Changing Leads most often acquires horses that board members have personally known and horses that have been referred by trustworthy acquaintances in the racing industry. Relying on our network in this way helps to ensure our program horses have a willing attitude well-suited to retraining and the mental capacity to be a safe riding horse in a second career.
Pure Attitude, a 9-year-old son of Aptitude with 64 starts under his belt, was recommended to Megan Jones by notable racetrack veterinarian Dr. Heather Craven as being a fantastic horse and deserving of a proper retirement and transition to a second career.
Dr. Craven already owned two off-track Thoroughbreds and could not take on another, so she asked if Changing Leads could help the horse for her. After Pure Attitude was dropped in for $5,000 in a claiming race at Monmouth, he became only the third horse to be acquired by Changing Leads sight unseen.
The organization’s faith in Heather’s recommendation and request has certainly since been rewarded. The old warrior, referred to around the barn as “Paddy,” was turned out in Maryland to let down and then spent months trail riding at Fair Hill and in South Carolina before beginning a more formal education.
With only two months of serious documented training under his belt and rider Jessica Prescott less than a year off having her first baby, some might say they were bold to sign up for an Anne Kursinski clinic. However, “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to learn under her,” Prescott detailed, “so even though Paddy was green and still has a real tendency to be quite hollow to his right, I wanted to give it a go. At the end of the day clinics are about learning, not showing, and I really wanted the chance to capitalize on what Anne had to offer as I didn’t know when we would be in the same area as her again.”
Much of the clinic focused on suppling exercises for the horse, precision, awareness and position of the rider, and traveling straight and balanced after the jumps, an incredible exercise for a horse like Pure Attitude coming off the track. Kursinski is a well-documented admirer of Thoroughbreds for jumping, and her own famous Olympic partner Eros was an Australian off-track Thoroughbred. In a 2013 article by Molly Sorge in the Chronicle of the Horse, Anne was quoted as saying, “There’s nothing like a Thoroughbred. They’re so light on their feet and smart.”
We certainly agree with Anne and so greatly appreciate her helpful and patient instruction with Pure Attitude during her visit to Colorado.