Looking For That Perfect (Cheap) Saddle

Cheap and saddle honestly do not belong together in the same sentence. Why? Because quite literally, you DO get what you pay for if you buy a cheap saddle. And it’s not just that you will be uncomfortable, but it will not make your horse all that happy either, and may actually harm him.

Ok you’ve tried cheap and figured out that isn’t the way to go. You’ve tried expensive and, well, that worked, but holy smokes are the prices ever high. So here are some tips on how to shop for your next saddle.
Saddles can be priced from several hundred dollars to more than $8,500, and specialty or antique saddles can easily range into the tens of thousands. You’re not going to be spending that kind of money, but you DO want to spend enough to get something decent and something that properly fits your horse. You will want to look for value, fit, fit and fit. Yes that’s right, THE most important thing about your saddle is that it fits right. Look at it this way, if you had a too tight or too big pair of underwear on you’d be downright squirmy. Why would you want to saddle you horse with something that doesn’t fit?
Before you go hunting, know the kind of saddle you want. Don’t just have a vague idea of what might work, have in mind a picture of precisely what you want. Then hit the road and start looking – for the right fit.
The saddle must fit you. English or western, jumping or cutting, pleasure or gaming, you must be comfortable in the saddle all the time. You don’t want to be thinking about your saddle when you are riding. The right fit makes your saddle seem like a natural extension of your butt.
If the saddle doesn’t fit your horse, no matter how great the price, it was too much to pay. If you’re looking at ready-made saddles, then make sure you have the try it before you buy it option. If they won’t let you try it, don’t bother – after all you don’t need to ride the horse more than a few minutes to determine fit. And if you put a pad under it and handle it carefully, you won’t damage it.
If the saddle is custom built, the saddle maker will want measurements of your horse in order to determine the proper tree, skirt lengths, gullet, etc. This is where you will be paying out good money. Emphasis on the good, because what you get will be precisely what you need and what your horse needs. Having said that, the price must fit your budget. And just because your budget is low does not mean you can’t find a saddle that has a proper fit. It just means spending the time to find it.
Try this: if you are ordering a custom built saddle, tell the saddle maker the highest amount you’ll pay, and then let him design to fit the budget. Saddle makers can be very creative and stay within the budget. Or try buying a used saddle that FITS, and is eye-appealing. That is often a better value than a new saddle. Into silver? Then only go with sterling because the silver-plated doodads and other imitations fade like crazy and are a waste of money. Just remember the saddle you want needs to FIT. Period!

Loading Your Horse onto a Trailer

Loading your horse onto a trailer is one of life’s many challenges. That is especially true if the horse isn’t sure that is where he wants to go. Loading a horse onto a trailer can be dangerous if people become frustrated and impatient, and then they start trying to yank or shove an unwilling horse into the trailer. A frightened or annoyed horse can start lashing out with his hooves or just mashing you into the side of the trailer. The end result will be the horse will not be in the trailer and you could be hurt.

There are ways to teach a horse to load onto a trailer, and just like all the other lessons you are teaching your horse, the horse’s smooth progress onto the trailer will depend largely on your patience and the horse’s history.

If the horse has had a horrifying experience being loaded onto a trailer, such as someone pushed, abused or roped it to get it on the trailer, it will take some time to get your horse accustom to going up the ramp and into a dark trailer. Of course if you start this training early in their life, you will have a horse that thinks it is perfectly normal to get onto the trailer to go somewhere.

Since your horse will need to walk up the ramp, stop at the end and don’t back up, you will need to break his training down into those separate parts. Your first objective will be to make your horse “walk”. In an arena, using a long lead rope with a 32-inch chain over his nose and up his side cheeks, take the lead in your left hand and a dressage whip in your right hand.

