Written by: Jennifer Morrison

Alberta-bred goes from the track to pasture to high-level eventing.

Thumbnail for OTTB: Unmissable

Sara Zulyniak Photo

Unmissable was living life as a pasture mate for other horses when Carly Moore spotted her three years ago.

The Alberta-bred mare had been retired from racing for almost six years and had a previous owner that taught her to jump, but when Moore spotted her she was being ridden only occasionally. When Moore found out Unmissable’s owner was moving to the United States, she tried to help sell the mare.

There were no takers and Moore bought the pretty and petite dark bay for one dollar.

“I had been riding horses from a young age and mostly had Quarter Horse and thoroughbred cross types,” said Moore, 27. “I started riding only thoroughbred breeds in 2008.”

That was the year Unmissable, a daughter of Important Notice – Echo’s Ego by Eastern Echo made her career debut for Verne and Donna Dubinsky’s Donver Stable and co-owner Ian Fuller. The filly won her third career race, a maiden event at Northlands Park in Edmonton, but the race was run in a slow time and by the following summer she had been retired.

When Moore took over ownership of ‘Missy’ she noticed that the diminutive filly was a bit more sensitive to the riding touch that her previous thoroughbreds.

“Riding her was like being in a sports car, she was more compact than my previous OTTB and a little more hyper.”

Moore began working with Missy in various disciplines, focusing on those that make up three-day eventing. Jumping and cross-country obstacles were learned easily while dressage was a bit tougher.

“She eventually settled into the dressage part. That is always the more difficult part with a thoroughbred, but it is a really good tool to help her with the other disciplines.”

By 2016, the pair were riding in events in the Edmonton area and they moved all the way to the second highest level for eventing in Alberta, which have obstacles up to 3′ 3″. Last September, they finished second, their best placing in a competition.

Moore is a graduate student at the University of Alberta, studying agriculture. She is working on her Masters degree and has had to put competitive riding on hold for 2017.

“Right now, Missy is at a boarding farm near here, in Ft. Saskatchewan with a group of other three-day event people. I hope to be ready to start riding her full-time again early in 2018.”

Moore, who also works as a special event coordinator for her eventing club, says the off-track thoroughbreds are the most popular breed for that discipline.

“I think thoroughbreds are so perfect for any kind of riding, in particular eventing, because they have had that great exposure to life. They have seen and learned so many things at the racetrack that they have that maturity and experience about them.

“Missy and I, we had to work on it a lot in the beginning, to get that connection, but now we know that each one takes care of the other.”