Open the book of National Horse Show fairy tales, and High Tide’s chapter begins like so: Once upon a time, there was a bay gelding who stood in a field. A hooked blaze traveled down his nose, and he sported three dazzling white socks. But his potential was untapped, and he never ventured out to see the bright lights of the show ring. Then in 2015, Amanda Thomas stood in his field, and when she saw the Swedish Warmblood, she thought, “Mmm, I just wonder…” So she told her client Kit McClorey about him, and McClorey said, “He must be mine.” And that is how this little horse got his chance to shine.
While “Boden’s” story isn’t quite as magical as a fairy tale—real life is full of hills and valleys—his journey to National Horse Show stardom is inspiring.
“The person overseeing him contacted a colleague of Amanda’s and said they were looking for a new home for him. And that’s how Amanda heard about him,” said McClorey. “Our understanding was he’s a Swedish Warmblood, and he was imported when he was maybe 3. He was 7 when we got him, and he hadn’t done anything. I think he kind of fell through the cracks where he was or something—we’re not entirely sure. But he had no show record; he hadn’t shown. He was in need of muscle and some weight. Amanda kind of started from there.”
Thomas took Boden to his first show in Missouri in January of 2016, starting him in the 2’ to 2’3″ division. The rest of the year they contested the baby greens with McClorey pairing up with him in the pre-adult and modified adult divisions. In four years’ time, McClorey, Thomas and Boden found themselves at the National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky, for their second appearance in the 3’3″ amateur-owner, 36 and over, division.
“He was a little nervous when we got here, so Amanda did a lot of flatwork with him,” said McClorey. “Then going in yesterday for the first trip he was definitely a little wide-eyed, but he rose to the occasion. I thought the courses rode nicely. I love the ring, and I love the footing; it looks beautiful! They do such a nice job with the jumps. We had a couple of spots that it could have been a tricky lead change, but I am glad that all worked out.”
McClorey and Boden earned three blues and a red ribbon in their division. They walked out of the Alletch Arena with medals hanging from McClorey’s neck and giant tricolor ribbons attached to Boden’s browband as they were crowned grand 3’3″ amateur-owner champions.
“To be honest, I am about to burst into tears! I can hardly believe it. This was never in my wildest dreams,” said McClorey, St. Louis, Missouri. “He has been such a great project starting from the ground up. And watching him come along has been super fun.
“We’ve been talking about it a lot since yesterday and today, kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh do you remember?’ ” she continued. “We didn’t want to take him out of the barn for the first couple months because he needed a lot of muscle and weight. [We] kind of hid him away, and now look where he is.”