Give him the lead and say, “walk”, with a light tap on the rump to urge him forward. After he has taken a few steps, say “whoa” and pull gently on the lead to tell him to stop. Tell him to walk again, and after he does, praise him. If he shows signs of displeasure by shoving or turning sharply in front of you, start all over again and continue to keep at it until he can walk when you ask him to and stop without backing up. Preferably he will walk when you say, “walk” and the dressage whip will sit there and gather dust.

Now you are ready for the trailer. Since your horse has learned “walk”, now it will only be a matter of convincing him that it is required for him to walk into the trailer. Do not get in the trailer and attempt to lead him in. Trying that method has injured many people. The general idea is to get him to walk into the trailer on his own steam. You may have to walk him up part way and then stop, then finish the rest of the way in. He may try to back up. If he does, let him and then start all over again.

You will need lots of patience to do this. You will need to have more patience than the horse to win and you will have your horse loaded. If you let him win, he will for the rest of your days make it difficult to get him in the trailer. So when he backs out, remember your patience. You won’t take a break, leaving him to think he has won. You will patiently, walk him back into that trailer until he realizes that you will never become bored with this project. He will understand that he’s going to keep walking up that ramp until the end of time or until he stays put in the trailer.

If you must, tap your horse on the rump to get him to move forward. Don’t ever hit your horse inside the trailer; it is dangerous for both of you. Also never hit him as long as he is doing what you ask. Once he has obeyed, make sure to praise him and let him rest. This will let him know that what he did was right and the monotony will stop.

Training your horse to “walk” and “who” will take time. Dealing with steps will take more time. You will want to practice loading at different times of the day. Loading at night isn’t any different than loading in the daytime.

Leading Your Horse to Get Control

There are some people who try to lead their horse by controlling their head with a lead rope. This results in them pulling or jerking the lead rope and the horse will pull back or push around the person with the lead rope.

There should be some slack in the lead rope as you are leading your horse because you don’t want to pull or jerk him. When the horse moves the wrong way, you will then stop and make him move the right way by making him move his body.

To successfully have control the secret is having control over your horse’s body. To do this you control his feet by making him move his rear end away from you. This is also known as disengaging the hindquarters. This works well because it will alleviate stiffness and tension while almost force your horse to focus on you.

There are several methods you can use to get your horse to move his rear end away from you. Most of the time, you can stand facing his shoulder and point to his hip. If he doesn’t move keep pointing and cluck at him. Tap him with the lead rope while clucking at him, if he still doesn’t move.

When he does move, take the pressure off him immediately. Make sure to pat him and tell him “Good Boy!” Then ask for another move. Then you will repeat it all again and asking for more steps. You will need to remember to do this on both sides of the body. It won’t be long and you will simply point at his hip and he will move them for you. You will need to do this everyday for a while in order to get it into his mind that you are in control.

After you have moved him, turn your body to walk forward while holding your lead line. You will notice a big difference. Your horse has focused his attention on you. He is aware of your movement and what you are doing. If he messes up because of being distracted or something scared him, all you have to do is move his rear end again. It won’t be long and your horse will start gauging your pace and keep up with you at the same pace.

Move your horse hindquarters, if your horse starts getting ahead of you while you are leading him. You will repeat the same action if your horse starts lagging behind you. Every time he deviates from your side, you will repeat the process of moving his hindquarters.

Good control leading your horse is the most basic training techniques there is. It is also the method by which you can get your horse into a trailer, moving them around, bathing them, and even riding them. Your horse will learn through these techniques to be soft and responsive. If your horse is soft and responsive while you are on the ground, you will have the same kind of horse while you are in the saddle.

Lead Training

The lead rope that attaches to the halter of the horse does not control the horse, and they won’t lead horses. The lead rope lets you communicate the speed, the direction and the shape you want the horse to move.

The easiest exercise is teaching the horse to stop. You can accomplish this anywhere by walking the horse around and every now and then stand still, giving your horse the command to “stand”. Do not pull backwards on the lead rope when you stop. You only need to use a little resistance pressure.

