24 Oct From $1 Horse to the CDI3* Grand Prix at Dressage at Devon: Sponsored Rider Jennifer Truett Rides Lafayette HQ to Top Finish
Enviro Equine & Pet would like to congratulate Sponsored Rider Jennifer Truett and her horse, Lafayette HQ, on a standout sixth place finish this past weekend in the CDI3* Grand Prix Special at 2017 Dressage at Devon, one of the premier dressage competitions in the country. Jennifer and “Taffy” secured their sixth-place finish with a total score of 61.510. Though the road to Dressage at Devon was not easily paved, Jennifer and Taffy’s redemptive story proves that struggle makes success that much sweeter.
Jennifer is the owner, head trainer and clinician at Dancing Horse Farm in Lebanon, Ohio and has successfully rehabilitated many horses from potentially career-ending injuries and psychological issues, but her partnership and accomplishments with Taffy constitute her greatest success story. Jennifer acquired Taffy in late 2009, three years after he had suffered a major leg injury that left him out of work for that entire period. With hardly any training and a frantic demeanor, Taffy seemed destined for an unfortunate fate until Jennifer made the decision to try to rehabilitate him and purchased him for a mere dollar, with the goal simply being to produce a low-level riding horse. In only seven years under Jennifer’s training and care, Taffy transformed from green-broke and lame to a Grand Prix horse earning honorable scores. The pair have won numerous top ten USDF Horse of the Year placings, Regional and Zone Championships, and have formed a unique bond unlike any other.
A devoted user of Enviro Equine products, Jennifer has loyally fed Taffy and other horses Enviro Equine’s OmegaBalance, GastroBalance and ElectroBalance, and is also a fervent advocate for the Fly Spray PLUS. Since adopting the products, Jennifer has been a wonderful proponent of the all-natural message behind the products, and her horses are healthier than ever.
How were you introduced to Enviro Equine?
This past winter in Florida, I had a couple of horses who came in – one from Europe and one from a client in the States – that just had bad hair coats and their nutrition wasn’t good. We weren’t happy with how they looked and am equine therapist we used for the horses said she had a couple of extra gallons of Enviro Equine’s OmegaBalance product. She dropped off a gallon for me a try and said ‘you will see a difference in a week’ and I thought ‘oh yeah, whatever.’ We wound up putting the two horses on it and, literally, within a week they looked better. It was pretty impressive.
Some of my clients started using the product, and I was hearing from the clients how excited they were about the changes they were seeing in their horses on the product, as well. The OmegaBalance was different because of the camelina oil than the other omega products I had been using in the past, and it managed the effect I was trying to create.
We switched my Grand Prix horse, Taffy, over to it and I was very happy. I wound up talking with Angela Brackett-Knowles, [Marketing and Sales Director for Enviro Equine] about the GastroBalance product as well as the ElectroBalance product because I was just getting ready to go back to Ohio from Florida. On the long trip last fall my grand prix horse had had shipping fever, so I’m hyper-vigilant about what I give him and always make sure he has enough water and whatnot.
I decided to test run the ElectroBalance paste on the way home with all of the horses and – it’s a two-day journey, 22 hours total – I have never seen horses drink water like they did coming home. I couldn’t believe it. They all downed an average of a bucket and a half at our layover point, and another bucket and a half or two buckets when we got home. We were just filling their water buckets. I was so impressed.
After that I started talking with Angela about the possibility of a sponsorship and that’s how that came to be because I was just blown away with the products. That was my introduction – the OmegaBlance first and then the ElectroBalance and GastroBalance, and I was sold.
Do you still use those products on your horses?
Absolutely I still use them, as well as the fly spray. I have never seen anything that works like their Fly Spray PLUS. I have probably sold hundreds of gallons of that fly spray by now for them; I tell everybody about it because it’s unbelieveable. We have a half-mile track here at the farm with a retention pond to one side of it and during the spring and early summer the bugs are so bad out there, we just cut that side of the track off, we don’t even go over there. I think Anglea first gave me the Fly Spray PLUS at Rolex, and so I rode Taffy back there and when I looked down the bugs were literally not even landing, they were almost bouncing off. I thought that was amazing. We started trying it on other horses and found it to be exactly the same. The bugs just bounced off, they never even landed on the horses. Plus it smells so good and I love the fact that it’s all-natural and that it’s all totally legal for FEI competition and USEF so I didn’t have to worry going into that show. It took a lot of stress off of me, as well. I am just thrilled with all of the products.
