Horse, rider win title after stable scare
by Peter Burke
Aug 09, 2012 | 2644 views | 0 0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Abby Sanchez, riding her horse Brodi, clear a jump at the Almaden Horse Show at Pebble Beach. Courtesy photo
Abby Sanchez, riding her horse Brodi, clear a jump at the Almaden Horse Show at Pebble Beach. Courtesy photo
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Brodi and his owner Abby Sanchez. Courtesy Photo
Brodi and his owner Abby Sanchez. Courtesy Photo
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When 15-year-old Abby Sanchez walked into the stables at Zayante Creek Equestrian Center in Felton on June 24, she found her horse, Brodi, in a life-threatening predicament.

The 9-year-old Irish sport horse had caught his leg in the railing which surrounded his stall.

“His leg was in an S (shape) through the fence,” Sanchez said during an interview Tuesday, July 31. “Most horses in that situation would thrash and kill themselves. The vet said he was lucky to be alive.”

Sanchez, a sophomore at Scotts Valley High School who’s been riding since she was six, alerted the stable managers and then held Brodi’s head on her shoulder for the next hour and a half as the bars were cut away, freeing the horse’s leg. The veterinarian arrived and stitched up the animal’s wounds — but miraculously, Sanchez said, Brodi suffered no broken bones or other significant injuries.

“I tried to stay calm and keep him calm,” said Sanchez who has been working with Brodi for two years. “He was pretty traumatized.”

The health of her horse was first on her mind, but Sanchez and Brodi were scheduled to compete just two weeks later in the Almaden Horse Show at Pebble Beach. After training for months for the biggest show of the year, she was determined to compete, as long as Brodi could handle it.

“He was on stall rest for the first week (after the injury),” Sanchez said. “Then, for half a week, I walked him all day to build up his strength.”

Every day he recovered more fully, but Sanchez did not know how her horse would respond in competition. Also, the stitches needed to remain in his leg.

“We actually could not jump him until the day of the show,” Sanchez said.

Then the show began. Sanchez and her family traveled to Pebble Beach with Brodi and prepared for their event, the 2-11’s, in the four-day competition, July 12 to15. The event consists of 10 jumps over obstacles that are 2 feet, 11 inches tall, followed by a tie-breaker of five more jumps.

“The first day was pretty tough, because both of us were out of shape,” Sanchez said.

For three more days, the duo competed in two events each day — and Brodi’s leg held up under the stress. They improved each day, and by end of the competition, Sanchez was happy to have finished.

But she was in for a surprise. Of the 20 or so entrants of all ages in the 2-11 jumper category, the duo was declared the champion.

“When they announced the champion, I was like, ‘What?’” Sanchez said. “He definitely knows his job in the ring. He’s a very hardworking horse.”

The duo won a championship at another event last year.

Brodi is home now and making a full recovery from his injury. Sanchez has been taking him on trail rides and has done a lot of bareback riding.

“He’s an amazing horse,” she said. “He’s totally a miracle.”

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