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Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

Warhorse Makeover Series: Stormofthecentury and Jen Ruberto

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LOPE is doing a series of blog interviews with riders who are bringing warhorses or racing warriors to the 2018 Retired Racehorse Project TB Makeover.

Warhorse Details

  • Horse JC Registered name: Stormofthecentury
  • Current Age: 10 years old
  • Description: @15.3H bay gelding
  • Barn name: Stormy
  • Number of races: 39
  • Earnings: $561,831
  • Age when retired from racing: 9
  • Pedigree:  http://www.pedigreequery.com/stormofthecentury2
  • Owned by: Jen Ruberto
  • RRP Status: Professional
  • RRP Selected Discipline: Dressage (primary) and Competitive Trail

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About Stormofthecentury

How did you acquire Stormofthecentury?

We saw he was entered in the OBS two year olds in training sale. We had had one other colt by Dark Kestrel and wanted another. When we got down to the sale, he had been pulled from it due to bucked shins. We found out where he was and went and made an offer. We were partners on him with Beechwood Racing Stable.

What made you choose this horse?

Stormy has more heart than any other racehorse I’ve known. He raced for us for seven years and ALWAYS tried. Even when they charts said otherwise. I used to gallop our horses but Stormy was always a bit tough and intimidating to me. He was a powerful horse and I was afraid I would not be able to stop him I did tell my in-laws that I wanted to show everyone one day just how special he was. I knew once he was “let down” I could ride him. I’d been putting that bug in my family’s ear for several years. THIS was the one horse I wanted to do the makeover with.

Tell me about your horse’s personality

Stormy has a huge personality. He loves to play with his jolly ball like a punching bag (I have video). He loves to be rubbed on and really loves his carrots. He is much smaller than his pasture mate but still plays halter tag and goofs off with him.

What does your horse love to do most?

Stormy is very competitive, but he also really enjoys to hack out over open space. This is how we train our racehorses on the farm. They gallop and jog over our hills. They get a lot out of it and then when they retire from racing they are more well rounded.

What is harder for your horse to do?

He does really well with his flat work but he is also learning about trail obstacles. These are a challenge for him. He trusts me so he tries.

What discipline(s) are you considering for your horse in the RRP Makeover?

My primary discipline is dressage. I’m hoping to do Competitive Trail as my second one. Though I have also thought about a freestyle. Everything depends on how Stormy handles things.

Anything extra special or unusual about your horse’s racing history?

Stormy is a graded stakes winner. He won the Grade 3 Turf Monster at Parx Racecourse. The year he won he beat Maryland Bred legend, Ben’s Cat. He came from behind and won at odds of 25 to 1. This was my Father-in-Law’s first graded stakes win. We are a family run racing stable. We are all working together daily, that win was extra special for us. Stormy also won a stakes at Presque Isle Downs at an 8 year old.

Does you horse have any old sports injuries?

Stormy has old, set, mild osselets.

Are you currently rehabbing any injuries for your horse?

No I’m not, but I probably baby him a little too much knowing he is older and because he ran so well for us.

What are your training goals between now and June?

I’m hoping to get out to Stonegate Farm to school their beautiful new trail course. Jackie Smith and her Husband Dave really, really nice!

If your horse could have one song as his soundtrack, what would it be?

Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons.

What animated gif sums up your horse’s personality or your rides together?

It would have to be one with big smiles and lots of hearts!

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About Jen

Are you Amateur, Junior or Professional?

Technically I am a professional. Not because of training or teaching but because I sell horses for other people on commission. The rules state so. However, I am not a trainer, and I am not an instructor. I ride my personal horse, Petey and I rode Stormy. That’s it.

How long have you been riding OTTBs?

I’ve been riding OTTBS since I was about 10 years old. I can remember the (barn) names of all the ones I took lessons on as a kid.

Describe a favorite moment you had with a special horse in your life

I bought a horse as a resale project about ten years ago. He was a fat, shiny, gorgeous gelding named Spider Murphy. The reason the trainer decided to sell him was because he wouldn’t come out of the gate. I did sell him thorugh my good friend Michelle Craig to a lovely woman who evented him for a few years. One day I received a facebook message from her asking if I would like to buy Murphy back. I knew I could never afford him as she had been showing him and he was well out of my budget. A week later she contacted me again and offered to give him back to me. They were just not a great match and she wanted to move on. Murphy was me true “heart horse.” I never knew an animal could be so bonded with a person until Murphy came back into my life. He was like a big dog. Nothing bothered him. He was kind and safe and most of all, FUN. He gave me back my confidence. He reminded me how much fun eventing was. Unfortunately, 8 months after getting Murphy back, at 8 years old, he died of an aneurysm. I have to say that was in my top five worst days of my life. He was truly a special animal.

What’s your experience in the discipline(s) you are choosing for RRP Makeover?

Well, I’m a bit of a “re-rider.” I took four years off from riding aside from an occasional trail ride on one of our family’s quarter horses. I had injured my back one too many times and it really took a toll. I spent several years trying to find the RIGHT doctor to help me feel better. Prior to this I had only done schooling shows and took a LOT of lessons. After getting my current horse back off of a lease, I decided to get my feet wet again and start in dressage. I spent a lot of 2017 doing local shows and did eventually ride in two recognized dressage shows. As I’m getting stronger physically I’m making plans to move up to first level. It’s been slow going because our racing business is very, very busy. But I’m so happy to be doing this again.

What is your life motto or favorite inspirational quote?

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” — Roy T. Bennett

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” — Zig Ziglar

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Does your horse have a FB or Instagram page?

https://www.facebook.com/stormofthecenturyRRP2018/?ref=bookmarks

What’s your favorite story about Stormy?

Stormy was this thick, muscular badass racehorse that I always loved and thought was the coolest horse in the barn. As he retired and got some turn out time, I started playing with him on the ground. His personality REALLY started to shine. He is just so “chill” about so many things that most horses would freak out about. He is kind and gentle and to me is just such an amazing representative of his breed.

Who inspires you the most?

I’m competing this year in memory of two amazing women that we lost six months apart. My mother-in-law, Sharon Ruberto passed away on October 13, 2017. She taught me so many things about racing. She was one of the hardest working women I’ve ever met. She kept working after hand surgery. She went back to galloping after getting both knees replaced at the same time. She was a true horsewoman, an avid foxhunter and a great friend. She inspires me to keep going because the hard work pays off. I’m also riding in memory of my mother, Rose Arbogast, who passed away unexpectedly on April 3, 2018. My mom was someone who always wanted me to follow my dreams. She was a generous and kind person who would do anything to make her friends and family happy. She was not a horse person, but she did love the horses, especially our babies. She inspires me to never give up. To keep trying and do it all with a smile on my face. I miss both of them terribly so I hope I can do Stormy justice and make them both proud.

Austin Equine Hospital Schleese
Paddock Foundation American Association of Equine Technicians and Assistants Sam Houston Race Park
Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance The Ranch Broker Moose Pants Studio
Thoroughbred Charities of America Scissortail Hill Equestrian Secretariat Foundation
Treaty Oak Equine Express