It is sometimes said that one should surround themselves with people who inspire them. This is one cliché I can agree with. In the horse world especially, it is so easy to get caught up in the competition and the cut throat atmosphere. It is easy to become judgmental and even hateful at times. Surrounding yourself with horse show friends who do not fall to these temptations is something I try very hard to do. I have been very lucky to find some ride or die friends who I can say, wholeheartedly, inspire me.
Around 2011, I had just started showing Charlie as an all-around horse despite the fact he was just 4 years old and in his second year of showing. A new girl around my age showed up at the Ohio paint shows with a giant red roan gelding. Her name is Rachel Walcoff and her gelding is EFC Holesinmysocks. My parents are longtime friends with her trainer and through that mutual friendship we became friends. I learned the story of “Socks”, her giant gelding. They came across him for sale for $3500 and all he did was jump. He had cancerous sarcoids on his leg that had to be surgically removed and treated. He didn’t know the all-around events and given his older age, he wasn’t terribly interested in learning them. She was transitioning from showing Appaloosas and didn’t know anyone of the paint circuit. We quickly bonded over the crazy year of showing our polar opposite geldings; mine was young and clueless to the horse show world and hers was old and would rather not learn new tricks. We also just have a blast together; every show I see Rachel is bound to be a good time. Throughout the tough shows where the boys continuously screwed us out of winning with their antics, we realized that we were both in this for the same reason: a genuine love for showing and horses.
Fast forward a few years and we were back together again at the Pinto World Show. The geldings were much easier to show now. They knew their jobs and despite their ever present weaknesses; we both found great success. Rachel and I stayed up all hours of the night braiding our fingers raw to help pay for our classes. Charlie and I won reserve world champion in Western Pleasure and Rachel showed Socks in his strong classes of jumping and hunter events. I will never forget watching my sweet friend win her first world championship on that old roan gelding in the Amateur Dressage; my heart was overwhelmed with happiness for someone who had worked so hard to take a horse that no one believed in to the highest level of competition and WIN. She followed up that buckle with a win in Amateur Working Hunter and she literally danced her way out of the arena with her buckle. For someone who genuinely loves this sport, loves her grouchy old man and pays her own way to the horse shows through her summer job to reach such great success inspires me.
Currently, I am sitting at home, preparing Law School applications and writing papers and watching the APHA World Show live feed with jealously. Many of my friends are there showing, including sweet Rachel for her last show with Socks. I wish I was there with everyone. Two mornings ago I turned on my webcam just in time to catch the end of Rachel’s jumping pattern and the subsequent World Championship she received. Yesterday morning she won another one. She is having the show of her life and living her dreams; all on the back of a $3500 gelding that no one believed in. Despite the wish to be in Fort Worth, I could not be happier to watch someone receive the success they deserve. I am honored to be friends with someone who truly inspires me. I absolutely could not be more proud and happy for the success she is having. She pulled a diamond out of the rough and put in the hard work to make him the world champion he is today. Also, I could not be happier for our good family friend and Rachel’s wonderful trainer Ric who spotted the talent in that gelding and helped Rachel every step to bring them to this level as a pair.
Never underestimate the power of hard work, dedication and a little bit of love; the least likely candidate may just become a multiple world champion. You don’t have to have all the money in the world and the fanciest horse to win.
Written By Brandy Smith. Share this on Facebook if you believe in the power of a great horse with a big heart…regardless of price tag!