Glitter Please
Glitter Please – a.k.a. Hot Legs "Beyond question, the greatest horse I ever owned."

glitter_1.jpg1983 was a monumental year in my life. I decided to realize a dream and open my own equestrian training facility. Years spent scrimping and saving resulted in the bank allowing me the privilege of assuming a huge mortgage. Early in the construction process breeder Mickey Mertz called and asked me to come out and look at a yearling. It’s no secret how much I love Palominos and Mickey thought he had the perfect colt for me. When I arrived Mickey took me to the paddock and there standing before me was a big, leggy, Palomino Thoroughbred! I didn’t think racehorses came in gold. My heart was torn because I knew that no matter how badly I wanted the flashy little guy, I just couldn’t afford another horse. Tears flowed all the way home.

A year went by, Bit by Bit Farm opened and I was busier than ever. Clients, bills, training and shows occupied my thoughts, but each day I found time to wonder about the little colt named Glitter Please. One day Mickey called and announced “if you want him, bring me $1,500 and he’s yours.” I flew out the door with my checkbook, hopped in the horse van and raced to Mickey’s place before he changed his mind. Driving up I saw the gangly two-year-old trotting in the pasture. I never called the vet since I would have ignored any negative remarks anyway. The excitement of our first meeting returned when I signed the bill of sale and loaded him in the van. He was scruffy, thin and only had one shoe, but he was all mine!

glitter_2.jpgAnyone who knows me is painfully aware of my love of Rod Stewart music. My new, blonde stallion became Hot Legs when we got home. I gave “Legs” a little time to settle in but I began light riding almost immediately. After all, he was 16.1 hands and still in tact. He seemed ready. In no time at all I realized that his appearance was not his finest quality. Legs possessed tremendous athletic ability and a heart of gold to match his coat. Even as a youngster he loved to show off. That never hurts in the dressage ring. He went to his first show at age three and won the First level championship at Knoll Farm when he was four.

If Legs had a fault it was bad teeth. I kept him floated regularly but one tooth in particular needed to come out. The procedure required he be put under while the vet extracted the tooth. Once the anesthesia wore off, I brought him home and soon noticed him limping. He began to founder. Treatment started immediately but the hoof contracted and a check ligament operation was necessary. Heartbreaking and expensive but nothing was spared to bring my golden boy back.

We started competing at Second and Third level when Legs turned seven. From that point forward I never knew how sound he would be. His right front foot was never 100% and training depended on his level of soundness. Many times the decision to go down centerline or scratch was made as the bell rang. His talent and my determination allowed him to school his way up the levels to FEI. The German instructors always seemed to appreciate his ability, especially Jo Hinnamen and Georg Heyser. My instructor, Irma Hotz didn’t take to him as quickly but eventually she grew to love his spirit.

glitter_3.jpgAfter the founder his competition career didn’t end. Legs just never got to reach his full potential. He did well at Devon, Port JervisLexington, Prince George and other big shows. He won the Prix St. Georges memorial trophy at the West Chester Fairfield show under Judge Maria Gunther. The irregular training program made it difficult but Hot Legs was the first horse I schooled from green through all of the Grand Prix movements. Even sore, Legs enjoyed his work. I semi-retired him from competition in 1992 and moved to Georgia in 1994. A young rider student of mine came for a visit in the spring of 1995. It just so happened that Legs was sound and I offered her a ride. Nicole was a talented rider at age sixteen but had never ridden FEI. No sooner did they walk in the arena than Legs picked up passage and later threw in some tempi changes for good measure. Nicole yelled “I’m not doing anything! He’s doing it on his own!” That didn’t surprise me. The horse loved dressage.

Over the years I bred several of my mares and put twenty foals on the ground but I never considered myself a breeder. I understand the work and commitment required to run a proper breeding program. My efforts have always gone towards training and instruction. While I owned him, Legs did sire two babies. There names? Maggie May and Hot Rod, what else! After the move to Georgia I received a phone call from Linda Mylam in Texas. She had heard of his performance record and was interested in breeding her mares to him. Linda and a friend flew in, looked him over and said she would get back to me.

glitter_4.jpgWhen she did phone me again it wasn’t about a breeding contract. She wanted to purchase Hot Legs. Apparently there are very few Jockey Club registered horses Palomino in color. Linda and her daughter specialized in breeding colored sporthorses and Legs was a perfect fit. He was soon to be sixteen and his foot showed no signs of improvement. The sensible side of me knew his performance career was over. The emotional (and far stronger) side of me never wanted to part with him. After a great deal of soul searching I decided it was only fair to let my stallion do what he was capable of in retirement. Through the tears I walked him to the shipper’s ramp in 1997.

In two and a half breeding seasons Hot Legs sired over thirty babies. The Mylams were thrilled with the rate at which he threw his color. Several offspring have gone on to breed show wins. Dr. Lauren Efford took home championships at Devon with “Dream in Gold.” I kept up with his condition through frequent calls and e-mails. A group of his “baby pictures” served as my computer screen saver for a while. Legs stamped his mark on every one of his foals. One thought that lifted my spirits was the fact that a “Legs baby” was in the sales contract and I had pick of the litter for two years.

In January of 2000 Lauren Efford called and asked to speak to my husband. Hot Legs had died from a severe bout of enteritis at the veterinary hospital in Texas. My heart was totally broken but a small, selfish part of me was glad that I didn’t have to watch him die. He was, beyond any question, the greatest horse I ever owned. It is still hard to talk about him but when asked about Hot Legs I sum up my feelings in one simple phrase. “If God have given him four good legs, I never would have wanted another horse to ride.”

Eventually, I called the Mylams and asked about the foals they still owned. It turned out that my favorite “screen saver” baby was still available. “Legacy In Gold” arrived at our farm on Mother’s Day 2000. So far he seems to have a lot of his dad in him.