Living the Louisville Dream
RELEASE: August 23, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Daniel Rieffer
When Randy Weaver was diagnosed with colon cancer, priorities were adjusted. Randy moved reconnecting with horses up on his list. A light that had shined in his life long ago was now important to illuminate again. He’d shown horses in his youth. He knew then about Louisville.
What do you do when you’re faced with cancer? If you fight and win that battle, as Randy did, do you resume as normal? I imagine you examine your entirety, life as a whole, and reflect on the things that have brought you the most joy. How precious is life now that you’ve seen how quickly and unexpectedly it can be shorter lived? With your new appreciation for the time you’ve been granted to live on this planet, wouldn’t you focus on those things that have brought you the most joy?
“After he had colon cancer, he decided he wanted to get back into the horse business,” says Randy’s wife of 36 years, Lauretta. Randy was already in the horse business, sort of. He owned a stable but, ironically, no horses. He rented his space to other horse owners, but the time had come to make space for one of his own.
Although nary a Saddlebred was stabled at his place, that’s where Randy turned first, to a Saddlebred man. Specifically, Stanley Brown, who Randy knew to be a veteran of the horse show world. He told Stanley he wanted a horse strictly for recreational purposes, just wanted to get back in the saddle again.
“I got her in February (2002). She’d been turned out to pasture, and she had a winter coat, so she didn’t look like a show horse at all,” says Randy of his purchase of Stanley’s mare. His wife explains that a few weeks later, “He came home and said, ‘She’s got show ring potential. She’s got a big heart. She loves what she’s doing.’”
Randy turned back to his pal Stanley, asked him to take a look at the horse he’d sold him and see what he thought of the mare’s show potential. “Well,” Randy says, “that trip back up to Stanley’s in the aluminum trailer must’ve made her nervous. Stanley rode her that night and no rack, nothing.” But just a few nights later, it was “rack on” and the beginning of what has been a lifelong journey to Louisville for Randy.
After four years of working with his mare, Randy decided to call another friend in the show horse business, Marvin Ward, and asked if his mare was five-gaited material. Indeed, she was and in May of this year, Class Act Too brought home third at the Dixie Cup Spring Classic with Marvin aboard. Randy says she also impressed at the pro-am in Perry, Georgia, claiming the Georgia-Owned Five-Gaited title.
Encouraged by the performances and her pedigree, Randy and Marvin began discussing the possibility of bringing Class Act Too to the big dance. Class Act Too is by Oakbrook’s Class Act and out of Bright Flight, by Flight Time. CHWing Commander is the third sire on both sides of her bloodline. They decided to put Jan Henderson in the irons and show in amateur classes. Louisville, and Randy’s dream, was now just around the corner.
“I’d always just wanted to be able to just see it (World’s Championship Horse Show), never dreamed I’d have a show horse in it,” says Randy. He finally made the trip to see the horse show two years ago and returned last year. But this time around, he’s watching from Freedom Hall’s upper deck as an owner of an entry.
Monday night, Class Act Too placed sixth in the Five-Gaited Ladies Amateur Mare.
“I thought it was one of the most … to see her show was like Cinderella. I always believed in her. She has heart like Seabiscuit,” explains Randy – beaming with that joy he likely had as a young man showing horses – shortly after seeing his mare compete, and complete the Louisville dream. “For her to be competitive for her first time at Louisville, air conditioning, green shavings and the crowd. Placing … psshh. Impossible thing, I thought.
“Nobody would’ve ever thought she’d be a ribbon winner at