September 28, 2012 ~ Garrett Ford of Durango, Colorado, is passionate about feet. Owner of the EasyCare horse boot company, his product and research & development on proper handling and protection of the foot of the horse have often made the difference between sore and sound.
An avid endurance rider, the 41-year-old Ford rode his first 100-mile Tevis Cup when he was 13. Having started the ride nine times, he has completed eight. His 2012 win on Fury, a horse that was once passed along as too hard to handle, was the third try, and third finish for Fury, who came in fifth and received the Haggin Cup in 2010. “Tevis is the only 100 Fury has done,” said Ford. Ford completed the 2012 Tevis riding with his wife, Lisa, on Cyclone.
“I’ve purchased ex-track horses for many years and they’ve made incredible endurance horses,” said Ford. What does he look for in an endurance prospect? “I am 6 foot 4 inches,” stated Ford. ”I look for bigger horse; a horse with bone, substance and good feet.They have to have good feet. I prefer a horse that is forward and likes to compete.”
Ford’s passion for pushing the envelope with Arabian horses with distance has presented him with another outlet for competition – Arabian flat racing, a discipline that he has pursued with some success for over a year.
His purchase of a racing Arabian was also an experiment with a race shoe. At Arapahoe Park, he claimed a six-year old with the unlikely moniker of Clunk. Ford wanted to see how the horse would run in his prototype Easy race shoe instead of the traditional aluminum. Unfortunately, stewards of the Arapahoe track made the decision that the polyurethane glue-on racing shoe could not be approved for the Colorado racetrack.
After several negative appeals, Ford took Clunk home to his 50-acre ranch and started conditioning for endurance work. Clunk finished fourth in his first 50-mile ride in July.
“The last few years I’ve become intrigued by owning racing horses directly,” said Ford. “Dianne Waldron of RoseBrook Arabians was a big help.”
In 2011, after talking with Waldron, he bought, sight-unseen, Nouveau Rich (TH Richie x Djenzel by Djendel).
“He originally called me about an endurance prospect,” said Waldron. “I knew he was a real horseman and knew how to evaluate a horse. I try to encourage new race owners and make their experience successful. Nouveau Rich was my pick that year for racing. He had been my favorite since he was born. He had the exaggerated qualities that I love; good-looking, very athletic, very correct and with an attitude. I knew he would be good on the track, and would also make a super-star endurance horse. I had confidence in Garrett, as endurance riders know how to keep a horse fit, take good care of them, and connect with them over many miles.”
Waldron was correct about the colt. Nouveau won his first outing at Delaware Park in May of 2012.
On the RoseBrook Farm there are 18-20 babies on the ground each spring. Racing and endurance are her biggest fans, and Waldron enjoys international clientele. She recently sold Nouveau’s full brother, Live Rich, to a buyer in Abu Dhabi, and the 2009 colt by Burning Sand, Djent, on to Oman for their racing programs.
Ford has now purchased six horses from RoseBrook Farm, and thinks he will have four or five horses ready to run next season. Horses now in race competition are Nouveau Rich, RB Brilliant, and Rich Sister, and he is preparing RB Rich and RB So Rich. There are six more in endurance training.
When Ford saw RB Brilliant (Burning Sand x Ammante by Dormane), it was love at first sight. This horse, according to Ford, has it all. “Brilliant is tall, and very straight. He’s the tallest Burning Sand colt I’ve ever seen, and in my opinion the most correct. He will make an incredible endurance horse in several years after his track career.”
Brilliant made a brilliant run at Delaware Park in September, 2012, winning the Arabian three-year old six-furlong race in the time of 01:21:74.
“Track folks and endurance folks are a bit different and it’s been a nice change to get involved with a different part of the horse industry,” said Ford about his racing interest. “The hardest thing about the track is giving up control of your horse. In endurance I train, feed, trim, tack, etc. You get to know a horse, how the horse is progressing and when the horse is ready or needs a rest. In the track world, you turn over your superstar to a trainer and hope for the best. In a perfect world, I would like to do some of the training and work more closely with a trainer. The flat track is a whole different world but one that I would like to learn more about. My goal is to be a hands-on owner and try some things on the track that are not done due to cost or inconvenience. I hope Lisa and I will be involved in racing Arabians for many years into the future.”