In January, vets told Ken Berkley and Scott Stewart that Carlos Boy’s show career was over. The big, handsome gray horse was suffering from extreme stiffness in his neck, and the vets had diagnosed him with severe arthritis and encouraged Berkley and Stewart to retire him.
“He literally could not put his head down to eat. The vets all said ‘That’s it,’” Stewart said. “Then Dr. Engle worked on him in Florida and recommended that we pull and test blood because he thought he had some sort of infection going on in his spinal column, and it turns out that he did.” Carlos Boy spent three months on antibiotics, and gradually regained full use of his neck.
His show days weren’t over, but Berkley and Stewart decided a change of career might be wise. Carlos Boy had excelled in the grand prix ring with Berkley for years, and competed at the 2010 FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final (Switzerland). But he’d also dabbled a bit in the hunter rings. In fact, Stewart had ridden him in the regular working hunter division at the 2010 Capital Challenge (Md.) in October.
Berkley and Stewart decided to take advantage of Carlos Boy’s naturally elegant jump and campaign him in the hunters a bit more seriously.
“He’s always jumped like a hunter even when he did the grand prix classes,” Stewart said. “He just realized that he only has to jump so high now, instead of overdoing it. He’s very comfortable to ride around the course.”
At Devon, Carlos Boy looked the very picture of a hunter, flicking his toes in the under saddle to earn a red ribbon there, and then floating to the top of the stake class. He collected enough points to earn the high performance reserve championship honors. “I thought he jumped every jump great and went like a real hunter,” Stewart said.
Watch Carlos Boy’s winning high performance hunter stakes round, which scored an 88…
After he recovered from his infection, Carlos Boy competed with Stewart in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in Wellington, Fla., in late March. They didn’t place. “He wasn’t quite physically ready to be great for the derby, but he was good,” Stewart said. Then, Stewart shipped Carlos Boy to Lexington, Ky., along with the rest of his horses to show for a week before Devon in May. “There, he really felt like himself again,” said Stewart.
“Knock wood—he feels like he could do [the grand prix] Thursday night! He feels great,” Stewart continued.