Your horse may at first stop in front, but the hindquarters may move a quarter circle. As you continue to work with him he will learn to come to a complete stop.

These early lessons should only last about 10 to 15 minutes. You can start teaching this while he is still a foal.

You can start this lesson by taking your horse to a small indoor arena. Bringing the horse to an indoor arena will mean for fewer distractions than an outdoor arena. This will make it easier to keep the horse’s attention.

The first time in an arena your horse will want to check everything out. Go ahead and let your horse play and run. Don’t try to direct where he goes. It is best you just follow him around.

You can use his playtime as a play lesson, which you will want to repeat. By using consistent movements you will establish two concepts that will become logical to your horse. As you are walking around shoulder to shoulder with horse facing the same direction he is, you teach him a direction for forward motion. When you turn towards the horse, this will help teach the horse to stop and stand.

After the horse understands these two concepts, you will be able to turn from facing his shoulder to facing with him in the same direction and encourage him to walk with you. You can do this by making obvious moves with your feet. You will build on these concepts gradually to lead the horse forward or ask him to stop and stand whenever and wherever you need him to.

Teaching a horse to back-up is important, and don’t think that taking one step backward is backing up. Pick up the reins; shift your weight back a little, and once he takes a step back you can release the pressure. Continue working with that until he backs up for as long as you want.

By teaching your horse consistent commands that always has the same meaning, the horse will eventually know what to do. No matter what it is, like getting on a trailer, or lunging.

Hot Weather Cool Downs for Your Horse

It’s over 40 degrees in the baking sun and you can’t even walk outside without feeling like you’ve been drained of every ounce of energy you ever had. If you feel this way, imagine how your horse feels. Pretty much the same. If you are hot, so are they.
Horses like weather in the 55-degree range and during the height of summer 55- degree days are fairly rare. What can you do to help cool your horse down?
Always have plenty of fresh, clean, cool water on hand. It’s hard for them in heat like that to go too long without a drink. It’s usually a good idea not to work them too hard in high heat and humidity. It’s really punishing for their systems. And if you do work them, be VERY careful about letting them drink when you are done. Only let them have small quantities and space those quantities out over a period of time. If you’re working them slow and easy and they are not sweated up and heaving, give him a drink at least every half-hour.
You might think this sounds funny, but think about it. Don’t put your water bowl out in the full sun. Why? Because the water in it can get so hot it can scald your horses lips. Put the bowl or bucket in the shade.
Another cool down tip, your horse loves cool bathes – not ice cold – but cool spray from a hose all over their back, legs and chest. Some are fussy about water on their heads, so avoid that area. The first thing a horse usually does after being sprayed is roll in the dirt and make themselves a nice bug screen coating on their coats. The bugs are fierce in hot weather. If you don’t have a hose with a spray attachment, then sponge his head and face off with cool water.
Even if you have a salt block out, it’s not enough for those brutally hot days. You need to have extra salt available. All you need to do is add some table salt to his hay or feed. He will eat what he needs. Most horses sweat about enough to need 4 ounces of salt daily in hot weather.

Horses -The Paso Fino

 The Paso Fino, translated to “fine step”, is one of the oldest native breeds in the Western Hemisphere. Read more about this magnificent creature.

  When Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, he found a continent without horses. After returning to Spain, upon his return to the Americas, he brought back mares and stallions from Andalusia and Cordela. These horses were a mixture of Andalusian, Barb, and the now-extinct Spanish Jennet. The resulting offspring of this mixture was a horse with a very smooth and comfortable gait suitable for the varied terrains of the New World. Because of a trait contributed by the Jennet, of passing the most desirable characteristics along to its offspring, the horse quickly became favored by the Conquistadors. This was the founding stock of the Paso Fino breed. The breed established a place in the history of Western Civilization, being cited as instrumental in the conquest, exploration, and development of the Americas.

Over the 500 years since the introduction of the founding stock in the Western Hemisphere, the Paso Fino has been selectively bred and refined. And although they can be found elsewhere Peru, in South America, claims the most famous and purest bloodlines of this breed.

