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The Many Lifetimes of GarryNdruig Albie

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There are some horses that seem to have been born to teach, and GarryNdruig Albie is one of them. Over the last fifteen years, this bay gelding has shown the joy of Three-Day Eventing to three riders, taking not only one, but all three to top-ten finishes at the USEA American Eventing Championships.

Through his scope and “can-do” attitude, it’s easy to see how he is able to fill the role of supporting whatever his rider needs, and look good doing it.

“Albie,” an Irish Sport Horse, started his life in Ireland, being imported to the US as a five year-old to be a Young Rider horse for Felicia Bradley, of Georgia. He seemed to find his stride quickly, as the next year the two competed in the Preliminary Young Rider division at the 2010 USEA American Eventing Championships, finishing in eighth place. For the next few years, Albie and Felicia would work together to compete all the way to the three-star level, laying down a solid foundation for the both of them. With much to give, it was eventually time for Albie to go on to teach another rider.

The reins were then handed over to Savannah Blackstock, of Florida, who was another Young Rider looking for a chance to be shown the ropes. Much like with Fecilia before them, the pair competed in the Preliminary Young Rider division at the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships, this time bringing home first place. With the years of experience, Albie was then able to help Savannah compete in her first three-star level event. Later on, while Savannah was navigating the next steps in life, Albie got to have some time off. After his initial vacation, Savannah noticed that he still had the desire to teach, so she began to look for someone to lease him.

When Stephanie Letarte, of Middle Tennessee, got the call about the possibility of leasing such a horse, she jumped at the chance. It was a short three months of leasing before Stephanie was able to buy him outright, knowing that this was the right fit. Since Albie had had some time off before they met, the two spent the next few months legging him back up into competition shape, and getting to know each other. During their first cross-country outing together, Stephanie couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear, because of how much fun Albie made it feel. Due to some past riding history, she claimed to not always be the most confident rider, so when she realized that the jumping was so easy, it helped her gain confidence. “You can tell he really enjoys cross-country. He’s ready to go out of the box, looking for the next jump.”

As twice before, the pair qualified for the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships. Competing in the Training Amatuer division, Stephanie joked on her way to Dressage, “Alright, let’s go win this thing.” Little did she know that Albie would help make that come true. The pair rode the best Dressage test they’ve ever had together, and landed in first place, continuing to lead the whole weekend. Their goal together was to just have fun and enjoy the opportunity, but leave it to Albie to take it all the way. 

Stephanie mentioned that out on cross-country, there was a fence where she was not steering him very well, and Ablie just said, “Alright I got this!” It was an experience that Stephanie will never forget.
When asked what makes Albie such a good teacher, Stephanie laughed and said, “He’s a big, grumpy horse, but he’s also quite sweet and patient. He’s very athletic, and the job is easy for him, so it’s easy for him to absorb his rider’s mistakes. This helps give you the right feel, which you then learn how to be better from. That being said, he can also be a bit lazy, and if you give him a tap he’ll buck, as if to say ‘Leave me alone! I know what I’m doing!’ If you’re not sure in your decision-making, he’ll help you make the right one, without being too annoyed.”

Turning twenty years-old this year, it’s up to Albie to decide when he’s wanting to retire. While Stephanie feels that he still has many years to go, since he’s getting older, she’s looking forward to whatever he thinks is comfortable. She never thought she’d ever make it to the national championship, or even win it, so he’s surpassed every expectation. They aim to take it day by day, as she has a lot to learn from him still. The great shape that Albie is in, Stephanie claims, is a testament to the care he’s had along the way. Albie is truly the horse of a lifetime, for three separate lifetimes, and that is the mark of a teacher.

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