Cosequin Presents Aftercare Spotlight: All Aboard ‘The Party Barge’

When you come across a horse named “The Party Barge,” you know he’s going to have a good story to go along with that raucous name. True to form, “Rye,” as he’s known around the barn, does not disappoint.

Rye is a middle-aged all-around show, trail and recreational riding horse who earned his name, according to owner Cindi Whitacre, because he is just that much fun to ride and always seems to have a good time with whatever he does.

Back in his heyday, however, the Maryland-bred was all business as he raced throughout Mid-Atlantic circuit as Off The Glass. A war horse in every sense of the word, Rye took winner’s circle photos an impressive 14 times and earned some black type as well with a second-place finish in Timonium’s Taking Risks Stakes. He ran many of his 71 lifetime starts for his breeder, Nonsequitur Stable, LLC, who at one point lost the bay gelding in a claim, only to claim him back toward the end of his career (and as a thank you, two races later Rye earned his final career victory, carrying the Nonsequitur silks in the $50,000 Maryland Million Starter Handicap).

“I don’t know much about Rye’s life between when he left the track and when I purchased him from a wonderful hunter-jumper trainer here in Kentucky as my personal horse, but he was very clearly loved and well-cared-for, as his excellent training and manners reflect,” said Whitacre.

Whitacre, who owns the online pharmacy GoGoMeds.com with her husband, has long been a fan of the Thoroughbred. Growing up in Lucketts, Va., one of her first jobs was at Middleburg training track, where she worked as a groom for trainer Louise McLean. Later she worked at the Rogers family’s White Oak Farm, one of the leading Thoroughbred consignment and breeding farms on the East Coast in the 1950s and 1960s, and Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, one of the country’s leading breeders of English Shires.

As much as Whitacre had worked with Thoroughbreds through the years, it wasn’t until purchasing Rye that she had one to call her own.

“I bought Rye because he was everything I was looking for in a horse. He’s an excellent teacher, being both patient and hard-working, but he is also incredibly fun and ready to have a nice gallop just for fun at a moment’s notice too,” said Whitacre. “He truly is the most versatile horse I’ve ever had the honor of owning.”

Rye and Whitacre clear the final jump at the 2017 New Vocations Hunter Pace.

Variety is the name of the game for this pair. Since partnering up last year, Whitacre and Rye have tried their hand (and hoof!) at a number of activities, including dressage, cross-country schooling, trail riding, swimming, working cows, hunter paces and riding lessons in various disciplines.

“Rye tries his best at anything I ask of him. While we haven’t shown together much yet, we’ve done just about everything else,” said Whitacre. “This summer we will try camping and some small local shows. I took a mounted archery clinic recently and I believe this is something at which [Rye] would absolutely excel, so that’s on the agenda, too.”

The right horse can instill the confidence and desire to push one’s self well past what is comfortable and familiar. While many may have overlooked the plain bay who lacks even the smallest hint of white hair, Whitacre feels blessed to have such a trustworthy and eager partner with whom to explore her adult amateur equestrian life.

“Rye is a treasure disguised in a plain brown wrapper and is worth his weight in gold,” she gushed. “He is the most versatile horse I have ever had the honor of owning and has given me the inspiration to continue to learn and branch out into disciplines more so than I ever have before. He always has a ‘can-do’ attitude and that’s infectious.”

Name: OFF THE GLASS (a.k.a. “The Party Barge” or “Rye”)
Born: March 6, 1999
Color: Bay
Sire: Press Card
Dam: Glass Tree, by Air Forbes Won
Sale History: none
Race Record: 71-14-12-8
Race Earnings: $377,040

Jen Roytz is a marketing, publicity and comprehensive communications specialist based in Lexington, Kentucky. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, her professional focus lies in the fields of equine, health care, corporate and non-profit marketing. She holds board affiliations with the Make a Wish Foundation, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Retired Racehorse Project, among others. She is the go-to food source for one dog, two cats and two off-track Thoroughbreds.

Email Jen your story ideas at [email protected] or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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