With a personality as adorable as his name, Paddy The Caddy makes everyone who meets him smile.
Erin Kanara (née Sylvester) and the 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Azamore—Slamy) have racked up top placings at the four- and five-star level for the last four years.
They won the Rebecca Farm CCI4*-L (Montana) in 2017, were second at the Ocala Jockey Club CCI4*-L (Florida) in 2018, earned a top-20 finish at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L in 2019 and won the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI4*-L (Maryland) in 2019.
“He has a ton of personality. He’s very vibrant,” said Kanara. “He’s not introverted at all. He’s pretty sure the world needs to revolve around him, which it mostly does, so that works well for him.”
We caught up with Kanara and “Paddy” at the MARS Great Meadow International (Virginia) in August where they finished third in the CCI4*-S.
• Paddy loves his people and knows them by their voices, especially his owner Frank McEntee.
“He has a strong Irish accent. He can hear his voice from a mile away,” said Kanara. “[Paddy] always tries to find him. He gets so excited when he sees him.”
• He likes to make faces when he gets tacked up, but it’s all for show.
“He’s just cranky about it,” said Kanara. “He’s a little playful about biting, mainly with Joa. He tries not to catch skin, and if he does he knows he’s in big trouble! It’s just a game with him.”
• Paddy’s been on individual turnout since he was 6, and he seems to prefer human company over horses.
“In some aspects he kind of acts like a dog or a person,” said Kanara. “He recognizes other horses—he doesn’t really care for them that much. When he travels to shows with other horses he gets a little attached to them.
“He’s got a real routine at home,” she continued. “He goes out by 7:15 in the morning every day as long as I’m not riding him early. His paddock is the very first paddock outside the barn, so he’s the center of attention around the whole farm. Everything revolves around him. He’s pretty interactive if you ride by; he’ll trot up to the fence. He’s not really interested in the horse; he wants to see what person it is. He’ll come say hi.”
• Paddy can be sensitive to heat, and he’ll let his people know. “We keep an eye on him throughout the day,” said Kanara. “He hates being hot. In the summertime, he likes to come in early. But the rest of the year he enjoys being out. He definitely lets us know when it’s time to come in. He’ll get this wild look in his eye, and he’ll bolt from one corner to the gate corner, like, ‘Who saw that? Who’s going to catch me? You better come right now, or I’m going to start running!’ ”
• Paddy prefers a crowd and gets more elevated when there’s some atmosphere around the ring and an announcer. “He is really no fun to ride at the local shows like Pine Top [Georgia] or Horse Park of New Jersey where you’re getting your pipe opener run,” said Kanara. “I think he’s almost insulted that he’s going to this ‘backyard show.’ He’s not very nice to ride in dressage—he’s uninspired and behind the leg, and then when he show jumps he’s looking for the crowd, like, ‘What are we doing? Where is everyone?’ ”
• Paddy loves to get on the trailer, and the shutdown during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic was hard on him.
“He had a really hard time this spring figuring out what the heck was going on,” said Kanara. “I peak his fitness for Kentucky almost a month early, so he had only missed his last gallop when everything shut down, so he was Kentucky-fit. Scaling back on the work we were doing, I didn’t want to keep jumping him through the spring and summer when it was pretty clear everything was going to be shut down, so I tried to get him to a lower workload, and he really had a lot of trouble with that until the middle of May.
“He was unsettled in his paddock, antsy in his paddock, difficult to ride—he just had too much energy,” she continued. “He was really playful and being wild. He definitely thrives on going to the shows. When you’re working with him up to competition fitness and work, he acts like you’re killing him and that he’s working way too hard, but if you take it away from him, then he’s irritated and angry that you’re not asking him to work harder. It’s kind of funny. When we put his boots on to come here he could tell because he wears different boots to ship farther, and he about trotted out of the barn and straight onto the trailer. He parked himself in his spot and was like, ‘Who’s coming with me?’ He marched right into the stabling the same way.”
• Sigsbee says Paddy likes to be the only horse at events. She’s taken care of him for five years and enjoys the bonding time they have together.
“[When I first met him] I remember walking in the barn and thinking, ‘He’s pretty small!’ And then just being absolutely amazed at everything he can do,” she said. “I’ve gotten to travel a lot with him, which is pretty cool, and spend a lot of time. I think that’s where he thrives. We went out to Montana to Rebecca Farm, and he just loves being the only horse I pay attention to.”
• Paddy and Kanara have a close bond that Sigsbee observes. “I see so much trust and heart between them—the fact that he does what he does because he loves her and how far he’s come with her. He just loves his job,” she said. “He knows she’s not going to do him wrong, and he’s going to go out there and do his job the best he can and have fun doing it.”