WALKABOUT

a most amazing athlete...

 

 

 

   Walkabout, a 15.3 1/2 h. seal brown registered Thoroughbred gelding, goes by the barn name, Jordan. I remember when he first arrived at our barn in November 1997.  He had been racing at Prairie Meadows in Des Moines, Iowa just three months before that. When my mom (trainer, Jan Rock) went to look at him, the owner's 12 year old grand-daughter was cantering him around... bareback. I knew when she told me that that this was the horse for me. I normally try to pick out really big horses, not because I'm so tall that I need a giant horse, I just like the longer stride that comes with a bigger horse; however, the most important thing for me is that I can trust the horse I'm riding.

   It was my mom who suggested he be called Jordan since he was black and he'll jump really well. Actually, he has some brown hairs around his muzzle so he isn't exactly black, but I suppose Michael Jordan isn't exactly black either. As far as what kind of jumper he would be, neither of us had any way of knowing then that he would be the marvel he is today.

   I graduated from Illinois State in Dec. '97 and had until Aug. '99 (I couldn't go in Aug. '98 because of MCAT timing complications) before I was supposed to go to medical school. A full year and a half to show my Amateur Owner horse  "Show Me The Money", whom I shared with my adopted-by-the-family-kid-brother-turned-hometown-hero, Kris Killam who did Juniors and the Medals on him, and to play with this 4 coming 5 year-old. We have schooling shows here at Huntermark every month so I started showing him right away in classes like Beginner Horse Walk/Trot, Beg. Horse U/S etc. using the show name "Given To Fly" because it was a song written about Michael Jordan. At first he was like any other project with good traits and bad. His trot is a little hard to sit because it has a lot of suspension, but his canter is so naturally balanced it was like riding a well-broke horse. It wasn't until I had been jumping him for a while over gymnastics and started to move on that I noticed there was something different about him.

   The first time I trotted him into a 60' line it was in the indoor arena (60' x 240'). Generally, our horses prefer to do the adds in the winter because the indoor is not inviting to gallop. I came in at a slow sitting trot, very much expecting to get a 6. I landed and steadied, he listened, and we slowly cantered a 5. I had to get witnesses and do it again to make sure I hadn't counted wrong - same result. I got a measuring tape and checked the line and it was 60' on the dot. I cantered the line softly and slowly in 4 and stopped straight. I know now that I can also open him up and get a 3 easily, but that wasn't what I was trying to do at the time.


Jordan showing off at the DuPage County Fair


 

   During the summer of 1998 I was showing Beck (Show Me The Money) and couldn't afford to show them both so Jordan stayed at home except for a couple of schooling shows. One of which, I'm almost embarrassed to name, was the DuPage  County Fair. I'm embarrassed because it's a real cheesy, backyard operation run by a bunch of people who have never been to a horse show, but who usually get good judges, and they pay lots of money for really cheap entry fees. It's the only time riding a hunter can make you a couple hundred dollars in one day after paying your entries. Anyway, this is his first time away from home since he got there nine months earlier, and I started to wonder if this was a bad choice for a first show. There were all sorts of crazy fair things going on, the midway was visible from the barn, but closest to the ring was a tractor pull with a grandstand full of yelling people, one of those gruff-voiced tractor pull announcers, and tractors with really loud motors (no mufflers here!) and big clouds of black smoke. The others in my barn (being the pals that they are) were in a hurry so they got out to the ring right away, leaving me (who never was very good at hurrying) alone with Jordan, who hates being without other horses. He was whinnying and trotting little circles around his stall, but when I got him tacked up and got on he walked to the ring on a loose rein. He passed roaring tractors without so much as a snort. He was quiet, lazy even, just like he is on the flat at home. If it wasn't for the papers, his race record, and his huge stride, I swear I'd think he's a Quarter Horse!

