Director of Education & Development
Thoroughbred “Bayou Brass”
Originally from Northeastern Ohio, Sarah began taking hunt seat riding lessons at the age of 6. Her first horse was a big, black, troubled OTTB named Nightline (barn name Ronn) that she showed at local and 4-H horse shows.
Bought for her by her parents, he was a tough ride and a one-person horse…and the horse that made her fall in love with the Thoroughbred breed.
“I love that you can’t tell a Thoroughbred what to do—you ask politely,” Sarah says. “That horse taught me more about life that I realized while I was learning to ride him. The phrase ‘be kinder than necessary’ was definitely applicable to him, and something I have tried to be cognizant of in all facets of my life.”
Ronn was retired when Sarah went to college at Ohio University, where she graduated from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism with a major in news writing and editing and a minor in political science. While at OU, she competed on both the western and hunt seat teams, and was a member of the 2002 IHSA National Championship Hunt Seat team.
Since moving to Lexington, Ky., in 2004, Sarah has held various positions in the equine industry and sits on multiple equine boards. In addition to falling in love with the Bluegrass, she also found her next great equine love: a red-headed OTTB with a penchant for Peeps named Bayou Brass (nickname: Iggy).
At 21, Iggy is a true hard-knocking racehorse. He raced until he was 9 years old and earned almost $97,000. Bought back by his conscientious breeder, he had let down and recovered from a bowed tendon when Sarah found him at 11.
He is still shown in the 3-foot hunters and adult equitation divisions, though he has battled both EPM and vision loss (among other injuries). He still loves to gallop out on the cross-country and is a fantastic hunter with a beautiful movement.
“People have a tendency to discount the older horses,” Sarah says. “Iggy is a great example of just how much OTTBs can give if managed properly. I don’t coddle my horses—they live outside and Iggy wears only front shoes. That being said, I am acutely in tune with his health. Every time he comes out, I am making sure he’s happy and sound. And when the day comes that he doesn’t want to play anymore, that’s OK, too. But just because he’s now a ‘senior horse’ doesn’t mean I love him any less or that he has any less heart.”
“I absolutely adore that cranky old man,” Sarah says. “When he finally does retire, he’ll leave some big horse shoes for my next OTTB to fill.”