You know that person who could make friends with anyone and everyone? That’s Bowie.
And he’s not shy about his affections. He’ll snuffle your hair and give you a good back scratch if he’s decided you’re pretty cool. And don’t you dare put him in a stall at the end. He likes to be the center of attention.
“He’s very, very sweet,” said rider Courtney Calcagnini Lenkart. “He’s a little bit spoiled. He’s always messing with you. He’ll never do anything wrong, but he’s always in everyone’s business. He knows everything that’s going on around him. Everything at the barn he monitors everybody, but he’s super gentle; a little kid could lead him.”
The 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Aachen—Orlandaise, Indoctro) came to the United States in 2014 as a jumper prospect for Audrey Trimble, but when she got out of horses, Bowie stopped attending horse shows. Since the family’s Fleur De Lis Farm was hosting an international hunter derby the following May, Lenkart suggested that they try Bowie in the hunters so they’d have a horse competing in the class.
Bowie made his derby debut at the 2015 Gulf Coast Sunshine Classic V (Miss.), where he finished second.
“He just took to it so quick that it was so obvious that that was what his path was,” said Lenkart. “He loved it. He figured it out right away. He doesn’t love going fast.”
Bowie has found his niche in the derby ring with eight career wins, three of which he earned in 2017.
He was sold following the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships (Ky.), but then returned to Texas at the start of 2017 after Lori Mathews fell in love with the gelding and purchased him. These days he does double duty, showing with Mathews in the amateur-owner classes and then in the derbies with Lenkart.
• If Bowie were a person, he’d be the life of the party.
“Oh my goodness gracious, he has the most personality,” said Lenkart. “He might as well talk. He is a ham. He works for treats. He has this thing about getting on him. He’ll only let you get on him if you give him a treat. Everybody in the barn loves him because he has so much personality. He gets more cookies and more apples. He loves food, and his groom spoils him rotten also. He’s got an incredible personality.”
• Bowie’s favorite snacks include oranges (he eats them whole) and a Dr. Pepper to wash it down. But you’ve got to guard your own food carefully—Bowie’s not above sampling anything left unattended.
“His groom [Miguel Riviera] eats [oranges] all the time, so he would start eating them,” said Lenkart. “And he gives him everything. He loves bananas, all fruit really. He eats hamburgers. He’ll eat literally anything. He’s such a pig.”
• While Bowie loves people, he’s not a huge fan of other horses. Crowded warm-ups aren’t his favorite place to be.
• Athleticism is in his blood. He’s a full sibling to Katherine Strauss’s grand prix jumper All In, and his half sibling is President’s Majestic Uzzo, who competed at the 2012 Olympic Games (England) with Dutch dressage rider Patrick van der Meer and helped the Dutch team take home the gold medal at the 2015 European Championships (Germany).
“The mother [Orlandaise] is an amazing producer,” said Lenkart. “We actually went there in May, and we got to see her, so that was pretty cool too and saw some of his baby brothers. There was one weanling and with the tiniest little ears like him and a sculpted face. It was a chestnut, but they were so similar besides the color—just the way they’re shaped. I love the tiny little ears and the sculpted little face.”
• Lenkart says Bowie is one of the easiest horses to work with. He doesn’t jump at home and spends most of his time hacking or trail riding. At shows he typically competes in either the amateur-owner division or in the derbies.
• Bowie likes to be pampered. His daily routine includes standing on a Theraplate and using a massage machine.