Laura + Bubbles
Breed American Saddlebred
The video loaded into messenger and I tapped it on my screen. A bay horse, small and somewhat peculiar, was prancing around a wooden round pen.
“That’s a nice trot, let’s see some canter” I thought as I watched the video. No sooner had I thought it than the voice from the video cued the canter. As if suspended on invisible cables he rolled effortlessly into a canter with such presence, cadence, loft and style that the imported warmbloods from my YouTube subscriptions would have been jealous.
I had been messaging with Jennifer, the founders of The American Saddlebred Legacy Foundation (ASLF). They had been given a “Be Mine Training Grant” from The Right Horse Initiative. The grant was awarded to three organizations to help fund additional training for their adoptable horses. The small bay horse in the video was one of the horses that was being funded through the grant. She explained to me that this horse named Born to Rage was, 4 years old, 15.3h and, had been started under saddle as a two-year-old in saddle seat, but they called him “rank”. ASLF had gotten him and found out he had severe white line and was in a lot of pain. He was very mouthy, had a big personality and cleared a thoroughbred in the field.
“Well behaved horses rarely go Grand Prix”, I thought to myself and made the plans to pick him up from a friend of the organization’s farm in April of 2019. He was everything I had prepared myself for. Back at my farm he bit the farm owner, the assistant trainer and me all on the first day he was home- but he moved like Pegasus and I knew it would all be worth it.
Through round pen work and ground work all over the farm I grew his trust and he grew my admiration. He started following me everywhere and would come trotting up when he saw me walking around the field. The girls at the barn called him my paparazzi. By the time I swung my leg over his back, I had no illusions about who this small, plain, “off-breed” horse was.
The trusting and affectionate bond that I formed with Bubbles is different than any bond I’ve made with any of my other horses. The blue ribbons were adding up and the recognition that USDF/USEF were giving us cemented my decision to display and compete him at the 2019 USDF Breeders Series Championship at Dressage at Devon as the first Saddlebred to ever qualify and compete in the Materiale Championships there. We left with a fistful of ribbons there, too.
The list of accolades he has accrued is impressive. He is the first Saddlebred to compete in the USDFBCS Materiale Championships and the first Saddlebred to compete in the USEA Young Event Horse Series. His average USDF Score is in the 70s. He is eventing at Novice Level and showing recognized dressage at First Level. He has shattered glass ceilings for his breed and for repurposed horses. He has given me wings and taught my to fly with the best of them.
Had all of this not happened, though, I wouldn’t love him any less.
What #RightHorse means to me
The #RightHorse means finding the perfect partner. A horse who wants the same things that I do – to have a full connection from personality to performance while also being a part of a community that helps other horses in their transitions to great homes.