The Longshot on the Track, This Standardbred is a Sure Bet in the Show Ring

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

Help us share this story and get Medieval Art a home!


With 64 starts, Medieval Art, a pacing Standardbred, knew how to do one thing: race. With proven racing bloodlines that include Art Official, “Artie” was the consummate racehorse: He knew his job and he enjoyed it. Ironically, betting on Artie was betting on a longshot: He was not a good racehorse, consistently running with 99-1 odds and earning only $17,000 during his racing career. His owner was careful with Artie, wanting to be sure she didn’t push him too hard!

When he retired from racing and headed to the New Vocations New York facility, the big bay gelding had some trouble transitioning to the more laid-back lifestyle of a riding horse. “When he first came in October, it seemed like you could always see the whites of his eyes. He didn’t show interest in anything or anyone,” said trainer Leandra Cooper. “Overall, he just wasn’t super enthusiastic about his transition from his racehorse lifestyle.”

Leandra worked diligently to help Artie understand that not racing was not a bad thing—especially turnout! Born in 2011, the gelding had not on pasture since his racing career began. While he was originally hard on his turnout buddies, he now has a grand time with a very affectionate turnout buddy.

Total Transition

“Now, Medieval Art is a pretty relaxed, friendly guy, who nearly always has his head outside his stall yoke, ready to greet a passerby and check out what everyone is doing,” says Leandra. This attitude is vastly different from the focused-on-racing gelding who came to her! “He has a soft, kind eye and he loves to be groomed while he munches on some hay.”

And how has Artie adjusted to being ridden? He tries really hard to please, explains Leandra. This is a complete 180 from how the horse arrived. When Artie first began under-saddle work, he was very anxious; Leandra worked diligently to reprogram his brain with easy, repetitive work. Additionally, he went on 24/7 turnout with a quiet Standardbred buddy (who was later adopted by the Providence, RI, mounted patrol) that encouraged him to relax.

What’s it like to ride him now? “Though he was a pacer, he has a natural, long, lovely trot stride that screams for attention,” says Leandra. The perfect home for this sweet boy would include one that values Artie’s athleticism. While he likes trail rides, he does best in a working program, says Leandra. “He is definitely a good candidate for a show horse, particularly for Standardbred showing, show hunters or dressage, but he would flourish with an experienced adopter who knows the breed–especially how to get them to canter,” Leandra explains.

Artie will never have the ultra-relaxed disposition some Standardbreds possess—he is truly a horse show diva in the making!

Interested in learning if Medieval Art is the perfect show partner for you? Click here.

Photo Credit: Tracey Buyce Photography


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