Kaitlyn and Taino: an OTTB Story
Kaitlyn and Taino: an OTTB Story by Casey Laughter– One dollar was all it took for Kaitlyn Samuels to bring home a Thoroughbred racehorse. A racehorse was not exactly what Kaitlyn was wanting, though. The family was just looking for a pasture mature for their old family horse, as Kaitlyn’s sister was selling her first horse. That was when the search came to mind.
Kaitlyn had a Quarter Horse named Buck, whom she competed on. However, Buck was aging and experiencing a number of health problems, so the search was on.
Kaitlyn’s mother had a friend, named Joan Scott, who had a string of horses at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. While Joan got horses ready to ship to Florida, there was one gelded son of Petionville that had experienced an injury and had no place in Scott’s Florida barn. His name was Taino.
Kaitlyn never got to see Taino until he was brought home to their house in Louisville, Kentucky. The gelding had a suspensory injury and needed at least six months rest, so out in the paddock he went.
“I was not looking for an OTTB when we got Taino, it just happened.”
As 2013 passed and 2014 began, Kaitlyn was not only preparing to go to school at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, she was also preparing Taino for eventing, as she had started working with him slowly as he healed. When Taino was ready, Kaitlyn entered them in their first competition.
In August 2014, Kaitlyn started her college career as a pre-med student at the University of Kentucky. Her and Taino compete on the Eventing and Dressage team and currently compete at the training level. This is the first time Kaitlyn has ever competed at the training level, so the experience is new for both her and Taino.
However, Kaitlyn understands that after graduating and moving onto medical school, she will likely not be able to ride, so she enjoys the time she has to spend with Taino. At only age 20, Kaitlyn already is entering her junior year old college, showing that she is determined and driven.
“We honestly had no idea what kind of horse we were getting when we got him from Joan or whether he would be a good eventer or not. We just stuck him on a trailer and brought him home, but he has been great.”
“Taino has always been very levelheaded and willing ever since we got him and he learns really fast. He can be stubborn when he’s unsure of something like with ditches on cross country or getting on the trailer, but once he understands he’s fine.”
As a racehorse, Taino started 22 times, only winning five of those starts. While all his wins came in claiming company, Taino was stakes placed in 2012 at Mountaineer Park. He also finished second three times and third six times. Taino suffered the aforementioned suspensory injury in his final start, which was a winning one at Keeneland, going 8.5 furlongs over the all weather track.
Currently, Kaitlyn and Taino continue to bond and compete while they still have time. Until Kaitlyn continues on to medical school, she will continue to work with Taino. Afterward, Kaitlyn hopes to keep Taino in the family by giving him to her mother.