A warhorse in every sense of the word with nine wins and 14 on-the-board placings for more than $155,000 in earnings during his 60 start career, Two Term Leader didn't take long to find a new home after retiring in August 2017.
The big, gray gelding was recommended to Christiana Botsch and her mother by Ira Schulman and it just took a few photos for them to instantly fall in love and purchase the now-9-year-old. From there, it was a natural fit to aim ‘Greyson’ at this year’s Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover.
“I did the Retired Racehorse Project with another horse last year and loved the experience, so figured why not try it again,” Botsch said. “I chose the show hunter division due to his movement and jumping form. He enjoys just plodding along versus getting amped up like you see in the jumper ring.”
Starting Greyson back at the basics, Botsch made sure she kept him from getting bored. That tactic paid off with Greyson moving through the levels every time they traveled to a show and always eager to advance even more.
“His over fences stuff has gotten better the more we drill the basics,” she said. “He’s been to five shows now, each time bumping the fences up a little bit more. He goes western as well, so some days we throw on the western saddle just to mix things up. He tries so dang hard every ride to give me exactly what I ask for, even if he doesn’t understand exactly what it is. He always gives me 110%.”
While he is always willing to give her everything he’s got, that comes with its own challenges with Greyson struggling to relax during his first few rides after racing. That prompted the Botsches to turn him back out for some more let-down time, a move that proved to be exactly what he needed.
“When I first started riding him, it took letting him have more time off to let his brain reset,” she explained. “He was nervous, had to hop over every ground pole, and getting him walk on a loose rein was pretty much impossible. So we let him sit for another 8-10 months before trying again, but it seemed to have done the trick!”
While Greyson isn’t her first off-track Thoroughbred, he is her first warhorse and has taught her a lot just in the short time they’ve been together.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to ride anything from ponies to Holsteiners, and in my opinion, no other breed can compare to the OTTB. These horses aim to please and give you everything they have every ride. They are truly remarkable animals,” Botsch said. “[Warhorses] have spent a much larger percentage of their life racing and their bodies and minds have been repeatedly put to the test from a racing perspective and they have held up. They have a heart for racing to last that long and that heart and the experience that they bring makes them super special.”
While Botsch is aiming to compete Greyson in the three-foot Hunters at the makeover, she said she’ll listen to what he tells her in the days before the show and go from there.