   That fall (1998) we sold Beck since Kris was going off to school at William Woods, and that let me turn all of my attention to Jordan, who by this time was more often referred to by his pet name - Jordaranamus Cutapiamus (Jor-da-RAN-a-mus  Cue-ta-PIE-a-mus) or just Pie. Pie had done some amazing things that year, including nearly jumping me off on a regular basis, and landing 15'7" beyond the back rail of the oxer at the end of a one-stride. In fact, his stride was almost too long and his jump was almost too big. When there would be a day where we would have pace problems, he would get crooked from me pulling on him so much to collect him and not having the leg to keep him straight. Sometimes he would swerve back and forth up a line and still leave a stride out.


  

Jordan and I showing in Pre Green (left) and cross-dressing for candy on Halloween (right) in 1999


    I have been saving the name Walkabout for years, waiting for the right horse to come along. I imagined the name fitting a horse with a stride so long he could walk around the course, so slow he's barely cantering - I always thought he'd/she'd be 17 hands or so. Although the thought occurred to me that he was the one, that day when he cantered his first line, I didn't decide until almost a year after starting him to officially name him Walkabout. In Dec. '98 Jordan went to his first "real" show - Ledges "B". They had Christmas trees at either end of the ring, about 15' or so from the rail so they were almost exactly in the center of the courtesy circle. There were also potted plants in each corner, not to mention all the evergreen all over the jumps, and one side of the arena is open to the aisle. These were all things he had never seen before but he didn't even seem to notice. He showed Baby Green and Pre Green at 7 IHJA "B" shows (Lamplight, Fields & Fences, etc.) and also at Mason City (AHSA "A") for 2 weeks in the summer, Valley Park (AHSA "B"), and Berrien Springs, Michigan (AHSA "B"). That year he won a ribbon at every show he went to, something I haven't done since I was a kid. He won a 1999 year end award from the IHJA "B" circuit in Baby Green even though he was only at 7 of their 30 shows.

   While that season was going on, I should have been working out my applications to medical school. I should have been getting letters of recommendation from my professors. Instead, I decided I wanted to keep riding this phenomenal horse. This horse that's so quiet I've (still to this day *knock on wood*) never fallen off of him (except once when I was jumped off!), this horse with such an exuberant jump, such an enormous stride, that he has changed riding for me forever. My parents didn't like it, but they couldn't change my mind. I didn't want to sell him because there wasn't anything that I could buy with any amount of money that I wanted more than I wanted Pie.

   In Dec. '99 we started the 2000 season with a Ledges "B" show in Dec. and Jan. to get back into the swing of things. Jordan didn't like being body clipped, but he looks quite stunning. In December he showed Pre Green and First Year Green, since 1st Year at the IHJA "B" shows is only 3'3". In January he only did 1st Year. In February and March we went to the "A" Ledges that were also recognized by INHJA and did Pre Green. In April he went to White Fox (AHSA "B"), in May I saved money, in June he did 2 weeks in Mason City and did Pre Green and Modified (3'3"). In August he went to his last show of the season at Valley Park and did Pre Green and Modified. I had to leave the show early on Saturday, so I asked Karen Narta to finish Modified for me since he won the only class that had gone so far. She agreed and he won every over fences class and got a second in the hack.


        

Pie in the sky - Modified Hunter (left) and Pre Green Hunter (right) in 2000


    Recently we started our 2001 show season at a Ledges "B" again, this time doing 2nd Year Green so he can get the feel of showing 3'6". It was his first time showing 3'6" and he was champion - the hardest thing about it was not getting jumped off! Since it was a "B" show, I decided not to braid so I could grab mane. Last year, during one of the Modified Hunter classes that he won at Valley Park I was jumped totally loose and thrown onto his neck over the vertical. I had 5 strides before the oxer to regroup and hang on tight. Jordan didn't seem to notice my absence and we won the class anyway, but 3'6" poses a bigger challenge.  I considered leaving a section of his mane (about 3 braid's worth) unbraided to grab onto, or showing him with a dark colored neckstrap.

    When the first "A" show of the year came along the first week of February. I decided to braid his mane normally and hoped for the best. The first day he almost jumped me off about six times. By the end of the day, several of my braids were sticking straight up! Course designer and show manger, Tommy McIntyre, was at the in-gate watching my rounds. When my mom turned to him and asked, "Think that one will do 4', Tommy?" and he laughed and said, "I think he just did!". I thought maybe i would be better for the Pie both mentally and physically if he didn't have to deal with me being tossed around like a rag doll and I looked for someone to show my horse. I found someone that day and went back to the hotel and regretted it all night. I mean, he's my boy. I'm the one who's been dreaming about showing him 3'6". I'll probably never have the opportunity to show 3'6" on that nice of a horse again once he's gone. 

