Delaware, OH — In December Winnie Morgan Nemeth got a call from Hall of Fame trainer Linda Toscano, who said she had a nice coming 4-year-old by Muscle Hill that was not going to make it as a racehorse. When Toscano said she wanted to send the gelding King Hill to New Vocations, Nemeth could barely believe her ears.
King Hill was out of the great mare Lifetime Pursuit ($1,065,586) and sold as a yearling for $215,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for breeder Brittany Farms.
“Any time I get a call from Linda I know the horse is going to be an exceptional individual, “ said Nemeth, Standardbred Program Director for New Vocations. “I was beyond thrilled to take King Hill into the program.”
Not long after, King Hill traveled from North Carolina to enter training to be a riding horse with New Vocations trainer Laura Kursman at Cross Creek Equestrian Center in Hamilton, Ohio. From the moment he arrived, King Hill had ‘it.’ The 15.3 hand trotter looked more like a European Warmblood than a Standardbred and his exceptional balance and looks made his transition from racehorse to riding horse effortless.
King Hill quickly showed that he was going to be best suited for the hunter/jumper arena. He had a big, flat trot and could easily pick up a canter. Kursman’s 15-year-old daughter, Meaghan, an accomplished hunter rider, developed King Hill for two months giving him basic riding training and even introduced him to crossrails before he was ready to present to adopters.
“It was fun to get updates on his training and hear the chatter at the barn on the fancy Standardbred that was quickly becoming the favorite with the many riders that have Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds,” stated Nemeth.
On the day New Vocations planned to post King Hill to their website, an approved adopter from Illinois contacted Nemeth looking for a Standardbred hunter/jumper/eventer prospect. She immediately thought of King Hill.
“I sent over his pictures and videos to Jenna Koener and gave her some of his history,” she said. “Jenna also had connections to harness racing, so she understood how special this horse was and appreciated his exceptional background.”
Koener needed her trainer’s input as to whether King Hill looked like he would meet her goals, but her trainer quickly gave the thumbs up and the decision was made. King Hill arrived to Koener’s trainer’s farm in Elburn, Ill., on March 9.
Koener and her young daughter greeted King Hill as he stepped off the trailer and they seemed to have a great connection with him right away. They even planned a special “Gotcha Day” photo session with King Hill.
The New Vocations team was honored to have the opportunity to transition King Hill on to his next career and can’t thank Linda Toscano enough for choosing to entrust him with us.
“Being able to take horses in like King Hill is what our program is all about,” Nemeth said. “They all cannot win the Hambletonian, no matter what their price tag was as a yearling, but they can be a superstar to someone else and make their dreams come true. King Hill now has the opportunity to be a great ambassador for the breed and show how amazing these horses truly are.”
Click here for a video of King Hill.