Womenofageridinghorses.com - Full Interview
He was tied alongside a trailer at an endurance ride, offered for sale. Covered with sweat, he frantically paced back and forth along on the tie. His selling points was singular and not impressive – he bucked off every person who ever tried to ride him. By the end of the day, there were no takers. But she saw something no one else saw, the utter despair in his eyes. She knew this horse was at the end of his rope and she wanted to help him. She bought him on the spot. It seemed crazy at the time but turned out to be one of the best decisions of Joyce Sousa’s life.
Joyce Sousa was already an accomplished endurance rider when she made that fateful purchase in 1998. Joyce and her husband, Dennis, started competing in endurance in 1985. In 1998, her endurance horse was a big chestnut gelding, Jim Bob. Jim Bob would become Joyce’s first American Endurance Race Conference (AERC) Hall of Fame horse in 2005 with over 9,000 race miles. She could never have imagined at the time, that her $1,850 “crazy” purchase would yield another Hall of Famer and more, so much more.
His name is LV Integrity but the Sousas just call him Ritz. In 1998, he was a misunderstood 6-year-old Arabian that no one wanted. He retires this year an endurance champion, his career highlight with achievements few horses have ever accomplished.
WH: What were your plans once you bought Ritz home?
JS: The first morning started with Ritz charging me. I yelled and threw brushes at him and shooed him into a corner. He just stared at me. I approached him and started brushing him, he was shaking but did not move. He didn’t know what else to do but stand still and stare. We did this every day for three weeks. Then I sent him to a trainer friend, Rex Minton.
Rex started by simply saddling him then walking outside the arena. Ritz would buck and buck until he was tired. As soon as he stopped bucking, Rex removed the saddle and the day’s lesson was over. The first six days were all the same; saddle on, buck until tired, saddle off. My first report from Rex was simply, “this horse can buck”.
On the seventh day, Rex saddled Ritz but there was no reaction. He mounted, and the two walked quietly for a few minutes, lesson over. Three weeks later, Rex phoned with another report, “Joyce, I think you’ve got a horse...”
Read more here: