What is your name and barn you are currently riding at?
My name is Bonnie Hutton and I work as the director and ride at After the Races, a rehab facility for retiring racehorses. It is located in Nottingham, PA.
Tell a little bit about you and your horse
I’ve been riding for over twenty years. Started in hunters and then found my way into eventing, then dove head first into the Thoroughbred racehorse industry where I’ve done everything from breaking yearlings for the track, exercising graded stakes winners, and helping with broodmares and foals. My favorite has always been the breaking and training and I was lucky to be able to incorporate a lot of my skills in that department into After the Races, where I rehabilitate and retrain retiring racehorses. Outside of work and retraining OTTBs, I have a passion for endurance though my personal horse is currently sidelined. Before he was injured, I completed in the Mongol Derby, the longest horse race on earth, as well as several 55 and
My favorite has always been the breaking and training and I was lucky to be able to incorporate a lot of my skills in that department into After the Races, where I rehabilitate and retrain retiring racehorses. Outside of work and retraining OTTBs, I have a passion for endurance though my personal horse is currently sidelined. Before he was injured, I completed in the Mongol Derby, the longest horse race on earth, as well as several 55 and 57-mile races here in the US. I’d started bringing my personal horse along and we’d finished one, 25 mile limited distance race when he started showing signs of arthritis afterward.
Now I mostly focus on riding the ex-racehorses in my barn, beginning their retraining, and am currently retraining one to compete in the RRP this year. The horse I chose is named Jolly Joker and is blind in one eye and we hope to compete in competitive trail as well as possibly in the field hunter division.
What are your goals as an equestrian? (Can be short term, long term, or both)
My goal is to eventually get back into endurance with a horse that can be my steady partner. I’m hoping my personal horse, Jayburger, will come around eventually though at this point it’s not looking likely. In the meantime, I’ll probably be looking at finding another Thoroughbred that can fill his shoes or break down and settle for an Arabian (love Arabs, just would also love to get more TBs into long distance racing!).
How are you working towards those goals?
Right now I’m a bit sidelined with my personal horse. He’s getting another six months of light work and then rechecked to see if his arthritis in his hocks has finished fusing. If they haven’t made any more progress (he’s already had 10 months), we’ll be considering surgery. In the meantime, I’m trying to focus on my work retraining Joker for competitive trail which will help me satisfy some of my distance-goals as we work on hacking out and tackling miles on the trails together. Ultimately, though, I’m keeping my eye out for the right TB to come along through our program that might fit my perfect endurance build.
Who is your riding role model? Who is it and why?
One is probably Sam Jones, an Australian distance rider that actually won the Mongol Derby the year I competed. I was really riding hard to win before I broke my hand, and if I had to be beaten by anyone, I was glad it was Sam. Sam is a very genuine person with a great knack for both picking and working with young horses and has followed her dream of riding long-distance all over the world. I was lucky to be able to ride with her again in Iceland for six days and have just been continually impressed by her horsemanship and the level of care and attention she gives to each horse. To be able to maintain a full-time job and still find time to train and compete and travel the world is something I truly envy.
Biggest success or funniest fail?
I think one of my proudest moments as a rider was when a Mongolian said to me, “That’s one badass chick.” These people are literally riding before they can walk and are some of the toughest people on earth. For them to say that of me made me feel really good. Also, the Adventurists said this about me after I broke my hand:
Aside from the goat, the finish line has been buoyed by the return of Bonnie Hutton who on finishing went to Ulaanbaatar to check out the damage to her hand. The scan confirmed she has a spiral fracture to her 4th metacarpal, an injury she rode with for 250km. She broke her hand after her horse from HS21 threw her three times, the third of which causing the injury. “He was a spooky little guy but great” was the worst she could say of the horse. A proper lady.