Melissa adopted Fly Lite in October 2009 through the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center after she had been rescued from a kill pen and subsequently returned by three previous adopters. Fly Lite participated in the World Equestrian Games as a demo horse, and as a feature on Unbridled TV. The pair has forged a bond that is an inspiration to anyone working with an OTTB.
Q: Describe your horse in one word?
Q: If your horse was a celebrity, who would she be, and why?
ALYSON HANNIGAN. Like Alyson, Fly is petite, short and red-headed. They are both opinionated, yet personable and down to earth. They can both be crazy red-heads, interesting to be around, and can entertain a room full of people. Both ladies are full of talent, potential and personality … In the end they are both petite, short, and fiery red heads :)
Q: What was the biggest challenged you faced in retraining your horse?
Fly can be very hot and opinionated under saddle. Her loving and quiet demeanor on the ground was very deceiving. This was incredibly hard for me to learn to trust her, that she wasn't going to buck me off or run away with me but instead to work with in and form a partnership. Already a quiet rider, I had to totally re-learn how to use my aids in a more effective way than just "quiet". It has took us 3 years to form this trusting bond.
Q: What is your best retraining tip for other OTTB owners?
Give it time. You must give yourself time to adjust to your horse and your horse time to adjust to you. If nothing else makes you humble, your OTTB with find a way to do so but don't let learning opportunities pass you by. Just because he/she may be hot and uneasy one day doesn't mean you can't take that time to teach yourself or your horse something else. It is almost ALWAYS a rider error -- retraining an OTTB is difficult for the horse as well, don't let your frustrations get taken out on him/her, they don't know any better.
Q: In one sentence, what is your favorite thing about your OTTB?
Fly has really made me a better rider and continuously tests me as the chestnut mare that she is and that opinionated personality is what makes her unique and a once in a lifetime horse!