Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Success Stories: Exciting Journey With Jonny Be Bueno

Marisa Isbell, Jonny Be Bueno, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Success Stories
Marisa Isbell is enjoying the journey with off-the-track Thoroughbred Jonny Be Bueno, above. (Marisa Isbell photo)

The first time Marisa Isbell rode Jonny Be Bueno at Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Paso Robles, Calif., she could feel that he was a special horse. Even from the walk, she could tell that he was attempting to communicate with her and understand her with every leg aid that she applied.

Jonny seemed eager to converse with Marisa through the only way they could: body language. He was an incredibly sensitive horse, so he always responded right away, eager to figure out what Marisa asked.

Jonny is a gray 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. Sired by Rattlesnake Bridge out of Silver Spook, by Silver Deputy, he had an interesting sales history. He sold first at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s (OBS) 2016 August sale of selected yearlings for $55,000. He then sold again as a 2-year-old at the 2017 OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training for $80,000.

Jonny began his racing career in 2017 in Southern California, where he raced at Del Mar and Los Alamitos before he was retired. That is when he ended with CARMA and Redwings Horse Sanctuary, beginning a new chapter with Marisa.

“He is doing so well,” Marisa wrote.

For the first 10 or so months that Marisa owned Jonny, they did mostly groundwork, which serves as the first step in building a trusting relationship with a horse. Groundwork allows both horse and rider to get to know each other before progressing to riding. They did so much groundwork because Jonny was extremely reactive, and Marisa could tell that he needed time to unwind, to get used to his new environment and surroundings, and to gain some confidence. 

Marisa started riding Jonny shortly after the 10-month mark of his adoption.

“He has completely blossomed into a confident, poised, well-developed horse,” Marisa shared.

Jonny, once prone to spookiness and tension, can now remain calm even in the face of heavy wind, playing dogs, and passing cows. Jonny loves the mental stimulation that comes with practicing dressage. Marisa has even started teaching him how to jump over small jumps, which he is not impressed by in the slightest.

Marisa is looking forward to the continued journey of growth and partnership with Jonny. With dedication and perseverance, she aims to further develop his dressage skills.

Marisa also is eager to focus on improving Jonny’s jumping technique. As they progress, Marisa hopes to compete in three-day eventing competitions, where they can showcase their combined talents and celebrate their remarkable bond.

Together, they embark on an exciting journey filled with shared achievements, unforgettable moments, and the unwavering companionship that only a horse and rider can share.

The Jockey Club supports many aftercare initiatives including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, the only accrediting body in aftercare, and Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.), which encourages the retraining of Thoroughbreds into other disciplines upon completion of careers. View all of the initiatives supported by The Jockey Club.

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