Monday, December 07, 2009

The $5 Horse Endures!

Ibn at AHA Distance Roundup Ride in March

A "Horatio Alger" horse story

By Nancy Brannon
Everybody loves a good "Horatio Alger" horse story, and Steffanie Waddington has one about her Arabian endurance horse.

A few years ago a woman she knew passed away from cancer, and part of her husband's job in finalizing the estate was to find a home for his wife's two horses. Steffanie’s friend Jana Smith found out about the horses, got the husband's phone number, and the two made plans to go see the horses. Both were Arabians, and she and Jana liked what they saw and decided each would adopt a horse. The husband didn't want to give them away, but thought some meager compensation would be acceptable. So Steffanie paid $5 for the horse she chose: a bay gelding named Ibn Tom Terrific. "In Arabic, Ibn means 'son of,'" Steffanie explained, "and he is the son of TC Tom Terrific. He was bred in Williston, TN and born in 1993."

Steffanie took Ibn, boarded him at Cherokee Valley Farm and Stable in Michigan City, Mississippi and started taking riding lessons on him. The folks at Cherokee Valley specialize in endurance horse training and conditioning. Meanwhile, Steffanie was competing in 25- to 35-mile endurance rides on Rumor, her other horse.

In March 2008, Steffanie planned to ride Rumor in the City Slickers Endurance Ride at Shelby Farms in Memphis, TN, but a week before the ride, Rumor was injured. So Steffanie had to take Ibn instead, on the 25-mile ride. She rode with a friend whose horse was in good condition, but the rider was not. Before completing the ride, her friend dismounted, said she could not ride a step further, and encouraged Steffanie to finish the ride. Steffanie did, but came in dead last - 41st! However, their next ride one month later was a different story: Steffanie and Ibn placed fourth in a 30-mile ride.


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