Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stories from off the Track: Sarah and Bohemian

 I decided to start a series on my blog, called Stories from off the Track, where I will spotlight bloggers with OTTBs. If you would like to be featured, you can submit your story by emailing me at

 Without further ado, I bring you Sarah and Bohemian, from Eventing in Color. If you don't know her, go check out her blog.
Photo by Sharon Weaver.

Their Story

 My horse's Jockey Club name is Bohemian Spirit. I kept the name Bohemian because it suits his personality. He is 9 years old this year. He was not a very talented racehorse, never "breaking his maiden" (winning a race). But he was smart and handsome, so HBO bought him and used him for filming the HBO TV series "Luck" with Dustin Hoffman. The show was cancelled after just one season and all the horses were adopted out.

 I got Hemie through Thoroughbred Rehab Training Center, Inc which is just a few minutes from Santa Anita Racetrack. My trainer and the rehab center's manager picked Hemie out for me based on my experience and goals - I did not try out a selection of horses as most people normally do. I met him in a box stall with my trainer and close friend. I did not test ride him or even trot him out - I just signed the paperwork and my trainer led him onto the trailer!

 We quickly became close friends and have a very special bond, but we certainly have had some challenges.

 Our first challenge was that Hemie had a problem with the idea of going forward. I thought this was quite ironic for an ex-racehorse. Especially early on in our training, he would get stuck in place and get more up-and-down rather than move out. Sometimes he would wiggle sideways or swing his hips or shoulders instead of just move forward. Luckily my trainer is very experienced with OTTBs and we've been able to address it through consistent, positive training. 

 Our second challenge was Hemie's inexperience as a personal pleasure mount. As a racehorse, and later as TV horse, he had a specific job to do. That job did not include looking out for the well-being of his rider. That job did not include easy-going relaxing rides, nor bareback work, et cetera. That was a fun challenge to fix - it took time but now Hemie knows how to just be a fun pleasure horse in addition to working on our "job" of eventing. Interestingly his spook has changed. He used to have huge spooks where he'd leap out sideways or bolt, but working bareback had taught him to look out for his rider and her balance, and now he has a much more subtle spook (even when under saddle).
A painting I made of Sarah and Bohemian.

 Right now we are starting our 2nd show season together. We are moving up from "Intro" to the "Beginner Novice" division in eventing. We both enjoy eventing so we plan to continue on in that discipline, potentially moving up levels as we gain skills and experience. I don't have particularly competitive goals - I just want us to do the best that we can.


  1. Very cool!! Love the painting. :) I love her blog as well.

    1. Thank you! Her blog is one of my favorites.

  2. Oh Paola, that painting is beautiful! Thank you so much!! It is an honor to be featured in your Stories from Off the Track series!

  3. Cool! Great job on the painting!

    1. Thank you. If you like, I can feature you and Loki next.

  4. Love this series! And Sarah and Hemie are awesome -- I love their blog!

  5. Great series! That is a nice painting!


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