Horse Trainers On Vacation! Teddy's new family!
Yes! Odds are that even when "on vacation" "horse people", including horse trainers will somehow end up around or involved with horses! Why is that?
It's because, you don't get into horses because it's an easy way to make your living...or a business with a very high profit margin (trainers reading this just snorted their current beverage!). You become a full time horse trainer because you absolutely can't imagine doing anything else...you live it, breath it....heck, you even dream about it! I don't have many "bad dreams", but mine is that the paddock master is calling my class and I can't find my show clothes...usually my chaps. Everybody is different, but I challenge you to find a professional horse trainer that chose this way of life because of the financial rewards.
You choose it because, at one time, you loved the way the horses made you feel! It has to be slightly different for everybody, but even if they don't admit it, that's how it starts.
And for the lucky ones, we get to stay with it through thick and thin, good times and bad. Why? Because, deep down...they still make us feel better than anything else! And for a lot of us, we don't have to be the one handling the horse to get the buzz!
We will go to a horse show and when we watch the results announced, we remember how it feels when your name is called for a Top Ten or even better for Champion. I think everyone in the stands and watching at home has an idea, even if they've never shown a horse, how that must feel! For someone that has trained horses professionally or been in the biz a while, there are other types of moments that are just as rewarding!
The big events, where horse folk flock to from all over the country, are a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones! And sometimes, if you're very lucky...both at the same time.
This past week at Canada was especially fun for us as we got to watch two of "our boys" take home prizes at the Canadian Nationals! Mind you, we weren't the breeder of either...but, every horse we put some work into, will be a little bit "ours" forever. I think teachers feel the same way! If we've taught a young one to trust people and to enjoy learning and if we given them an attitude that they take down the road that makes them think "I can do this"...well then....I'm sincere in saying that probably means as much to us as a National trophy means to others. And I mean that 100%.
So, here's to "Teddy"! His registered name is Tikket To Fame. He was bred our friend, Barbara in Colorado, who approached us about taking him on as one of ours, back in the spring of 2009. Mind you, as a rule, it is NOT SMART for professional trainers to own their horses! Why? Simple economics! Client horse...income. Your own horse...expense. Every stall you have should have a client horse in it, so that you can simply make a living. But remember when I said that trainers "get into" horses because they love horses? Yeah...well, some of us don't get over it as much as others. And I would be one of those that have to work on not letting my heart get in the way of good business decisions. Really, I do try. And initially, I said "boy, I'd love to take him, but I can't". Really, I did! But, Barb was persistent. She knew we were fans of his sire (Shocwave). Who wouldn't want a young Shoc baby?! Barb knew how Mike and I trained and she knew our reputation for "doing right by" ANY horse that we had, and....yep, "Teddy" ended up "ours".
That was in February of 2009! And even in "pasture condition"...hairy. His nickname "Teddy" was because he was as fuzzy and cute as a teddy bear! He was woefully under handled, but, we fell in love with his personality! And it was a big personality!
Then fate threw us a curve that we never, ever could have imagined and we were suddenly, in March 2009, moving to NY for Mike to take over as the manager and trainer at WGA! So in August 2009, Teddy and our other 5 horses headed to NY! Without my own facilities, I needed to rethink the future of all of them. During the summer and fall, I had a perfect place for him, but winter in central NY...not so much!
Click here for link to Teddy video(Tikket to Fame), Freeville NY 2009! This footage would have been shot between Sept and October of 2009.
The trained horses fit in as lesson horses or were very easy to sell. It was the younger ones, Teddy and Dasha, that took a bit more thought. As seen in the video found at the link above, Teddy had talent! But it's a long, long road from talented to finished. It takes time, training, resources and no small amount of luck. What I wanted for Teddy was someone that would (and could!) take the time for that "just right" person to come across Teddy. There was no way that the right buyers were going to be in my part of NY any time soon.
In Teddy's case, I knew that Shoc's owners, Alica and Jack Pace stood 100% behind their Shoc babies! So I called Jack, deals were made, and Teddy went to Alicia and Jack's farm in OH! I made absolutely no profit on the deal, but I was confident that I'd put Teddy in the right hands! I'd call a couple of times a year and we'd chat, and Jack was always excited about how talented he was and that he was sure Teddy would end up a show horse with a great future. Well, that's what I'd hoped. But the reason that had contacted Jack about taking him in the first place, was that I was pretty certain that even if Teddy had not had the talent to be a "big time" show horse, Jack would take good care of him and see that he went to the right home.
To wrap up Teddy's story, let's just fast forward to our trip to Brandon, Manitoba and the 2014 Canadian Nationals. I had become Facebook friends with his new owners and I knew that he had shown at the Buckeye (and that was his FIRST show) and he "did good" AND that they were thinking of Canada for him.
And, what a great sight...Teddy, once again in Mike's lens!
And, how did he get those great big ribbons and roses...well, take a look through Jeff Janson's lens! Our little Teddy, all grown up and winning the big prizes!
There have been people that have actually said, "bet you'd wished you had kept him" Absolutely not!!!! If we had kept Teddy for our own, this story would never have happened.
What we did, is that for the short amount of time that Teddy was ours, we trained him just like the others...laying a foundation that we hoped would set him up for success with his future trainers and owners! We were honest about what we could do with him and what we wanted for him! When we finally met up with "Teddy's new Dad", Howard, it was at the photography booth and he was ordering National Champion win photos of Teddy and his daughter Jessica. That was so gratifying, especially as he and his family are the nicest people ever. And we didn't gush about how high Teddy can trot! We shared our mutual appreciation for the kind of horse he is...big hearted and kind! I can tell you with absolute honesty, we felt like National Champions ourselves!
Kathy Troxler and "Teddy" (Tikket To Fame by SF Specs Shocwave out of Barbary Dancer), 2009. Photo by Mike Troxler