You can’t miss Get Rowdy when he trots into the hunter ring. A true show horse, the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Baltic VDL—Z.Unellie) puts his head down, pricks his ears and searches for the first fence while maintaining a perfectly consistent pace.
The handsome gray gelding, owned by Teton Farms LLC, has won numerous championships across Southern California in the high performance hunters and the junior hunters and has earned top placings in the international derby ring as well. He was named U.S. Equestrian Federation High Performance Hunter, by Increment, Horse of the Year in 2019 and 2020. (You can check out Get Rowdy and more USEF 2020 HOTY champions in the Chronicle’s March 22 and 29 Horse Show Issue.)
Formerly campaigned in the professional divisions by Karli Postel, the gelding has also been competing in the large junior, 15 and under, division with Kyra Russell. He recently moved to Meadow Grove Farm in Los Angeles, where professional rider Jamie Sailor was happy to pick up the reins. “He is the bravest, most amazing animal,” said Sailor. “When you sit on him, it’s just incredible. He feels like you can jump a mountain, and in slow motion too. It’s such a hunter-esque feeling. It feels like he can jump 4’6” from a standstill.”
We visited Get Rowdy at his new home at Meadow Grove and went behind the stall door to get the full scoop!
• “Rowdy” came from an unlikely place for a top hunter: the eventing world. He was ridden by professional Heather Morris through the intermediate level and won the U.S. Eventing Association Preliminary Horse of the Year title in 2016.
• His name isn’t the most fitting. While he might throw a little buck or a head shake once in a while, Rowdy isn’t very rowdy at all. He’s more of a relaxed, go-with-the-flow kind of guy.
• He’s a lover. Russell says, “He always loves to cuddle, especially with the younger kids at the barn.”
• Russell, Sailor and Postel all mentioned his bravery as his most impressive attribute. “His braveness is something that’s hard to find,” said Sailor. “Sometimes the derbies have some spookier stuff in there, or the big, high options. He does not care at all. Whatever you point him at, he’s game to play.”
• He can make tight turns without getting quick, and his trot fences are usually perfect. “Everything is slow motion with him,” said Sailor. “He just has a calm way about him and is very patient.”
• The only time you’ll find Rowdy a little worked up is right before he goes into the show ring. “He knows when it’s showtime,” said Postel.
Russell agreed. “He’s always so eager to get in the ring, and he is always the happiest when he’s showing,” she said.
• He’s a no muss, no fuss kind of guy. He gets along with humans horses and other animals, and he’s easy to load, clip and bathe. “He kind of just does what you ask,” said Sailor. “If you want him to pony up with another horse, he does. If you need him to stand there, I mean, he’s super easygoing. I think he definitely understands life a bit. Nothing really worries him too much.”
• He’s a bit picky about treats. He prefers carrots and peppermints to apples and cookies. During our visit, Sailor offered him a taste of garden salsa flavored chips, and that was a hard pass from Rowdy.
• He makes it a point to keep himself well-hydrated. He particularly loves to drink from the hose during bath time.
• Rowdy goes out every day in a grass paddock at Meadow Grove as well as spending time on the EuroXciser, and he enjoys his outdoor time.
• Between his junior rider and the professionals who have ridden him, Rowdy has quite the fan club. “I love him already, and I can see why Karli has such a deep connection with him,” said Sailor. “He really wants to please, and he’s just so sweet. I feel honored to ride him.”