Karen Benson of Campobello, S.C., is deeply committed to showing off the versatility of the Thoroughbred breed. She rides Money Makes Money (Talk Is Money—Soak, Devil's Bag), her current horse, in horse shows as a jumper and a hunter, on the trails in Western tack and in field hunter trials.
Together since “Kitt” was three, the gelding retired from racing with a bowed tendon; since then, Benson and Kitt have been bucking Thoroughbred stereotypes all over the United States. They've been a part of the Extreme Cowboy Association's World Championships three times, and he's always the only Thoroughbred there, Benson says.
She's also recently begun foxhunting the bay gelding after she won a scholarship to ride out with the Tryon Hounds. She represented the hunt at the Festival of the Hunt during its two-day competition at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C., and the two came home champions.
Festival competition is judged on the mount's suitability to ride in a hunt field; the horse must have an even way of going, a good gallop, a solid whoa and be good with the hounds. The judge for the 2018 competition was Olympic eventer Linden Wiesman, who watched horses participate in a mock hunt, and then asked competitors to ride with a partner to demonstrate that the horse can both lead and follow.
Making it to the top four, Kitt then had to jump a series of showjumps and portable cross-country jumps. Because of his show-jumping background, the horse handled the bending lines with ease, and Benson was able to jumps some jumps at an angle to show off Kitt's adjustability.
Read more about Kitt and Benson at The Chronicle of the Horse.
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