Rick Wallace and His Horses

The 2011 Eventing Season has been, for the most part, a great season for me and Cody (Ultimate Victory). I have slowly brought my big TB up the levels and I have been deligent in his training. I purchased Cody in 2006 as a 3 year old sitting in a pasture at a dressage barn in Ocala.

Of course, I give credit to my daughter for her internet searches and a phone call telling me I should check out a young horse she had found in one of her recent scans across the web. I was traveling through the Ocala area after a short vacation and stopped by to see what Elisa’s gut instinct had found.

Well, Cody – named Winston at the time, was a skinny, faded bay with no white except a bit of white hairs on his head and stood about 15.3 hands. He was roaming around the dressage farms paddocks, not really getting any attention and looking a little scared at human interaction. After a quick look at his gates and a managed lounge over an X, I purchased him and made arragements to get him back to Tallahassee. At the same time I purchased a 5 year old TB – named the Red Devil – I renamed him McIntosh – Tosh for short. Later I discovered his name sake.

After getting both horses to a the farm where I was boarding, I began to assess the two new prospects. The plan was to keep them a couple of years and sell them and purchase another two.  flash foward almost 6 years and I still have them both. This is not to say I did not stick to my plan.

I began working with both horses, virtually having to break Cody and do some adjustments to Mr. Devil – Tosh. Tosh turned out to be mis-understood – that sounds familiar – project Leap of Faith (Mia) in 2000. Tosh also turned out to be a freakishly great jumper. I found Tosh not to be a devil at all, but a dennis (the mennis). He just wanted to play and by play, I mean jump on you and knock you around.  A couple of “knock it offs” and he settled into a charasmatic, very funny horse.

Cody needed a lot of understanding and the opportunity to build trust with someone. This we did together and he began to settle into a new life of training and horse showing. I took both horse to events in the beginner novice division and managed to take them to as many local hunter/jumper, dressage and combined training shows I could find.

Tosh moved up the ranks quickly but a breathing problem kept me from pushing past preliminary level. I had several people interested but the breathing problem seem to be a “no sale” issue. Cody, began growing… butt first, so I had a downhill youngster which was a time issue called growth and grow he did!!!

Turns out, at the age of 5, I sold Cody to a dressage client. Cody became very rideable and I had been showing him a lot in dressage. Linda, my client, was a small, petite woman and the two stayed in training with me and progressed nicely until Cody decided to grow  even more. He ended up being a large 16.3, 6 year old and with the ups and downs with Linda, I purchased Cody backfrom her and Elisa found Linda a super dressage pony named RU.

So funny how things work out… When I sold Cody, Linda traded her mare, Autumnas a part of her purchase .  Autumn was an American WB - she was a dynamite and she did nicely in eventing. An unfortunate schooling injury at home, ended her career and I sent her to Elisa to let her breed her….. thus Corwin now exists. Tosh, well I sent him to Auburn and had the tie- back surgery. A three month recovery and I decided to do him in the jumpers. I ended up selling him in 2009. This left me with just Cody and I began really working on dressage.

In 2009, I moved to Jacksonville for a year and was showing Cody at 2nd and 3rd level dressage and competing him at the Novice level in Eventing. We had some successes in the dressage ring but I really wanted to have an upper level event horse so I began to concentrate on moving Cody up the levels. Cody had developed into an impressive looking horse, the white hairs on his head ended up being a perfect “V”.

His show name early on was Grand Forks but after the V came out, I decided to name him after my Advance Event Horse – Ultimate Trial (Lexi)- Using the “Ultimate” and the “V” for inspiration – I came up with Ultimate Victory…… Here we are in 2011 and I find myself with a pretty awesome horse and we have had a realively successful preliminary career so far. Cody just won the Area 3 Prelminary Horse Championships at Poplar Place May 6-8, 2011. We are heading to Chatt Hills May 20th to try the CIC* – We did Red Hills but had some green moments (not Cody, me). Amazing how age changes your riding style or perhaps it just the instinct of self preservation.  Which ever the case, I broke out my old videos and studied how I rode at 27 and actually learned alot from them.  It has helped me tremendously.

NOTE: Tosh was re-possessed last August after the new owners did not pay for him. He is now being ridden by a spectacularly talented young man (14 yo) who is doing the children/adult jumpers with him. Tosh has found a boy who really gets him and it is such a joy to watch them together. I love paying it forward.

My love of this sport spans over 30 years. I  had tremendous success in the late 80′s abd early 90′s with several horses.  The love of the sport was passed on to Elisa and she has had some great successes over the years.  With success comes some set-backs and I am proud of Elisa for sticking with it and working hard to find support of others.  She is building a great support system and this is essential for continued success.

I now find myself in a position that may move me back up to the Intermediate level and perhaps even Advanced level. Of course, one day at a time is what I keep telling myself. I have committed myself to the dedication of training Cody as I did so many years ago with Lexi – the differnce is I know more now. I really understand where I made the mistakes in the past and I am excited about my journey.

This journey is not with the goal of making the Olympic Team but the goal of doing my best and allowing my horse the recognition he deserves as he enjoys this journey with me. I hope to share more as I move into the Fall season. I am optimistic that my daughter will find some traction in her quest and best of all, I am enjoying my life, my children and my family as I wake up every morning to a new day.