Can you tell us about your special story with your horse, Lafayette HQ?
I bought him for a dollar. I have had him for 8 years now and he came to me from his breeder with a group of other horses for me to train and sell for her. He had been standing in the field for three years before coming to me because when he was 4 years old he let himself out of his stall when the stall cleaners were working, and he got his left hind leg caught up in the tongue of the manure spreader that was sitting in the aisle. He wound up longitudinally fracturing his cannon bone on his left hind and did a bunch of damage. He has scars all up and down his left hind leg and hip and his left shoulder. He has a big mound of scar tissue on his left shoulder which has made saddle-fitting quite an adventure the whole time we’ve had him.
When he came, initially the first thing he did was bite my mom. He was completely insane, he stall-walked like a crazy thing and I looked at him and said to my husband and my mom that I thought he should go be an eventer because he seemed pretty crazy and he’s super athletic. I didn’t know that I even wanted to ride him. I had him for about a week and called the breeder/owner and said that he was really lame and he’s a complete chicken about everything, he’s very difficult to ride. I had to run him into walls in the beginning to even stop him, and he was so atrophied on the left side after compensating for three years from the injury that I wasn’t willing to represent him. I thought that he wouldn’t be saveable in a short period of time, and she said that she would do the right thing by him and put him down.
It struck me because I had just lost my Prix St. George horse and imported a baby, so I guess a had an opening in my heart and I had a big hole where my Prix St. George horse had left, so I said to give me a few weeks and let me see if I can come up with any friends who might be interested in a project. I didn’t think that I was really that interested. I knew he was a super nice horse, but he just had so many things that were wrong. I always communicate with my horses what’s going on, and I kind of told him, and every day I would ride him and he would try. He had more try than any horse I had ever ridden, and I would ask him really simple things and he would make every effort to try to answer my request. It was amazing, so I finally said that I would give him a try. I didn’t know what I was going to do with him, but I bought him for a dollar and we spent about a year and a half rehabbing.
I think close to half of the tests around that time we were actually able to finish because we were bolting around the arena, running out of the arena – it was insane. When he did First Level, I though ‘this is it, this is the pinnacle. He doesn’t have to do anything else. He has proven that he can get around a test and keep it together.’ I didn’t really think that he was ever going to go beyond that, and then when we started trying flying changes with him, we cleared every warm-up ring for the first half of the show season because he would have cleared a three-foot fence and then just bolted. He was a horrible bolter, and everybody would just leave, and I wound up in tears. I had no brakes, I was terrified, but in the end we wound getting a reserve championship at Regional Championships at Third Level, which was insane.
He just kept going and I never, never, never looked at that horse and thought be would be a Grand Prix horse, or go to Devon. There was never any possibility of it because mentally he was so unstable and there were so many things stacked against him. He has only been able to do what he has done because he has so much heart and so much try, and I am endlessly amazed at what he does because he trusts me. He just wants to do it, he loves it.
What are your plans with Taffy?
I’m really not sure what my goals are. I wish I knew. He is 15 years old and stronger and better than ever right now. There’s a part of me that says he doesn’t owe me anything, but he loves doing this. He’s never going to be as big and fancy and awe-inspiring as the really big-moving horses. It costs a lot of money to continue to do CDI classes and I’ve been doing this because I’ve never done it before and he’s my partner and I really know I can trust him, so we are kind of experiencing all of this for the first time together. We will keep going to Wellington and I will probably do another couple of CDI classes with him. He is certainly going to keep competing nationally and we are going to keep working together, but I’m not really sure what else he has to do. He could just do nothing for the rest of his life because I have been completely satisfied since First Level, so I don’t know, I don’t have any big aspirations for doing high-level international competitions because I just know he’s not what they are looking for. My goal is to keep him sound and happy. If he wants to keep doing this, then we will keep doing this.
What can you say about your future as a part of the Enviro Equine team?
In my recommendations to clients and friends, I tell them that if they only want to spend a little bit of money to start and try these products, I always recommend starting with the OmegaBalance and the Fly Spray PLUS first and then, if they fall in love with it like I did, they can add the GastroBalance and ElectroBalance. Everyone loves them.
For more information on Jennifer Truett, please click here to visit her website.