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Stone Surprise

Stone Surprise

By: Alexis Arbaugh

Anna Stone wasn’t actively looking for a new horse, but upon seeing images of Stone Surprise on New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program’s social media, she found herself unable to resist. The presence of “Stone” in his name and the coincidence of Anna sharing the same last name piqued her curiosity. Anna had previously adopted other horses from New Vocations, making her an approved adopter, which made the process of acquiring a horse easy and straightforward.

Every bit of information Anna gathered about Stone Surprise drew her closer to the decision to bring him home. His pictures were flawless, and she loved his look. He was big and bay, without any white on his legs, and a perfect diamond-shaped star on his forehead. His build and beauty reminded her of Thoroughbred Hunters from the 1970s (Anna’s favorite type of horse).

Stone Surprise was stabled at New Vocations’ location in Gansevoort, New York. Anna got ahold of Amanda Vance, the Facility Manager and Thoroughbred Trainer at that farm location. Within an hour of talking with Amanda, Anna had ordered a pre-purchase examination for Stone. Soon after the exam, Stone was put on a trailer to Chicago.

Since Anna adopted Stone Surprise in March of 2022, he has been in full training. He spent that winter in Ocala, Florida, where he learned the ins and outs of horse show life. He was ready to make his horse show debut in March of 2023, competing in the USHJA 2’ Hunter division, where he won four of his classes and ended as Reserve Champion. The following week, he was Champion of that same division.

Upon returning home to Chicago after a long winter in Florida, Stone Surprise went on to compete in the A and B circuit shows in the Chicago area, winning either Reserve Champion or Champion of his 2’ division.

As Anna and Stone continue their competitive journey together, they plan to focus on numerous gymnastic exercises and similar grid work to strengthen his muscles further while continuing his training regimen. Their goal is to progressively prepare him to compete confidently at the 2’6 or 2’9 level, aiming to return to Hunter competitions in April 2024.

In the short time that Anna has owned Stone Surprise, they have traveled, shown, and he has demonstrated great potential throughout it all. She is very grateful to have such a lovely horse that wants to please and is so willing to learn new thing.

“I’d like to give a huge shoutout to New Vocations for their dedication and training of both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, and making sure these beautiful creatures are put into the proper environment after the track,” wrote Anna.

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