The most outstanding characteristic which makes the Paso Fino unique is the pattern and even cadence of its instinctual 1-2-3-4 gait. The hoofbeats are individually and distinctly heard as the horse moves. The movement is smooth and lateral, rather than diagonal. The rider feels very little, if any, up-and-down movement when the horse is in motion. This most unusual gait is performed at three speeds:

Classic Fino – Used for show purposes only, this is the same forward speed as a slow walk. The horse is collected and balanced. Watching the leg motion is fascinating.

Paso Corto – this is similar in speed to a trot. It’s a moderate speed, yet allows one to cover a good distance in leisurely fashion. Because of the smoothness of the stride, both horse and riders can go for hours tirelessly.

Paso Largo – this is a faster speed with a longer stride. The actual speed is different for each horse because it will reach its top speed in natural coordination with its tempo and stride.

Description and Conformation

The Paso Fino’s colors run the gamut of the equine color range. There is no one defining color assigned to this breed as being necessary for it being registered as a purebred horse and they can be with, or without, white markings.

This breed ranges in height from 13 to 15.2 hands (52 to 60.8 in,. or 132 to 154 cm.), with the most typical being 13.3 to 14.2 hands (53.2 to 56.8 in., or 135 to 144.2 cm.), which is considered small to average height for a horse. The weight ranges from 700 to 1100 pounds (49.7 to 78.1 stones). The full size of the Paso Fino may not be reached until it is five years of age.

The Paso Fino is often described as being of noble appearance. The immediate impression that one has is that of power, grace, and overall athletic balance in this horse. Its mane and tail are luxurious and flowing. The neck is sinuous, arched, and muscular. The shoulders are well-defined, but not prominent. The back is short and connects with slightly sloped hindquarters. The legs appear short, but powerful. The breed is naturally sure-footed with extremely durable hooves. Unless the horse is habitually used on rock or hard surfaces, it is rarely shod.

This beautiful breed of horse possesses a natural affection, is very intelligent, and is built for hard work. It performs well in gaited events, for showing, trail riding, and for pleasure riding.

Horses – Whirlaway

  The story of a horse that was said to be mentally ill and still went on to become the 5th triple crown winner. The horse’s name is Whirlaway.

  Before the great horse Citation, who was trained by Ben Jones and ridden by jockey Eddie Arcaro to victory for the 1948 triple crown, there was another horse that they had the distinction of also taking to triple crown glory, one of the most wild horses in all of racing history. His name, Whirlaway.

There is no question about it, Whirlaway was a psychopath as far as horses went. He was quite prone to some wild adventurous trips around a race track. He was actually considered a mentally ill horse, however that is actually determined. He was a danger to himself and those around him. But there was no doubt in Ben Jones’ mind that this horse was worth training. In his 3 and 4 year old seasons he ran 42 races, winning 25 of them and finishing second 13 times. Truly amazing for a horse that old. Whirlaway became the first of 8 Kentucky Derby winners and the first of 2 triple crown winners for Calumet Farm.

Whirlaway was the son of Blenheim II. In his 2 year old season he did show some signs of brilliance. He won seven starts which included four stakes races. His early record was actually much better than any other previous triple crown winner. All of them combined only won six races by the age of two. But Whirlaway also lost 9 times that year and began to show signs of very erratic behavior. Many times he would run a race and take his jockey to the outside rail before coming back inside and moving in for the kill. He was a very difficult horse to control because of his mental problems.

At the start of his second year of racing, Whirlaway was still showing signs of extremely erratic behavior and it was feared that he would never be ready for the really big races. He lost his first two races that year and fans were left wondering if he would ever be the great horse that Calumet Farm said he would be.

