MTM Outbid soared to the top of the leaderboard on Feb. 7 at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, California, winning the $50,000 USHJA International Derby with professional rider Jamie Taylor in the irons.
The 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding is no stranger to the derby field, with multiple big wins in the last three years. With rider Tracy Fenney, “Outbid” won his first derby championship at HITS-on-the-Hudson V (New York) in July of 2017. Then he did it again at Showplace Spring Spectacular III (Illinois) in June of 2018 and again in March of 2019 at the Ocala Championship Show (Florida). Outbid also jumped his way to a top-10 finish at Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship (Kentucky) in August 2018 and the reserve championship in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson in September 2018.
While Outbid holds superstar status on the East Coast and in Texas, in June of 2019 his name started popping up on derby entry lists in California. We went behind the stall door to get the story on the handsome bay’s new situation.
“We flew to MTM Farms [in Flower Mound, Texas,] last summer to try a different horse as a potential junior hunter for my client Ariana Marnell,” said trainer Denise Finch of Hunter’s Edge in Las Vegas. “Outbid was in the crossties, and Ariana asked to ride him even though he wasn’t for sale. The two made an instant connection, and I just knew that they would make a great pair. Then it just kind of happened from there.”
Outbid has been at his new home for about nine months now, and his whole barn family is head over heels for him.
- “He’s really, really, sweet,” said Finch. “He is a lover and wants attention.” However, he does take a little bit of time to warm up to new people.
“It’s really cute actually,” said Finch. “He takes his time with new people but then once he’s comfortable he loves to snuggle, and he has a really outgoing personality once he lets you into his circle.”
- For a while his new team thought he might have a sun allergy, because he has a slight lip twitch. “You can see it wiggling as he goes around the ring,” said Finch.
But after allergy testing and lots of experimentation, they found he was allergic to timothy hay and rice bran. Once they eliminated those foods from his diet, the twitch is much less noticeable.
- He’s not just a cuddler; he’s also a licker. Finch sent us a video of him vigorously licking her face and neck while he was getting a cold laser treatment for his lip twitch. A sign of appreciation, perhaps?
- He’s extremely gentle, except for in one special circumstance. “My 5-year-old daughter can walk him around; he’s really the most gentle horse,” said Finch. “Except for when he’s jogging in hand. He turns into a land shark and will nip at your back. It’s pretty hilarious; he’s quite the jokester.”
- While professional Jamie Taylor rides him in the international derbies, junior Ariana Marnell, 14, shows Outbid in the junior hunters. The pair recently made their national derby debut. “Outbid has given her a ton of confidence and has taught her to be a quiet, effective rider,” said Finch.
- He’s a low maintenance, easygoing kind of guy, but he does have one special request: “The only thing he’s picky about is his supplements,” said Finch. “He likes a little bit of sweet feed in there to make it go down easier. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask since he’s such a star.”
- We wanted to know if he was as nice to ride as he looks, and it turns out he is. “He’s very confident in himself,” said Finch. “He’s brave to the jumps and doesn’t bat an eye at anything. He doesn’t even need a warm-up class. It’s very rare to be able to say that about any horse. We love him, and we’re just honored that Tracy Fenney was willing to sell him to us.”
Photo: Lindsey Long