"It’s about matching riders to horses, but also horses to riders."
- Candice Hudson
Nadia and Liv, the current owners of eight-year old, bay, thoroughbred, Joey, are reluctantly going to sell him. Liv is leaving riding, at least for now, to focus on competitive volleyball, with an eye on a scholarship for university.
When Candice, Nadia and Liv first looked at Joey he was 6 years old and had been racing until about 2 months prior. He had raced until he was 6 years old, which is a long time for a horse to race. Most stop before they are 4 years old.
Candice could see that his conformation was good and that he would make a good fit with Nadia and Liv. First, he physically looked like he could do what they wanted him to do. But, also, Joey’s disposition was good. His nature was nice. He was smart, relaxed.
Candice believed that Joey would be able to meet the expectations of Nadia and Liv over the next few years. For what Nadia and Liv wanted to do in the short term, Joey was completely appropriate and very affordable, since he was an off the track horse.
We asked Candice what is her way of looking at a horse with the intent of purchasing it. She answered that she looks at a horse’s strength and weaknesses to see where the horse would seem to fit in well. Then she tries to help find someone who would fit the horse. She finally added, “and vice versa”.
It is Candice’s “vice versa” that is so compelling here. Candice brings an interesting and important perspective to the equestrian world, and specifically to the negotiations of buying and selling in that world, in that she looks at the horse-owner relationship from both sides. She not only recognizes and respects what the potential owner needs in a horse, what the horse would bring for the owner, but also identifies what the potential owner would bring to the horse. It is this matching of needs, abilities and temperaments which makes Candice’s approach to horsemanship, and the purchase and sale of horses, not only so interesting but also effective. It is the bringing together of a person and a horse. It is the true meeting of an equine and a rider. It is the confluence of interests, like two streams finding their way to flow as one.
The horse in this perspective is not an object or product. It is not like an item of clothing, a sweater perhaps, that is pulled off a shelf to see if it fits, and to see how smartly it makes the potential owner look. The horse is itself, in Candice’s view, a subject, an equine subject, but a subject nonetheless. It is this recognition of the equine perspective that makes Candice’s view and agency within the equestrian world not only interesting but powerful. The horse is, in her view a living, breathing, entity that has its own outlook on life and its own relationship with people, with trainers, riders, farm hands, other horses, other animals. You could even say its own perspective on the world, an equestrian perspective, but a perspective all the same. This in large part, it would seem, explains the compassion Candice brings to the equestrian world. It is not that easy to whip a creature in whom you have recognized a unique perspective on the world. What is at stake here is our entire understanding of our relationship with horses. It is a question of understanding what we “see” when we look at, interact with, direct, teach, a horse.
We asked Candice to tell us a little bit more about Joey:
So, what makes Joey exceptional?
He has a really good demeanour. He is very social, he is very friendly. He has a very good head on his shoulders. He will still spook at the odd thing. He is still a horse. However, he holds himself together very well. It is almost like he is a very mature guy. It probably comes from being out on the track. He is calm. There could be a day when it is very windy and loud, and other horses are spooking, Joey will go out and I will always know that he will be okay. He will be dependable. He has got a lot of heart. He tries hard. He is very consistent. He comes out and is always the same.
What would be the goal of the person who would like to buy Joey?
Because he is a thoroughbred he will be less expensive than warmbloods. So, he would be good for someone who is on a budget who needs a good horse. He’d be suitable for someone who needs a horse with a good nature, in the horse world we would call him a good amateur’s horse. He’d be good for someone who wants to be competitive, doing the meter ten. I think he could do more, but in the horse world we have a saying that you never know what a horse could do until you get him there. He would be good for anyone who wants to show, and have fun, and enjoy their horse. I wouldn’t say that he is an “average Joe,” but he is a “good ole boy”. And he is very handsome.
Joey is kind of in your pocket... He has a lot of personality, but it is a very kind personality, he is a very kind horse.
Tell us something sweet about him.
He thinks he’s a dog... he is very sociable, he really wants to socialize with people. He is kind of in your pocket. Joey is like a pet for a teenager. He thinks it’s great. He has a lot of personality. He is always nibbling at you and wants to touch your coat. He has a lot of personality, but it is a very kind personality, he is a very kind horse.
Tell us a little about his development.
A horse like Joey had to be developed. He didn’t have his natural talent developed. The talent is in there, but everything in his life was flat and across the ground. He didn’t have the muscles. For Joey to learn to jump was for him like learning a different language.
Joey is fortunate in that he is a nice-looking horse. But on the other hand, Joey is on the smaller size. (Editor’s note: Joey is just 16 hands on the dot!) In show jumping everyone likes big horses. But think of Hickstead, one of the greatest show jumpers in the history of the world, was small. Hickstead was famous for being ... tiny! Many a great horse was small. There was a pony in the Olympics that was actually a pony! You’d lose sight of him as he would approach the jump, all of a sudden, he would disappear, and then he’d come over the jump!
So, they have to have the heart. They have to want to do their job. One thing I knew about Joey, because he had raced so long, he did well, we knew that he was a great competitor. That’s a tough life. And he came out of it with a great attitude. So, it said a lot about him.”