Well, the fans and the rest of the racing world didn’t have to wait long. On May 3, 1941, Whirlaway ran in the Kentucky Derby. Jones had made some modifications to Whirlaway’s blinker so that he could see a little better on the left side but not on the right. He also put Eddie Arcaro on Whirlaway, replacing his old jockey Wendall Eads. Arcaro had ridden a previous Kentucky Derby winner of Jones’. When the race started, Whirlaway did his usual bit of staying at the back of the pack. But with just a quarter mile left, Whirlaway took off and left the others in the dust, winning by 8 lengths.

The Preakness was no different. At one point, Whirlaway was trailing by 9 lengths and it appeared that he was out of the race. But again, he came on late and ended up winning the Preakness by 5 1/2 lengths.

Finally, a month later at the Belmont Stakes, Whirlaway notched up his place in racing history. This time he came out strong, building a 7 length lead. Even though he started to tire at the end he still hung on for a 2 1/2 length victory.

Sadly, after he retired and was sold to breed, he died just 10 minutes after being taken to a mare.

Horses – War Admiral

  The story of a horse that may have been the 5th triple crown winner instead of the 4th had his owner not had prejudices about racing out west.

   Sometimes the sons of the fathers surpass the accomplishments of the father. Such was the case with one of the greatest races horses of all time, the son of Man O’ War, War Admiral, who went on to become racing’s 4th triple crown winner.

War Admiral almost wasn’t the 4th triple crown winner. He was almost the 5th. Owner Samuel Riddle, of Glen Riddle Farms, had many prejudices about horse racing beyond the East coast in 1920. Riddle owned War Admiral’s father, Man O’ War. However, he chose to skip the Kentucky Derby with Man O’ War in 1920 because Churchill Downs was too far west for his tastes. Had he run he most likely would have won and been racing’s second triple crown winner. Fate is sometimes a funny thing.

War Admiral didn’t get off to a blazing start in his career but he did win 3 of his first 6 races. He also had 2 second place finishes and 2 third place finishes. He wasn’t even the leading 2 year old that year. But after he won his first start at age 3, people began to take notice of this horse. That first win as a 3 year old was at the Chesapeake Stakes at Maryland’s Havre de Grace race track. It was after this victory that Riddle decided to give War Admiral a shot at the Kentucky Derby. He finally got over his prejudices about racing that far west when he realized that War Admiral could very well be a contender for the triple crown.

War Admiral ran a race just 4 days before the Kentucky Derby. This was an allowance race at Churchill Downs, which he easily won. This set the stage for his incredible showing at the Kentucky Derby. The field of horses at the Derby was 20. War Admiral went off as an 8 to 5 favorite. Many who watched the race say he toyed with the other horses. He never really had to put in any effort and won by a modest 1 3/4 lengths.

But his race at the Preakness a week later was a much tougher test. He was given a real run for his money by the second place finisher in the Derby, Pompoon, but the result was still the same. War Admiral beat out Pompoon by a head and was only a fifth of a second away from the Preakness record.

Finally, on June 5, War Admiral went for the last leg of the triple crown at the Belmont Stakes. The race did not start well for War Admiral as he stumbled at the start of it and injured his right foreleg. It was almost certain he would lose his bid. But somehow this incredible horse managed to storm past the other horses and easily won by 4 lengths. The second place finisher in the Derby and Preakness, Pompoon, was nowhere to be seen all the way back in 7th place.

War Admiral finished his career with an amazing record of 21 wins in 26 races and earnings of over a quarter of a million dollars, which was a lot of money in those days.

Horses – The Lipizzaners

Among the many breeds of horses around the world today, the Lipizzaners are some of the most elegant and graceful equines that one will ever encounter. I have endeavoured to paint a picture with words so that one may capture the essence of these truly remarkable horses.

Some History of the Lipizzaners

The aristocratic Lipizzaners are descended from the Iberian Horse, which is the oldest breed in the world. Iberians were used as war horses from 4000 years before Mohammed, when camels were used as mounts in warfare and their Lipizzaner descendants today are trained to perform movements which were originally taught to military mounts so that they were more effective in battle.