    I made up my mind that I would go ahead and show him myself and tried to think of nice ways to tell her not to ride my horse without sounding rude. When I got to the show in the morning, one of her students found my mom and told me that she wasn't feeling very well, and that she couldn't show my horse. I guess that was fate's way of giving me that little push to go do it, with no way to chicken out at the last minute. I am SO glad I did it because the next day he wasn't jumping nearly as extravagantly and I was able to stay on with no problems at all, and I didn't have to spend my prize money to pay another pro to show my horse.

    It wasn't until the third show of showing 3'6" that I finally came to terms with the fact that he really jumps too hard to be a hunter. We were at Ledges in March doing First Year Green and it was down to the last line in the course - a 3 to a 1. We had a great approach out of the short turn to find the perfect distance coming into the line. He was nice and soft so I didn't have to steady, so I just stayed in my two-point holding mane and doing nothing. The in of the in and out was just right, the one rode quiet, and then BLAM-O! He jumped up over the oxer with a fantastic effort that sent me flying! I have video and I am clearly more than 2 feet above my horse over this jump, and he is above the wings 6 feet, yes, 6 FEET in the air. It was incredibly lucky for me (and probably somewhat painful for the Pie) that he stayed straight and caught me on the other side and I didn't fall off. After flying solo like that, I  decided to get back his Green status (since he showed 3'6" at 3 or less Rated shows before May) and leave that thrill for his next rider who won't have that extra weight working against them. Force = mass x acceleration!

    The 2001 season went much smoother after I switched to the Adult Amateur division. He is very comfortable packing me around at that height. We had a great number of happy accomplishments this year. Jordan winning the hunter classes, me getting an amazing 2nd in Adult Eq., scoring a 80 in the NAL Hunter Classic at Lamplight, and getting a 2nd in the Washington International! About halfway through the summer I realized that everything was easier if I had my trainer ride him earlier in the week, the way other amateurs do. I think my mom enjoyed riding an athlete like Jordan. She's told me on more than one occasion how doing the Low Hunter on him is like doing 3'6" because of the awesome feeling of power he gives.

    The 2001 season was kind of a wash as far as points because I showed in one division from December-March and a different one from April-September, but even still he managed to be 7th place Horse Of The Year in the Adult Amateur division for Zone 6, and 6th place in INHJA. 

    In 2002, Jordan and I had some great indoor shows at Ledges over the winter - some of our best rounds ever. It felt like we were almost at the top of our game. In May at the Milwaukee Spring show a new trend started...

    After schooling briefly, but well the night before, I set out for the first Low round with about half an hour's worth of flatwork and not expecting anything out of the ordinary. The course started with a single coming home that was fine, to an angle going away in 4 that was a little tight but not bad, and turned to the 5 coming home (the one people were complaining was riding long) and had to move up coming in and we just didn't seem to land! When we did it was like we were in the middle of the line! I pulled and he came back, but 4 strides later we were off again. Now when we land, he's definitely on the muscle and I'm trying to regroup and we turn to the other angle going away, which I know I schooled in 4 the night before, but when we landed the 4 looked long so I legged him and we moved up and flew up there in 4. By stride 3 I knew it must have been a 5 but I didn't think I had time to come back. The course ended on a 3 to a 1 coming home on the outside so I circled first to try to regroup and let Jordan's head settle. We came home in 3 and 1 (luckily all the gymnastics my mom has us do in lessons have made him very careful about combinations) and came out to school a while longer. He was better the rest of the weekend because there were severe thunderstorms and driving rain which also makes him careful.

    At Mason City he was right where he left off the first day in Milwaukee. He even broke his combination rule by getting a 3 to a 2 instead of a 4 to a 2 in my Adult Amateur division. The last day of the first week I did the Midstates Classic in the other ring and with a 70 and a 74 he was 7th place in the Midstates Hunter Classic. He felt like his old self in that ring. Nice and relaxed. That was the last time I showed him.


