Behind The Stall Door With: Private Practice

Aug 13, 2018 - 12:51 PM

Take a look at Tori Colvin’s string of horses, and you might notice a pattern.

“I just love chestnuts with white,” she said. “[If it has] a white face, four white legs, I would buy that horse even if he was the most awful animal in the world. I want the whole barn to be chestnut and white.”

Private Practice definitely fits the bill. He’s chestnut with a white blaze and one stocking on his left hind leg.

Private Practice had a background in the jumpers before he transitioned to the hunters, but that’s not holding him back. Even though they have only competed together since midway through this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida), Colvin and Brad Wolf’s 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Lordanos are a force to be reckoned with.

Only two weeks after getting the ride on him, Colvin won the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Deeridge Farm (Florida) in March. More recently, they won the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby (Michigan) in July. Now the horse is heading to Kentucky for the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.

Let’s go behind the stall door with the flashy gelding!

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Photo by Emily Stakem.

• Previously a jumper with Eduardo Menezes, under the name Lord Valencia, it took “Peter” a little time to relax and go in a more hunter-like style.

“When we got him, he was a little fresh, a little frisky. But then every class I did as a hunter, he just got better and better,” Colvin said.

Their first show together was not as smooth as Colvin would have liked, however. “We did him in the night class during Week 6 [of WEF], and that was our first horse show, and he was wild!” said Colvin with a laugh.

Colvin explained that their transition from jumper to hunter mode was a little difficult at first, but Peter quickly adjusted. “We just work him with the draw reins, just kind of long and low, and try and settle him. And now he’s actually really quiet and easy to get ready.”

Photo by Tori Repole.

• Colvin saw Peter when she was trying another horse and was immediately drawn to him. “I saw him in the stall, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this needs to be a hunter,’ ” said Colvin. Wolf bought the horse for Colvin during Week 6 of WEF.

• There’s no sleeping in for Peter; he usually gets ridden at 6 a.m. every day before going out in his paddock. Peter generally goes on the walker or the TheraPlate after he comes back in from the field.

“He goes out by himself. I feel like he might get a little grouchy if he went with somebody else,” said Colvin.

• Peter wants what he wants, when he wants it, and can often be found pulling Colvin around to the grass.

“I can’t stop him, so I just let him,” Colvin said, as she was getting dragged to a tastier section of grass. She lovingly described him as a bull, happily dragging his handlers wherever he wants to go.

“At Devon [Pennsylvania], we have these little metal [bins], and we have carrots and apples in them. So of course the grooms, because they love him, let him just eat all the food every time he comes out the door, so then he becomes even more of a bull,” Colvin said with a laugh. When offered a LifeSavers peppermint in the barn, Peter was not interested but gladly accepted a cookie instead.

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Peter wants what he wants, when he wants it! Photo by Emily Stakem.

• “If he was in a human form, you would want your sister to date him. That’s kind of like his personality; he’s the sweetest guy,” said Colvin. Colvin says Peter always has a sweet expression on his face, especially when he’s being ridden.

“I think he could be like a sports guy but also a nerd,” she added.

• Peter has his own sense of humor on the ground. “We’ll be jogging or walking, and he’ll just shove his head up my back and then just push me forward,” Colvin admitted.

• While he may command attention with his big personality, his stature—about 16 hands—doesn’t quite match. “Everybody who walks up to him is like, ‘He’s tiny!’ and it’s like, yeah he’s not a big boy,” said Colvin.

Photo by Tori Repole.

• Like most top athletes, Peter likes performing for a crowd. “He came out of the ring after Devon, and he knew [he did well],” said Colvin of their weekend at the Devon Horse Show, where they claimed the 3’9″ green hunter championship. “And then everyone sort of spoiled him, so then he really knew he was good!”

• Peter is quick off the ground, making him a powerful jumper, but now that power makes him a perfect hunter. “His jump is incredible because he’s snappy,” said Colvin. “And his canter is balanced and everything. He’s so smooth off the ground.”

• Colvin sees a bright future for Peter. “I feel like he’s one I can get a 100 on because he reminds me so much of Way Cool [a horse Colvin earned a 100 on in the junior hunters in 2015],” she said.

• An easy horse to trailer, Colvin thinks you could take Peter just about anywhere. “He doesn’t seem to be fazed by anything,” said Colvin. “He just comes off the trailer like, ‘Hey, where are we?’ ”

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Photo by Emily Stakem.

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