Corky loved to compete in Ride & Tie. He was always trying to catch and pass the next team, he insisted on leading the pack at the start (that’s him in the 1997 Easyboot Ride & Tie Championship poster, one of the three grey Arabs leading the start), and he would never wait long enough for us to get on. My long-time partner, Skip Lightfoot, discovered him in 1992 after the two of them completed the Tevis 100-mile endurance race. We decided to buy Corky for our newly created R&T team, and he was our teammate and companion until Corky decided it was his time to go in 2017 at the age of 34. While neither Skip nor I were fast enough to finish first very often, we did finish more than half of our races in the top ten, thanks to Corky.
While it is impressive that Corky completed 44 R&T races and over 1100 miles in his 14-year career, he surely practiced for at least two to three times those numbers. He introduced dozens of first-time riders to our sport during our weekend R&T clinics near San Jose, CA. Even though I was still learning about the proper care for R&T horses, Corky never suffered serious injuries or health issues throughout his long career. While Skip and my schedules only allowed for “weekend warrior” workouts, during the week Corky was a lesson horse for Becky Hart’s youth riding program pink ribbons and all. But when either Skip or I would arrive at the stables, Corky would give us his signature wide-eyed look: “Let’s Ride & Tie!”