Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mr. Foxtrot by Dorothy K. Morris

Desiree and Mr. Foxtrot aka Foxie
Oxer Massif

Mr. Foxtrot
by Dorothy K. Morris

When my daughter was about eleven years old she decided that she wished to get involved seriously in Pony Club. For that she needed a horse that she could enter into Pony Club combined training competitions. We went shopping for a horse that we both could ride. I wanted a horse to use for fox hunting and she could use for Pony Club.

After much searching we found an Anglo-Morgan gelding, four years old and greenbroke. The result of an accidental breeding from an old grandson of Man O’War, onto a Lippit Morgan Mare, the gelding had been banished to a field because the owner had no use for him. I was allowed to have him for the great price of $1500, which I managed to extract from my household money at a $100 per month payment plan.

I trained the gelding to jump and I took him to Potomac Horse Center in Maryland for dressage lessons and hunted him for a year with the Blue Ridge Hunt.  I taught my daughter how to ride him. She began competing in local combined training tests when she was twelve and he was five. He was a very bold jumper and I made a bold and brash statement to Mr. Howard Morris, a former president of the National Pony Club. I said that the gelding would be one of the best event horses in America. Mr. Morris (no relation that I am aware of) laughed and said that he was a nice little pony (he was but 15.2 h), but eventing was a very difficult task and needed a much better horse.

At fourteen my daughter graduated to Preliminary level competition. By then she had been spotted by Alexander Mackay-Smith in our huntfield and he suggested I take her to Jim Wofford for more intensive training. He wanted to see her in the trials for the World Championship which would be held in Kentucky in 1978, when she would be eighteen. So we did that. She was competing at Intermediate level at sixteen and Advanced level at almost eighteen. They entered the selection trials and after clean cross country rounds in all of them,  Desiree Smith and Mr. Foxtrot, better known to the eventing world as “Foxie” were selected to ride for the United States in the event. 

After a lovely dressage test, late in the cross country course at the Serpentine she was obliged to withdraw an exhausted mount at the triple combination that had downed so many riders and horses, including our team captain and the entire British team...

After the event, I wrote a letter to Mr. Howard Morris with the words: 
I told you so.”

From Arizona, USA, Dorothy K. Morris is an avid equestrian and author. Connect with Dorothy to enjoy more of her intriguing writing and stories. I had the great opportunity to connect with Dorothy and interview her for Riding & Writing.

Connect with Dorothy…
World - Out of the Water 1979

1 comment:

rolandclarke.com said...

Great to read Foxie's story, having had hints talking to Dorothy on Facebook. Knowing he was so small makes his jump in the first photo very impressive.

I can remember back then when the fences were a mix of awesome great constructions and a maze of thin poles with no fillers or dressing.

Inspired to go back to Dorothy's websites.