Jordan's life as a jumper

    The second week in Mason City (June 2002) I asked long-time friend of the family Kylin Coulter-Meyer to see what she thought of him of a jumper. She rode him in Hopeful and Low Training Jumper and he got great ribbons! He even won a Low Training class - the power and speed round. He was a point away from reserve champion and he was up against horses that have been jumpers for months and even years! He did his first bank without giving it a second thought. She never schooled him, but he handled everything marvelously. It really is his true calling!! He's jumping terrific and he really looks happy out there!

    Then he was off to live with Kylin to live at Colts and Company.  She showed him in St. Louis several times and got good ribbons in both the Low and High Training Jumper divisions.  She rode him and showed him to people, but found that some people were just not able to compensate for his powerful jump.  Finally she found Jordan's new owner - Lora Beckman.  She started with him in the Children's/Adult jumpers and has since moved up to the Junior/Amateur jumpers.  Here are some pictures of the two of them together.

Children's/Adult Jumpers in Estes Park, Colorado, July 2003

Children's/Adult Jumpers in St. Louis, December 2003

Junior/Amateur Jumpers in Kentucky, June 2004

Junior/Amateur Jumpers in Kentucky, June 2004

 

Ain't he a gorgeous specimen?

 

USEF - HORSE REPORT

4059718 WALKABOUT


MISS RACHEL ROCK
119 WEST 16TH ST
COAL VALLEY, IL 61240
Phone #: (309) 799-5646
Fax #: (309) 799-7509
Email: IFLYHIGH@HUNTERMARKFARM.COM


Owner Point States: IA(12/01/1998-11/30/1999), IA(12/01/2000-11/30/2001), IA(12/01/2001-11/30/2002), IL(12/01/1999-11/30/2000), IL(12/01/2002-11/30/2003), IL(01/20/2004-11/30/2004)

Date Range: 12/1/1992 to 11/30/2004


 
7140 2001 LEDGES WINTER CLASSIC FEB.I Start Date of Comp: 01/31/2001, State: IL, Zone: 5
  DIV: GREEN WORKING HUNTER-1ST YEAR Division Rating: A
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  27 5 4 15.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  28 5 4 15.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  29 5 3 20.00 0.00 10.00 0.00  
  30 5 5 14.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  
  31 5 3 20.00 0.00 10.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 84.00 0.00 34.00 0.00  

 
1376 2001 LEDGES WINTER CLASSIC MAR.I Start Date of Comp: 03/08/2001, State: IL, Zone: 5
  DIV: GREEN WORKING HUNTER-1ST YEAR Division Rating: A
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  27 4 4 15.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  31 4 3 20.00 0.00 10.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 35.00 0.00 15.00 0.00  

 
315211 2001 LEDGES WINTER CLASSIC APRIL I Start Date of Comp: 04/11/2001, State: IL, Zone: 5
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  94 4 3 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  95 4 3 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  96 4 1 0.00 0.00 15.00 0.00  
  97 4 3 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  98 4 3 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 35.00 0.00  

 
1820 2001 NORTH HILLS HUNT CHARITY Start Date of Comp: 05/24/2001, State: NE, Zone: 6
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS  Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  112 14 6 0.00 0.00 3.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 3.00 0.00  

 
313821 2001 MIDSTATES SUMMERFEST Start Date of Comp: 06/06/2001, State: IA, Zone: 6
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS  Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  215 8 4 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  
  216 8 7 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00  
  217 8 7 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  

 
3804 2001 MIDSTATES SUMMER Start Date of Comp: 06/13/2001, State: IA, Zone: 6
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS  Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  214 13 4 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  216 13 5 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  
  217 13 7 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 9.00 0.00  

