By Alexandra Kokka
How Divine ran three times, never breaking her maiden. The daughter of Divine Park retired to TAA-accredited Second Stride, but the flashy bay didn’t have long to wait before being adopted by Kendall Pray.
Pray was busy prepping her 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover horses when a friend told her there was an extra space in her trailer coming home from horse shopping at Second Stride.
“My friend pestered me all week to look on (Second Stride’s) website and see if I liked anything,” Pray said. “I saw (How Divine) right away but I was trying to have some shred of self control.”
However, How Divine’s quiet demeanor and floaty trot won over Pray’s better judgment. Pray and a good friend purchased her together with the intent of making her a project horse.
“I was not feeling super confident about one of my 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover horses so I thought she could be a back up if he didn’t work out,” Pray said. “Well my 2018 horse came around just fine, so (How Divine) got to go to my friend’s farm and gave her four months of turnout to just be a horse.”
The then 3-year-old ended up having quite a bit of time off due to the excessive rainfall in the midwest. By the time she was ready to come in, Pray had bought out the partnership after becoming increasingly attached to “Divi.”
“Every once in a while you get a horse that just speaks the same language as you without a ton of effort,” Pray said. “Divi was just easy for me.”
After months of ground work, the Kentucky-bred was ready for her first ride with Pray in June of 2019. “Divi” took to her second career with grace, making it clear she was meant for the show ring.
“Divi knows she is beautiful, she even eats treats like a lady,” Pray said. “She will walk into the broad side of a barn if she isn’t paying attention, but other than that she’s graceful.”
Carl Hurst and trainer Buff Bradley, who bred and raced “Divi,” were ecstatic to see her find success in this next chapter of her life.
“Her race connections actually recognized her in the schooling ring at the New Vocations Charity show,” Pray said. “It was just the coolest thing to have my horse recognized, like a puzzle piece of her life being put into place.”
The pair spent the remainder of the year gearing up for the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover where they competed in both show hunter and dressage earning scores of 8th out of 138 and 89th out of 118, respectively.
“Everything really came together for us at the Thoroughbred Makeover this year,” Pray said. “We hit every distance, change, and stride. I couldn’t have been happier getting eighth in the show hunters.”
Now, “Divi” is finished showing for the 2019 season, and Pray intends to start her hunter derby career in 2020.
“I purposefully didn’t jump her over 2′ this year, except for the occasional 2’6 fence, because of her age,” Pray said. “She should easily step into the baby greens next year. I think she is of international hunter derby quality and she thinks she is too!”