The breed was first established in 1590, by the Archduke of Austria, Charles II. He began the first stud farm in Lipizza, then a part of Italy, and began breeding the Iberian with the native breeds of Italy. Until well into the late 1700s, these horses were crossbred with the finest of horses from Spain, Italy and Arabia. They were used, during that time, as family and carriage horses for the Royal Court in Vienna.

In 1735, Charles VI of Austria established the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. It is the oldest riding school in the world (so named for the Spanish horses who were a large foundation of the breed), and for more than 400 years has trained riders and horses to perform the classical dressage movements which have made the Lipizzaner famous. When Charles began the school, he also began recording the bloodlines of the breed.

Of the nine original studs used to establish the breed, six bloodlines are used solely for breeding at the Spanish Riding School and Lipizzaners of South Africa at Kyalami. These are the ones which they recognize as the purest of the breed. Those six stallions were:

– Pluto, born in 1765, grey in color
– Conversano, born in 1767, black in color
– Favory, born in 1779, dun in color
– Neapolitano, born in 1790, bay (brown) in color
– Siglavy, born in 1810, grey in color
– Maestroso II, born in 1819, grey in color

Although the two breeders mentioned here tend to favor the light-grey and white stallions for showing, they consider it bad luck if there is not at least one bay horse in their stables.

Lipizzaners are branded with a special symbol to indicate from which bloodlines they descended. They bear the symbol of their sire, and the symbol of their dam’s sire. This is called the “ancestral brand”. Foals are branded with a number so that one can easily locate them in the foal registry. In addition to these two brands, each Lipizzaner also carries the “brand of descent” on its left cheek. This is quite often an “L”. For more information about these symbols, see:

http://www.knet.co.za/lipizzaner/breedbrand.htm

More recently, two other bloodlines have been internationally recognized as purebred. Those are:

– Tulipan, born in 1850, no color stated
– Incitato, no date of birth or color stated

While not indicated as being recognized by the two aforementioned breeders, these bloodlines are acceptable to many modern-day advocates of the bloodline purity.

In 1920, the decision was made to move the Lipizzaners from Lipizza (now in present-day Slovenia) to Piber, Austria. During World War 2 the entire inventory of the stock was moved to Holstau to prevent the animals from being seized and used in battle, or requisitioned as food supplies by hostile forces. The line almost became extinct (only 250 horses survived), and would have been wiped out completely without the intervention of General George Patton. He and his troops rescued the survivors so that they could move on to continue their incredible history.

In 1948, after having fled Europe, Count Elemer Jankovich-Besan moved some of the surviving horses to South Mooi River in South Africa. He gifted one of the stallions to Major George Iwanowski who, in turn, started the Lipizzaners of South Africa School. This is one of the two accredited Lipizzaner Centers in the world, the other being the Spanish Riding School.

Description and Conformation of the Lipizzaners

Foals are usually dark or black-brown when born. They go through several different color changes before finally achieving their adult color between the ages of four and ten. Most often, the color is light-gray or white. However, there are also duns and bays. They are simply not as common and it is a rarity to have an adult Lipizzaner be totally black-brown or black.

The breed is long-lived, and has been recorded to live as long as 34 years. It is not uncommon for a Lipizzaner to live well into its 20s. They are very loyal and are well-known for their magnificent stamina, agility, strength, and courage.

For training and showing, only stallions are used. And the breeders/trainers look for a certain conformation in those horses which are eventually trained for dressage. These include:

– the stallion should be 15.2 to 16 hands (a hand is four inches, or 6 cm) high, that is 155 to 160 cm
– the head is slightly aquiline to gently Roman in shape, and the eyes are a good width apart
– the neck should be crested, but not appear too heavy at the top nor too thick underneath
– the back and the neck should be of equal length
– the chest should be strong, and of medium width
– the shoulders should have a good slope
– the legs should appear shorter, so that the horse is better conformed to perform the “Airs Above the Ground”
– the musculature should be pronounced, without making the horse appear too heavy – the hind quarters should be well-rounded
– the mane and tail should be thick and full, but fine and soft to the touch.