 
558 2001 BERRIEN CLASSIC~ Start Date of Comp: 08/07/2001, State: MI, Zone: 5
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS  Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  109 6 4 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.00  
  HORSE NOT SHOWN IN HOME ZONE, REGION, DISTRICT (903.6)
  110 6 5 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.00  
  HORSE NOT SHOWN IN HOME ZONE, REGION, DISTRICT (903.6)
  84 6 5 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.00  
  HORSE NOT SHOWN IN HOME ZONE, REGION, DISTRICT (903.6)
  85 6 4 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.00  
  HORSE NOT SHOWN IN HOME ZONE, REGION, DISTRICT (903.6)
  88 6 3 0.00 0.00 0.00 5.00  
  HORSE NOT SHOWN IN HOME ZONE, REGION, DISTRICT (903.6)
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 0.00 19.00  

 
230674 2001 VALLEY PARK CHARITY Start Date of Comp: 08/16/2001, State: IA, Zone: 6
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS  Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  66 14 4 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  67 14 6 0.00 0.00 3.00 0.00  
  68 14 2 0.00 0.00 15.00 0.00  
  69 14 2 0.00 0.00 15.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 38.00 0.00  

 
308006 2001 SHOWPLACE FALL CLASSIC Start Date of Comp: 09/13/2001, State: IL, Zone: 5
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  133 11 4 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  134 11 2 0.00 0.00 15.00 0.00  
  137 11 6 0.00 0.00 3.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 23.00 0.00  

 
7139 2002 LEDGES WINTER CLASSIC JAN. II Start Date of Comp: 01/09/2002, State: IL, Zone: 5
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  163 13 8 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  167 4 4 0.00 0.00 12.00 0.00  
  95 6 4 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  
  96 6 5 0.00 0.00 3.00 0.00  
  97 6 3 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  98 6 6 0.00 0.00 2.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 31.00 0.00  

 
1962 2002 LEDGES WINTER CLASSIC FEB.II Start Date of Comp: 02/07/2002, State: IL, Zone: 5
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  163 8 8 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  94 6 5 0.00 0.00 3.00 0.00  
  95 6 6 0.00 0.00 2.00 0.00  
  96 6 3 0.00 0.00 5.00 0.00  
  97 6 5 0.00 0.00 3.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 18.00 0.00  

 
1376 2002 LEDGES WINTER CLASSIC MAR.I Start Date of Comp: 03/07/2002, State: IL, Zone: 5
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  94 9 5 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  
  95 9 5 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 8.00 0.00  

 
243022 2002 MILWAUKEE SPRING H/J Start Date of Comp: 05/10/2002, State: WI, Zone: 6
  DIV: ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS Division Rating: C
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  29 8 4 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00  
  30 8 6 0.00 0.00 2.00 0.00  
  32 8 6 0.00 0.00 2.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 0.00 0.00 8.00 0.00  

 
315338 2002 ST. LOUIS FESTIVAL I Start Date of Comp: 07/03/2002, State: MO, Zone: 7
  DIV: TOTAL MONEY Rating: X
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  1000 100 35 54.00 0.00 54.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 54.00 0.00 54.00 0.00  

 
315339 2002 ST. LOUIS FESTIVAL II Start Date of Comp: 07/10/2002, State: MO, Zone: 7
  DIV: TOTAL MONEY Rating: X
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  1000 125 11 72.00 0.00 72.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 72.00 0.00 72.00 0.00  

 
6224 2002 MIDWAY HUNTER/JUMPER SEPT.~ Start Date of Comp: 09/04/2002, State: MO, Zone: 7
  DIV: TOTAL MONEY Rating: X
  Class # # Entries Placing Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
  1000 135 48 68.00 0.00 68.00 0.00  
     
    TOTALS: 68.00 0.00 68.00 0.00  


REPORT TOTALS
  Nat Pnt Good Nat Pnt Bad ZRD Pnt Good ZRD Pnt Bad  
GREEN WORKING HUNTER-1ST YEAR 119.00 0.00 49.00 0.00  
ADULT AMATEUR HUNTER 18-35 YEARS 0.00 0.00 211.00 19.00  
TOTAL MONEY 194.00 0.00 194.00 0.00  

 

 

Comments/Questions/Fan Mail send to Rachel@huntermarkfarm.com 

Photos by Roger Lohr, Leslie Sommer, Roger Lohr, Bill Dunmire, Roger Lohr and Roger Lohr