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smoking romance and his girls

Smoking Romance and His Girls

By: Alexis Arbaugh

In the spring of 2021, Charlotte Qualley and her mother Betsey attended the Iowa State Fair. At the fair, they noticed Hope After Racing Thoroughbreds (HART), a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accredited organization. They conversed with the HART representatives about horses that were available for adoption, and discussed which horse would be the most suitable match for the mother-daughter duo. They were primarily focused on a horse for Charlotte, but were interested in a horse they both could ride. Part of the criteria for a horse was one that could grow and develop alongside Charlotte. A horse that wasn’t too young or green” and that would help Charlotte become a better rider.

Smoking Romance was a nine-year-old bay gelding who had raced 41 times during his five years on the racetrack. They wanted a horse who had the potential to adapt and learn new things, and Smoking Romance seemed to be a great candidate for that position.

After Betsey and Charlotte’s second time visiting Smoking Romance they knew he was the one for them. They realized that he was willing to try anything that was asked of him and was a fast learner – perfect for Charlotte. “He just needed to build some trust in someone,” wrote Betsey.

At this point, S’more, as Charlotte and Betsey call him, had been with them for over two years and is thriving. “He’s had a lot of growth,” Betsey wrote, “he’s picked up everything that he learns and has built a trust with both of us, particularly Charlotte, who is his only rider”.

Charlotte and Betsey paid close attention to S’more and discovered what makes him happy. For example, he prefers front shoes only and benefits from regular chiropractic adjustments. S’more’s ground manners have improved significantly since they adopted him, as he now pays more attention to and trusts his rider. They worked extensively on trailer loading, focusing especially on straight-load trailers. When Betsey and Charlotte adopted him, he would only load onto a slant-style trailer, but now he loads onto both with ease.

S’more had been treated for ulcers with Betsey and Charlotte, and they work to ensure that his diet keeps him happy and healthy. “We feel like we’ve gotten him to a pretty good place,” wrote Betsey. They learned that he would rather be out with his herd than cooped up in a stall. “We’re always working on finding the best fits for him, whether it’s saddle fit, bridle, food, or any other care,” Betsey explained.

Betsey and Charlotte’s future plans include getting S’more comfortable with loading and unloading from the trailer so that they can take him on adventurous trail rides. Another goal is to teach him more cues for riding and eventually compete in a fun horse show.

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