WakeUp, bred by Beverly McLean, will tackle more CDI Grand Prix classes during a winter in Wellington, Fla. Emily Miles, his rider for all of those titles, has owned the stallion since he was 3 weeks old. Along the way, she’s come to know all his quirks well. 

Here’s what you might not know about “Wakey”:

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  • He oversees everything that happens at “his” WallyWoo Farm in LaCygne, Kan., and he takes that job seriously. “He knows what’s going on at the farm all the time,” said Miles. “He’s a typical stallion that way. He hears a gate open, and he’s very alert, and he knows what’s what, but at the same time he totally know when it’s work time.” 

Wakey 1  

  • When he goes to shows, he uses that as an opportunity to relax. “When he was a 4-year-old, and he went to shows, he’d be looking everywhere. Now he kind of gets in the stall, and he’s like, ‘OK.’ He’s almost better away from home than at home because at home he feels like it’s his domain. Here he’s like, ‘Not my problem.’ He’s still sensitive under saddle, but he’s pretty laid-back.”
  • It’s important that he’s the first one who gets worked every day. “His stall is very close to the crossties, so if I don’t work him first, he gets very upset,” said Miles. “Right now I work him twice a day. He comes out in the morning and has a ride. He gets a lunch, and then after lunch he has another short ride.”
  • Wearing a stud chain means it’s time to go to the breeding shed. The rest of the time, he’s led with just a regular halter and lead. 

wakey yawn

  • Turnout doesn’t agree with his temperament. At home he lives in a double stall, but Miles no longer tries to leave him outside.  “He’s just not good in turnout,” she said. “He’s kind of crazy and runs around and loses a lot of weight. By the time he works twice a day, and he has a really big stall, I think he’s fine with it. I know it’s unfortunate, and mom and I argue about it sometimes, but I’m like ‘It’s too risky.’ He runs around like an idiot screaming. If he’s outside then all of a sudden it’s like the 38 acres become his domain.”
  • The stallion, a notoriously picky eater, gets free choice grain in his stall at home. He also receives regular bran and alfalfa mashes, which is one of the only ways he’ll eat his supplements. “He gets as much as he wants to eat, but he never eats all that much,” said Miles. “Especially during breeding season—we always say he’s on hunger strike, so it’s tough to keep the weight on him. He eats at shows though. I think it’s part of him thinking that it’s not his territory, so he doesn’t have to worry. But electrolytes he’s totally against, so he has to get a paste.”
  • He likes to stick his tongue out so that you’ll tug on it. 

Wakey tug

  • All of his offspring pick up their sire’s excellent walk, canter and hind leg. But they get another stamp from him as well. “Every single one has ermine spots,” said Miles. “We have one that’s completely bay and still has tiny ermine spots.”
  • He’s an excellent chicken babysitter. “There’s a chicken who always lays eggs in his stall because none of the dogs will go in there,” said Miles. “So we say he raises chickens on the side.”
  • He travels to shows with a custom sign made by Miles’ husband, Jeff. 

sign

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