In the Ford family, Bryan, Jessie and Marc all have something different to be proud of when it comes to Teddy Terrific. They’ve each had their successes in the pen with Teddy, and below they’ll each talk about their greatest accomplishment on him. The horse affected their careers not just through their wins but through making them better riders and competitors, too. With Teddy, though, he has not just impacted the lives of the Fords. Quite possibly it has been Teddy’s contributions to the sport of pole bending that have made the horse so special.
What was your greatest accomplishment on Teddy?
BRYAN: My personal greatest accomplishment on Teddy was at the 2008 Quarter Horse Congress when Teddy won the Senior
Pole Bending, the second go of the Pole Bending Sweepstakes and the average of the Pole Bending Sweepstakes. Each run he made he got stronger and stronger. Before he ran in the finals there was a real calmness about everything…the surroundings, the arena, even Teddy. Having that much focus along with a horse that has that much focus and confidence, coming together all at the same time — it’s a feeling like no other — one that you only get once in a great while, during a great race, with a great horse.
JESSIE: Teddy gave me the opportunity to not only have success as a youth, but also as an amateur. He carried me as a teenager and then on into my young adult years. In 2005, I won three Congress Championships (youth classes and an All Around title) on him and that was the highlight of my life, at the time. While I will always cherish those wins, because they were my first Congress titles, I love that two years later, he carried me on to win Amateur Barrels, as well. It also showed that he himself could win a big barrel class at the Congress, and not just pole bends!
MARC: My greatest accomplishment was when we won the Novice Youth 14-18 Barrels at the Congress in 2007. I consider it my
greatest accomplishment on him because the Congress is so tough, and it’s an honor to win a title there. I also became the third and final Ford kid to win the Congress on Teddy, so that was very special to me.
What had Teddy done for you as a person and as a barrel racer?
CARL: Patience and knowing it takes a little more time in allowing a horse to give into what he can or cannot do at times…for Teddy, it’s paid off.
BRYAN: What Teddy did for me as a person and a barrel racer was that he gave me a chance to get out there, and go and compete at a higher competitive level. He gave me a chance to win and see that I could possibly make a living training and competing with horses.
JESSIE: As a competitor, I’ve officially and undoubtedly had my “one in a million horse.” I know that, and while I hope to have good horses in the future, nothing will ever be comparable to Teddy. Many people are lucky to have what I call the “good” horses throughout their lives, but few get to really experience having one of the “great” ones. Teddy is the total package with his heart, personality and incredible longevity. He has taught me how to win and be competitive against some of the toughest riders and horses in the country. As a high-caliber horse, Teddy has given me a life and lifestyle not many get to experience. He’s carried me for the last decade, taken me all around the country and put me in the spotlight. I owe my entire career to him, and everything I know. He has most certainly spoiled me! Most importantly, he gave me my life back in 2005, when I was sidelined for more than a year due to major reconstructive back surgeries. It was doubted that I would be able to ride again like I had before the surgeries, but he effortlessly transitioned me back into barrel racing. In October 2004 I was getting used to living with two stainless steel rods, bolts and screws in my back, sitting in the stands at the Congress, unable to even swing my leg over a horse. But by October 2005, I had won two classes at the Congress, and an All-Around title. Whether it’s been for my competitive life or personal life, he’s been an amazing source of therapy for me.
MARC: As a person, Teddy is something that is always there for me and pulls through, even when I least expect it. He’s extremely dependable. As a barrel racer, he has taught me how to be more on top of my game. I know that I’m lucky to have experienced riding a top-level horse like him. A lot of people don’t get that in life.
Has Teddy made you a better or worse rider? (Often, with people who have run the same horse for years, it’s easy to just get into a routine and not make yourself better. Is that the case with you and Teddy?)
CARL: As in training any horse, one has to adjust oneself sometimes to the horse you’re on. Teddy has his style and to adjust yourself to him, I could say makes you stay on your toes. It’s his way and may not be the same as others.
JESSIE: Many people have seemed to think over the years that Teddy is “automatic.” While he is a very safe horse and will take
care of whoever is on his back, he is in no way truly automatic. You have to drive him the entire way and really be aggressive, but also know when and how to stay out of his way, because he does have a certain style and knows what he’s doing. He’s an “old pro” and a very smart horse, so he knows how to try to get away with things, and that’s why we’ve always been told to ride him the entire way. The moment you let up, he can just as easily as well. So I will say that Teddy has taught me how to ride hard and be competitive, for the better. I do know though, that every horse is different and I cannot ride others the same way I do him.
MARC: He has made me a better rider because he has given me strength, taught me balance and how to really be aggressive.
What do you think Teddy has done for the sport of pole bending?
CARL: I believe he’s been in a way an ambassador to pole bending. Several people who attend the Congress and other events that watch him enjoy his efforts. Anymore, his age plays a big part in them enjoying watching him run poles. I know personally it’s fun to see him still run poles his way, but to hear the people behind him when he performs in his event is even more enjoyable. There is still a team effort.
BRYAN: In probably the last 30 years of pole bending there have been a lot of good horses, and there has been a handful of great ones. During his time Teddy has put a name and a face to the sport
JESSIE: I truly believe Teddy Terrific should be considered a legend in the sport of pole bending. I grew up watching some of the greatest pole horses who have ever lived, and I give credit to and admire all of the fabulous ones. They’re each very special and have won so much in their own rights. What is special and different about Teddy, however, is that he is STILL running and STILL winning. When others have been retired or slowed down, come and gone, it honestly seems like Teddy has only gotten better and faster. At 20, he won his 10th Congress title overall, (and his 4th one) in Senior Pole Bending, having run a 19.4. I just don’t think you can find another horse at that age, who can pull out an accomplishment like that. Teddy is timeless. There is no horse left from his original campaign years that is still running (and most impressively winning) like him. I call him a “freak of nature” — he is just in a class by himself. He’s that horse that people love to cheer for because he’s an “old-timer” and so entertaining! For not only the sport of pole bending, but for the performance horse industry in general, he represents the speed, grace, heart and athletic ability of the Quarter Horse breed and demonstrates that the “old horses” can not only still show, but also win, at the highest level of competition.
MARC: He has made it a more exciting sport for people to watch, especially at the Congress. People love to watch him run and anticipate his runs. He puts on a show and knows how to draw in a crowd. I think he’s helped make the Pole Sweepstakes especially, one of the more exciting, premier events to watch at the Congress.