Monday, June 06, 2022

OTT Standardbred Hillbillie Willie Rocks Endurance - Full Article

June 3, 2022

The Equestrian Vagabond is back to tell us all about her horse - Hillbillie Willie

By Merri Melde

"He’s a lot of horse: tall, lean, forward and fast. Hillbillie Willie is a 10-year-old off-the-track Standardbred turned-Endurance horse living in the Wild West - the desert of Owyhee County, southwest Idaho."

You could say I fell in love with Standardbreds as a tween back in the ’70’s. I discovered Hoofbeats magazine, and in those pages met the fillies Silk Stockings and Handle With Care, and Steady Star when he paced a world record 1:52 mile.

There wasn’t much chance I’d ever meet a Standardbred in south Texas though, and with no harness races ever on the television, my attention eventually drifted toward Thoroughbred racing.

I grew to know Thoroughbreds as a racetrack groom for a decade, and then I discovered my sport in Endurance riding in the late 90’s. I started working for the website, and I cared for and rode my boss Steph Teeter’s herd of Arabians in Endurance for 10 years.

It was early 2016 when, serendipitously, Steph decided on a whim that she’d like to try a Standardbred in Endurance. Through a friend with racing connections, she bought, sight-unseen, a 4-year-old gelding off the track. Steph asked for a short trotter and got a tall pacer. The story we heard was that Shotgun Rider raced at two and three (winning two races) and injured a hind leg. He’d gotten time off to heal, but when they tried bringing him back to racing, he was uninterested...

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