Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Great Ones - Osczar

There are some great hunters out there, but some are really great and I'd put Osczar in that category as would most people who follow the show hunter world.  If you ever saw him jump around, you'd see it immediately. He was a big horse but he jumped around effortlessly, reins looped, no martingale, he made it all look so easy.  He loved his job and it showed.

He was lucky in that he had good owners and trainers.  Rick Fancher (trainer) and Dawn Fogel (owner) didn't show him too much and because he was a big horse with a big jump, he could have easily broken down.  When Dawn showed him she won most of the time in the Amateurs.  I interviewed her once at Upperville for an article I was writing at the time and she told me that someone had given her a blank check for the horse, told her to fill it in but she politely declined.  If you get one that great it's a rare gift and no amount of money could have replaced this horse.

Osczar was the first horse ever to receive a perfect 100 score in a hunter class.  Some others have equaled his score since that day at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Maryland in 1997, but the list is small and the ceiling was shattered that day by one of the best of all time.

Fancher recalls sitting on the big chestnut at age 2 when he was 17 hands but he said he was as balanced at 2 years old as he was as a seasoned show horse.  I love this quote from Francher - "He wanted to cooperate every day of his life." How many horses do that?  Not many, I can tell you from experience.  Once the horse retired they took him to the shows with them because he loved it so much.  He was retired in 2002 and he died last year at age 26, now buried less than five miles where he was born in Kentucky.  I love stories like Osczar's.  He was a real pro, a special animal, a rare one, one that will remembered for a very long time.


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