Recently I posted about the big halter boys who dump horses without even telling the owners that they've changed their minds about handling their horses. Today, I have a story about the other side of that coin.
A few years ago I worked as a groom for Eric Krichten. Eric is climbing up the ladder in the halter arena and has recently seen top ten awards at the US Nationals. Eric, like Calvin Borel didn't complete school past eighth grade and directly began his life in the horse industry scratching and climbing their way up. Although, I suspect Eric's motivation was much different than Calvin Borel's. The jockey was pursuing a dream and I believe Eric was fleeing from abuse.
But none the less both men have worked their way up the ranks the hard way to get where they are today. I don't know Borel personally so I can't speak to any similarities in character the two men might have but I do know Eric well. Underneath a pretty unpolished and gruff exterior lies a heart of gold.
I didn't know this about Eric when I went to work for him. Actually, I had a totally opposite impression of him. But over the two years I worked for him, I grew to respect him both as a trainer and as a human being.
The reason I went to work for Eric at all was I wanted to learn more about halter so that I could teach my horses to stand up correctly and not have to entrust them to someone else's care. After the experience I had with my her sire, Scandalous Legacy, (see Are You a Good Advocate for Your Horse, Part 2) when he was a yearling, I didn't want to be in that position again.
The second year I worked for Eric, I asked him if he would show my horse in the stallion halter class at the Daffodil Arabian Spring Show. At the time, Eric didn't have a stallion in training to show halter.
Before the show a client who had a filly in training with Eric, brought a young stallion to the barn to be tuned up and clipped up for the horse show. That horse was in a different age division for my horse so there wasn't a problem for Eric to show both horses.
The problem came when both horses won their division and both were required to show back in the championship class. Eric had told the client going in that he was already committed to my horse and if both horses made the championship, the owner would have to lead his own horse.
The owner offered Eric $500 to lead his horse into the ring and Eric turned him down. Eric jokingly mentioned it to the owner's wife as I walked around the corner. She, of course, knew that her husband was going to offer Eric the money but she was mortified at being exposed. Eric tried to cover for her saying it was just a joke.
My friend, Chris, later told me she had overheard the actual offer. The owner was insistent and even offered to pay whatever Eric wanted but he still turned them down.
So like, Calvin Borel, Eric honored his commitment.
To me what makes this even more extraordinary is Eric wasn't getting paid to show my horse. He was doing it for me as a favor. Now how cool is that?
By the way, my stallion was the Daffodil Arabian Spring Show Champion Stallion that year thanks to Eric! Sometimes the little guy does win!!