Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 30
Jodie Potts never planned to become an Appaloosa person. At 16 she was horse shopping and went out to a farm to try a warmblood they had for sale. But there was Comet II, an Appaloosa/Thoroughbred (Sombreado—Puf Tan, J.J.’s Joker).
“He was the horse that stuck around after everybody else went back out in the field and was like, ‘Hey. How you doing? I like people,’ ” she said. “And so I ended up buying him instead—my first break-in project at 16.
“That horse is worth his weight in gold,” she continued. “He got me through college, vet school, took him to my internship with me in Florida. He was fabulous. I could ride him twice a week, and he’d be the same horse, and I could just wrap my arms around him and cry on his shoulders for a little while because internships are stressful, and he was fantastic.”
Though “Comet” is now retired at 22 and has become Potts’s husband’s horse, her love for Appaloosas never dwindled.
She purchased Island Fever (Jokers Measleyone—Tooyountohonkytonk) in 2011 as an unbroke 6-year-old and Wapiti Byrd (Butterwap Confetti—Sherry Wine) in 2013 with just 90 days of training (which occurred eight months before she purchased him).
“It’s been a blast,” she said. “I have to be picky about which ones I try to take on, but I think the Appy-Thoroughbred cross is awesome. I love it; I wish more people would do it.
“They’re not for everybody,” she continued. “They have loud personalities, but I always find that they are relatively sound. They try hard for you. Once you win their trust and don’t mess that up, then they’re ‘Yeah, I’m with you. Let’s do this.’ ”
Potts has done all of the training on her horses herself. She said both horses were pretty easy to start, though “Fever” was a work in progress in dressage. They went from scoring 50 penalty points in dressage at beginner novice, and now they’re qualified for the GAIG/USDF Region 1 Dressage Championships (North Carolina).
Potts brought both of her horses to the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships, with “Byrd” finishing eighth in the Bates preliminary amateur division and Fever finishing 16th in the training amateur division.
When she’s not riding, Potts, who resides in Upperville, Virginia, works as a small animal veterinarian.
“Variety is the spice of life,” she said. “I work four days a week, long days. I do 1 ½-2-hour commute every day. Most of the time, I end up getting up before work to ride one or two of them. It’s the amateur life. And on days off I’m like, ‘Sorry husband.’ I’ll get up every day early, so I can have a day off and spend with the husband because he’s very understanding, very supportive, but I don’t want him to feel too neglected.”
Potts keeps her horses at home, so she doesn’t get a ton of riding done in the winter months unless she hacks to a nearby indoor.
“I am tired most of the time, and that’s OK because there is this fiery passion burning inside me to do all this stuff, and I would rather be that way than not do it,” she said. “And I think that’s what the amateur thing’s all about, honestly. There are many people who have the same story as I do. Some people don’t do it with two, but I’m lucky enough that I can afford to do it with two, and I have the ability physically and financially and emotionally to get it done.
“Just grateful that I have two rides, and it makes me so much more flexible because if I only had one or the other, then I would have no idea how to ride type No. 2 if I only had type No. 1,” she continued. “So it’s really making me well rounded, so I’m hoping to keep that going in the grand scheme of things. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.”
The Chronicle is on-site at the USEA American Eventing Championships bringing you coverage and beautiful photos from the competition. If you know a pair with a unique story, email Kimberly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ride times and live scoring are here: https://eventing.startboxscoring.com/eventsr/aec/ht0819/
The schedule is available here: https://useventing.com/events-competitions/aec/aec-schedule-of-events