Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Blogger Allie Conrad



Allie Conrad analyzes this year's Thoroughbred entries.

I won’t lie. I walked into the pancake-flat showgrounds at the Stadium in Wellington, Fla., and I wanted to be annoyed. Looking out at the cross-country course on manicured footing that looked as though nothing had stepped on it in the past year, I couldn’t help but think, “No. Nooooooooo. This isn’t eventing! This is show jumping over solid obstacles!” I wanted to not like it.

But here’s the thing.

It was awesome and SO much fun to watch.

If someone wanted to get up close and personal with eventing, this is the way to do it.

The Wellington Eventing Showcase is a close-in eventing experience, with spectator-friendly viewing of all phases in a compact show-village normally home to legions of dressage horses. Billed as a showcase with high-stakes, this “eventing lite” experience is perfect for the introduction of the sport to new viewers.

While the weather on dressage day was a bit nippy for the area, breezes and clouds didn’t keep spectators from watching 35 riders here to compete for $75,000 in prize money.

In this digital age, we’ve all come to expect instant information—whether we are looking for the temperature at precisely 3:27 a.m., or when we want a tidbit of information about a horse that caught our eye. 

I sell and place a lot of horses, and I meet a wide range of people—most of whom would make their mommas proud in the manners department. 

But there are a few of you that need a smacking with a heavy purse, and I think it’s time I let you know who you are, or at least tried to educate the people that turn my typical smile into what I call “Poo Face.” 


My mom has this freaky obsession with textiles. Sheets, towels, blankets and pillows are carefully stacked, labelled, put in matched set with ribbons a la Martha Stewart. She also has this freaky ability to know EXACTLY when one of her things is missing, and woe to the person responsible for its walkabout! We all pick on my mom for her constant compulsion to buy the next softer blankie or set of decadent sheets. I mean, Mom! You have 30 sets of 9,035 thread count sheets! WHY do you have these brand new ones? How many sheets and blankets can one person use?  

I came away from the Retired Racehorse Training Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover and Symposium at Pimlico this weekend with one predominant thought—Thoroughbreds and their fans ROCK!

Apparently the weathermen in the United Kingdom are much more reliable than in the States, because when they said the rain would stop at 3 p.m., and it was still downpouring at 2:50, we were skeptical. But, shine the sun did, and just in time for the largest number of horses to jog that I've personally witnessed.

A few drops here and there did not dampen the spirit of the crowd, though collective breathes were held while several horses were asked to be represented.

Over the years, CANTER Mid Atlantic’s retraining and rehoming model has evolved. At first it was very simple: Take horse from track—>Find horse new home.

Now it’s become: Take horse from track, give ample time off (three to six months), retrain for at least 30 days—>Rehome.

The current model is not the cheapest way of doing things, but this week I’m reminded of exactly why we do it this way.

I’m pretty sure Will Coleman never expected to be loading Cool Connection into a trailer and rushing him off to a surgery center in New Jersey only minutes after starting out on the Jersey Fresh CIC*** course this past weekend.

I watched the scores all day and frowned when I saw that Will Coleman and Cool Connection—owned by the rider, Tivoli Farm and Jim Wildasin—had a fall. I didn’t realize the seriousness of it at the time, but I soon got a phone call detailing the horrific—and entirely preventable—fall.



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