Second Career Star: This Is Debt
Second Career Star: This Is Debt
By Andrea Caudill
A warhorse, in racing parlance, is a horse who has made more than 50 career starts. By its very definition, a warhorse has to be not only talented, but also sound and gritty enough to withstand the rigors of an extended campaign.
This Is Debt, a 2005 sorrel gelding, is a warhorse – and is now a first-race speed event horse.
Bred in Ontario by Brian Farrell, he was campaigned by the Farrell family – owned by Bill, trained by Laurie – exclusively at Ajax Downs in a career that spanned from 2007 to 2011. He won or placed in 15 of his 52 starts, earning $57,698, including appearances in the 2008 Maple Leaf and Ontario Bred and Foaled derbies.
Sired by Royal Evening Snow, he is out of the Pacific Bailey mare Pipe Dream Bailey.
Brandi Lloyd is a lifetime horsewoman, and is friends with the Farrell family. She served as a groom for This Is Debt during his racing career, and loved his Pacific Bailey bloodlines. She asked the family if she might be able to get him when his racing career was over and train him for speed events like barrel racing and pole bending.
“They called and said he’s ready to come and get,” Brandi says. “I picked him up and we gave him about a year off, and then I started him back. He’s been super easy. He’s light, runs to the snaffle, took to the barrels really easily. He’s excelled in pole bending. He keeps getting better and better.”
The horse the family calls “Pretty Boy Roy” or “Roy” has adapted well to his new life. Brandi trained him on the barrel pattern by riding exhibition runs at events while her two sons were running their ponies. She says that Laurie Faurell’s horsemanship and early training of Roy made the horse’s transition from racing to arena competition especially easy.
When her son, Ty, was old enough, Roy was given to him for a Christmas present. They have been competing together for about four years.
“Roy and Ty just click,” the proud mom says. “They make a great team. I trained the horse, but he runs harder for Ty. Ty motivates differently than I do, too, and kinda hangs it out there, and Roy really tries for him.”
Roy has earned 6.5 points in limited AQHA competition, as well as several Top 10 finishes in barrels and pole bending at the prestigious All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.
The family goes to events together, mainly competing at National Barrel Horse Association and Ontario Barrel Horse Association competitions, with Brandi and Ty riding, and her dad and younger son sitting together in the stands, providing priceless Statler-and-Waldorf-type commentary on their videos.
“He’s pretty great,” Brandi says of Roy. “He has an attitude some times, but as far as working with him, he has a great work ethic, he’s happy to do his work and do his job.”
While Roy is the family’s first second-career racehorse, he’s probably not going to be their last. In addition to having a great horse, they’ve also gotten checks from the Ontario Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program, which promotes the careers of Ontario-bred racehorses even after they leave the racetrack.
“Honestly I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Brandi says. “I’d encourage anyone interested to look at one for sure.”
Second Career Stars is an ongoing series on retired racing American Quarter Horses in new careers. If you know of a horse that should be featured, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.