OTTB Showcase: Intrepid Soul (a.k.a. “Rudy”)
Name: Intrepid Soul (a.k.a. “Rudy”)
Height: 15.3 hands
Sire: Deputy Minister
Dam: Heavenly Rhythm
Sale History: None
Race Record: None
Race Earnings: $0
Usually the horses we feature week to week are riding and show horses – hunter/jumpers, dressage, eventing types, and even the occasional Western or trail specialist. Not this week.
Here in Central Kentucky, where Thoroughbred breeding takes center stage, there’s another vocation that is often occupied by former racehorses, but one not often discussed as an option for off-trackers.
This week’s featured horse is Intrepid Soul and he is a teaser stallion at WinStar Farm.
Intrepid Soul was born at Prestonwood Farm in 1999. Owned by Art, Jack and J. R. Preston, the farm was sold to Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt in 2000 and with it came many of Prestonwood’s Thoroughbred holdings, including Distorted Humor, Kris S. and…Intrepid Soul, among others. Put into training as a two-year-old, Intrepid Soul was extremely promising, so much so in fact that he was nominated to the Triple Crown for the following year.
Unfortunately, life had other plans. Intrepid Soul incurred a training accident as a two-year-old, one that compromised his chances of ever having a racing career.
Thankfully his owners were quickly earning a reputation in the industry as being one of the most innovative and technologically advanced, and they were committed to doing whatever it took to rehabilitate their horses and give them the best possible quality of life.
It was a combination of stall rest, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, hand walking, and, of course, time, that brought Intrepid Soul back to health, and through the process, they started noticing traits that would make him an ideal teaser stallion.
“His size and attitude made him a good fit for a teaser, and at the time he was finishing his rehabilitation, we were looking for a teaser,” said Kieran Lalor, WinStar’s broodmare manager.
For those unfamiliar with Thoroughbred breeding (and I’ll try to keep this PG-rated), the role of the teaser is to encourage the mare to show signs that she’s in heat and ready to be bred. For young mares, the teaser is also the horse used to acclimate her to the breeding process, so when the mare is taken to be bred in an unfamiliar environment with new sights, sounds and smells, there’s an element of familiarity, because she’s been through the breeding practice before at her home farm. It makes it safer for all involved, human and equine. Teaser stallions are used at both the broodmare divisions and the stallion divisions at most major breeding operations.
“In many ways you could call teasers a security blanket for the valuable breeding stallions,” explained Kieran. “They are a vital and valuable tool for us broodmare managers. How the mare responds to the teasers approach gives us an indication of where the mare is in her cycle. When tracked daily, we create a heat pattern for each mare and how they tease and show.”
Rudy, as he’s known around WinStar Farm these days, proved to be an ideal teaser and is excelling in his second career.
“He’s got amazing vocal abilities,” joked Kieran. “He’s a very focused teaser when on the job and is never aggressive towards mares. That’s why his vocals are so important – that’s enough to get the mare’s attention.”
While Rudy’s a well-mannered teaser, he’s no puppy dog.
“He’s a full stallion, so he can be pretty high strung and mouthy when he’s on route to see his girlfriends,” said Kieran. “In the off season he figures out quickly when he has consecutive days off that it’s time to relax and enjoy the green grass and sunshine. He likes to sneak a bite when you’re not looking, but there are occasions where he’s very laid back and you can show him some love.”
The life of a teaser is known as the most thankless job in the Thoroughbred industry, going through life as a stunt double for the big star stallions, but every once in a while even the stunt double gets the girl.
“Several times a season Rudy does get to enjoy the privileges that the breeding stallions enjoy on a daily basis,” said Kieran. “When he actually gets to breed a mare, he gets so excited that he almost passes out after he’s covered her.”
So, as long as Rudy’s disposition, enthusiasm, and…eh hem stay intact, he’ll be teasing the ladies of WinStar Farm. When the day comes for him to retire, that’s exactly what he’ll do, at the farm he’s called home his entire life.
“”I think the hot blood coursing through [Thoroughbred’s] veins is a good reason why they’re so well suited for second careers,” said Kieran. “I love that if you give them enough time and preparation, they will do just about anything that you ask of them. They like to be kept active and work is great for their mental focus.”
If you have or know of a retired Thoroughbred with an interesting story to tell, we’d love to hear about it! Just email Jen Roytz (Jenlroytz@gmail.com) with the horse’s Jockey Club name, background story, and a few photos.
Jen Roytz is the marketing and communications director at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky. She also handles the farm’s Thoroughbred aftercare efforts. She currently owns two retired Thoroughbreds: Point of Impact (by Point Given; a.k.a. Boomer), who retired from racing in late 2011 and is just starting back under saddle to find his forte as a riding horse, and Shotgun Shine (by Tale of the Cat, a.k.a. Gage), who is in training as a hunter/jumper. Contact Jen on Facebook and Twitter.