Retrained and Remarkable: Giving the overlooked a chance to succeed. 

Help us share this story and get Overdriven a home!

Overdriven, an ’09 son of Tale of the Cat, is one heck of a hunk! This beefcake won almost $130,000 during his three-race career, including winning the Sanford Stakes (G2) and the Belmont Special Weight at Belmont Park.

After retiring from racing, Overdriven was a breeding stallion for three years at Ocala Stud. When it seemed like his progeny in the United States were not as precocious as owner Mike Repole was expecting, he decided to geld the stallion to ensure he would have a safe future. Before doing so, Repole began a conversation with New Vocations to see if a third career as a riding mount might be on the horizon for the big bay.

Kentucky Facility Director Melissa King was willing to take Overdriven to see if he could be transitioned to a riding horse. She warned that a riding career may not be a fit for Overdriven—not because he wouldn’t like being ridden, but because it can sometimes be very difficult (if not impossible) to transition a breeding stallion into a pleasure mount that can be turned out in company.

With this third career in mind, Repole gelded the stallion and gave him some downtime before shipping him to Kentucky, where the hunky horse quickly become a personal favorite of Melissa’s and a total doll to work with.

A New Life

Melissa took her time transitioning Overdriven to his new career and all of his stallion-like tendencies have disappeared. “Most stallions are pampered during their breeding careers,” explains Melissa, “so he was pretty spoiled when he got here. When he had an opinion on something, he didn’t always defer to you and would stand firm in his opinion.”

But now? “Now he’s a pet!” Melissa says. “He is super chill; you wouldn’t notice a difference between him and any other gelding on the farm. If you met him now and didn’t know his past, you would never know he had been a breeding stallion.”

While New Vocations doesn’t recommend that Overdriven be turned out in a mixed herd, the stocky bay loves his turnout time with a babysitter gelding named Ranger. His new home will need to take it slow when transitioning him into a turnout herd, Melissa advises. “I would recommend that they buddy him up with one horse, then turn out those two with the herd to avoid a scuffle.”

Though Overdriven pins his ears when you get to the stall, he’s all bark and no bite; he’ll gladly stand for hours (with ears still pinned!) to have his forehead rubbed. While he tries to look intimidating, we have had no problems with handling him at all, even with new staff members. He can always be won over with cookies and some sweet talk about what a handsome boy he is!

A Star Under Saddle

A truly kindhearted individual, Overdriven can be on the lazier side; his biggest trick is to look at something outside the arena when asked to go forward to get out of work! However, he takes re-direction well and will straighten right up when he knows he can’t get away with something, Melissa says.

Overdriven has a lovely, floaty movement and is rapidly getting back into riding shape after having several years of no under-saddle work. He is responsive to aids, but when he gets tired or wants to get out of work, he can lean on a rider’s hands.

Overdriven retired form racing 6 years ago with a sesamoid fracture so he is suitable for low- to mid-level jumping. The perfect Overdriven owner would be a confident intermediate rider working with a trainer who wants to jump around the 2’6” or go to some fun shows—but definitely one who appreciates how unique this horse truly is.

“I have had geldings that have been tougher to transition to a riding career than Overdriven,” says Melissa. “The breeding stallion part gives people pause, but it shouldn’t—I truly have had geldings that are more alpha than he is!”

A true pocket pet, Overdriven is beloved by every New Vocations staff member who has been lucky enough to work with him. He is truly a once-in-a-lifetime horse and we can’t wait for this big boy to find his perfect person!

Interested in learning more about Overdriven to see if he’s the perfect match for you? Click here.

Watch Overdriven win the 2011 Sandford S. (G2)

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