by Winnie Morgan Nemeth
Standardbreds are consistently showing their versatility, whether it’s for riding or driving, for show or pleasure. Hoof Beats is happy to share stories from readers about their favorite retired Standardbreds. This month, Winnie Morgan Nemeth writes about two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, who has made the transition from harness racing to riding.
Although his time on the racetrack has ended, Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, is still capable of generating headlines around the world in his second career.
Trained by Linda Toscano and driven by Tim Tetrick, the son of Revenue S earned $3.79 million and possesses 32 victories from 100 career starts. His many accolades include triumphs in such contests as the Canadian Trotting Classic, Breeders Crown Open Trot, Maple Leaf Trot, American-National Stake, Zweig Memorial and Maxie Lee Memorial. Market Share was a two-time Dan Patch Award-winner, as he was named 3-year-old male trotter of the year in 2012 and best older male trotter the following year.
Now a gelding, Market Share was bred by a small operation in Paris, Ky., the fourth foal out of the unraced Yankee Glide mare, Classical Flirt. His breeder, Hayley Moore, stated that the colt was a “handful” as a youngster with a “streak in him that you had to be careful.” As Market Share progressed in his training, not much changed, but above all, he enjoyed his job. It wasn’t long before “Markie” had become a barn and fan favorite.
Most stallions that enjoy this type of success on the racetrack move on to stud duty. In 2016, however, Market Share was found impotent during the test breeding process. Without a lucrative stud career ahead of him, he then raced for several more years, until owners Richard Gutnick, Bill Augustine and T L P Stable, along with Toscano, announced he would be officially retired in May 2018.
“After deciding to retire, it was clear that Market Share needed a change of scenery,” said Toscano. “He was bored here, and needed a place to transition from racehorse life to riding horse life. We asked the Tetricks if they would take him on, and I think that is the best place for him for now.”
The lifestyle in a racehorse barn is much different than at a riding horse facility. Racehorses need adequate time to adjust, as their routines change drastically in a short period of time. A riding horse facility will have different handling methods, a different environment and different expectations of a horse. Without ample time for adjustment, this transition can be very stressful for the horse and the new rider/owner.
When most racehorses retire, owners—and some trainers—are unaware this transition time is necessary. Unfortunately, if the recipient of that retired horse is unaware and encounters problems, horses can end up in a poor situation. Luckily, Market Share’s owners and trainer were well-versed in this process, and took it upon themselves to make sure Markie received all the time he needed. His connections, including Toscano and the Tetricks, support placing horses in second careers and understand the importance of proven equine aftercare programs.
Even with a career where he traveled extensively, Market Share struggled with change. Once he was an official resident at the Tetrick Farm, he slowly learned to mingle with others, adapt to a new feeding schedule, and drink from a water trough. As a few weeks went by, he became bored.
“When he gets bored, he becomes naughty, and so it was time to go to work,” said Ashley Tetrick, who would be the one to re-train Market Share. “He enjoyed having a job, so I took Linda’s suggestion and created a routine for him. He was adamant that I maintained that routine as well.”
After a few weeks of working him in a round pen and under saddle, it was clear to Ashley that this horse was talented.
“He has a lofty, magnificent trot with a gorgeous extension, but when he gets mad or confused, he will switch to the pace,” she said.
Ashley consulted her husband, Tim, who was Market Share’s regular driver throughout his career.
“Just tell him to trot,” Tetrick responded to his wife.
Ashley shrugged off his response with an eye-roll, and consulted Toscano. She was not expecting the answer she received.
“Tell him to trot,” Toscano said. “Throughout his entire career, if he got rolly-gaited, I would just say, ‘Mark, trot.’”
The next morning, Ashley was in the round pen with Market Share for their usual surcingle work. Each time he transitioned to the pace, Ashley told him to trot and he did.
“I was shocked and I also owe my husband an apology,” she said. “I know it seemed so simple, but he is a brilliant animal. (When he was) under saddle, it worked the same way.”
Once those kinks were ironed out, it was clear this horse could and would do anything asked of him. After being approached by Rob Pennington, show manager for the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of New Jersey (SPHO-NJ), Ashley decided to show Market Share at the National Standardbred Horse Show on Aug. 10-12, 2018.
“Once my entries were in and paid, I was committed,” she said. “I would have loved to have another month or two, but he is a true professional and I was confident in him.”
Although Ashley is an avid barrel racer, she traded her jeans and spurs for breaches and tall boots.
“Markie travels like a hunter; therefore, I showed him as a hunter,” she said. “I knew that is where he could be most competitive. Although I’m not the most confident in an English saddle, I didn’t mind trying hard for him.”
On Aug. 11, Market Share was braided and prepped for his first show. Their first class was Showmanship, where he had to compete in-hand and follow a pattern of movements on which he would be judged. With 19 horses entered, Market Share’s name was called last as the winner.
With tears welling in her eyes, Ashley gracefully walked him to receive the award.
The rest of the day was nothing less than stellar for the duo, as they placed second in the Open Showmanship, third in the In-Hand Championship final, and first in three more events: In-Hand New Jersey-Bred, In-Hand War Horse, and In-Hand Gelding.
The next morning, Market Share competed for the first time under saddle, where he was third in the Fresh Off The Track class and second in the Novice Pleasure Horse category. At the end of the show, Market Share was the Fresh Off The Track Reserve High Point Champion.
Despite their fellow competitors preparing for this show for several years, Market Share was able to put it all together in less than 90 days.
“Markie is proof that great horses know how to win, no matter what you ask them to do,” Ashley said.
Market Share is now enjoying his time at the Tetrick Farm, and will continue to do so until Laura Young, the farm manager of Southwind Farms in New Jersey, takes him as her personal show horse. There had been rumors that the Kentucky Horse Park was interested in adding him to its Hall of Champions, but Ashley preferred to see him move on to someone that would further his show career.
“Market Share has so much potential to continue to be an incredible riding horse,” she said. “He absolutely loves having a job; regardless of where he ends up, he will be the barn favorite.”
Market Share’s swift transition from a champion racehorse to a champion show horse demonstrates Standardbreds really can do it all.
Winnie Morgan Nemeth is the Standardbred program director at New Vocations. To comment on this story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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