“Classical Dressage”

The “Airs Above the Ground”, when performed and observed, bring to mind the movements of a ballerina. In a manner of speaking, the Lipizzaner is the ballerina of the equine world.

The exercises performed by these magnificent creatures include:

– the levade: a 45 degree position in which the horse is “haunched” over the ground – the courbette: the horse balances on his hind legs before jumping, and keeps his forelegs off the ground and his hind legs together while “hopping”
– the capriole: the stallion leaps into the air, tucks his forelegs under him, and kicks out with his hind legs at the height of elevation
– the piaffe: a cadenced trot which the stallion performs while standing in place
– the croupade: similar to the capriole, but both front and hind legs are tucked under the body at the height of elevation

and many more. It is fascinating to watch these horses in performance, and it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience which true horse-lovers should experience. They are stunning and, at times, awe-inspiring. They truly are the ballerinas of the equine world, and a marvelous site to behold!

The Slovenians consider the Lipizzaner to be the first pure-bred ever established in their country. As such, it will most likely be pictured on their new euro coins. This horse is highly prized in their country.

The breed is rare today, with only about 3,000 horses registered as purebreds. But, the numbers are increasing as breeders use the horses more in harness. Slovenians use the stallions for dressage display and to cross-breed with their own native stock for use in agricultural work. The Lipizzaner is still the only breed used by the Spanish Riding School in Austria.

Horses – Sir Barton

The first triple crown winner Sir Barton, his great accomplishments and how he suddenly fell into obscurity and disappeared from the racing scene.

There have been many great triple crown winners in horse racing history. But none faded farther into obscurity than the triple crown winner Sir Barton.

He wasn’t the last but he was the first. This was an amazing achievement for this horse when you consider the following facts. As a two year old he lost his first six races. This horse couldn’t get out of his own way and nobody gave him a chance to win much of anything, let alone the triple crown. As a three year old, the only reason he was even in his first race in the 1919 Kentucky Derby, was to serve as a rabbit for his stable mate, Billy Kelly. But he beat all the odds, including his stable mate to go on to win the Kentucky Derby by five lengths over Kelly. Just four days later, he won the Preakness in a similar manner to his victory at the Derby. Finally, at the Belmont Stakes, he totally dominated the field and won the race easily. To make this achievement even greater he ran the Withers Stakes between the Preakness and Belmont races and won that one as well.

Even though Barton’s achievement was simply amazing, it wasn’t until decades later that his winning the triple crown was actually referred to as the triple crown. Though it is doubtful many are still around from this era, if they were most people would agree that this was one of the most amazing feats in any sport, not just horse racing. The problem, however, aside from lack of living attendees, was a horse by the name of Man O’ War.

A few months after Sir Barton won the triple crown, Man O’ War arrived on the scene. The accomplishments of this horse, losing only one race during the period, seemed to overshadow what Sir Barton had done, especially since Man O’ War didn’t have the poor start that Sir Barton had. Many felt that Sir Barton was just a fluke when they saw a horse with true talent and potential right from the start. Because of this, Sir Barton never really did get the attention that he deserved.

To compound matters, as a four year old, Sir Barton would alternate between being magnificent and just ordinary. He won only five of his twelve starts as a four year old. People just couldn’t figure this horse out and never knew which one they were going to see on any given day. Not only did he not win seven races but he finished off the board twice and lost races that he should have easily won. While this was going on, Man O’ War was unbeatable, only adding to the distance between these two horses. Sir Barton began to fade into obscurity.

Eventually, Sir Barton faded completely from view and retired at the end of the 1920 season. He had only moderate success as a stud. Man O’ War on the other hand became an international star siring a future triple crown winner, War Admiral.

Sir Barton died in 1937.