The journey for Miner’s Dream to first place in the Intermediare-1
dressage class and $1000 Dressage Challenge with his owner-rider
Keeley Mircetic during the Thoroughbred Classic held at the Los
Angeles Equestrian Center December 8-9, 2018 has been a long road
of learning and growth.
The dark brown gelding was foaled in Paris, Kentucky in 1998 and registered with the Jockey Club as Ken’s Wild Decision. By the age of three he showed little prospect for the tracks and was sent off to California to start a new life. By the end of 2001 he found a home with the Mircetic’s who purchased him for their daughter.
Their first year together was a little rough as the mellow gelding started
to become increasingly difficult to handle. It was quickly discovered that
he had been proud cut and would require significant surgery to remove
what had been left behind from his first gelding.
Once his recovery was complete Keeley started the process of giving Samson a new career: 3-day Eventing. Samson was a natural athlete, but he wasn’t always the easiest horse to ride or compete. Yet, this didn’t stop the pair from competing successfully for six years up through Preliminary Level because of her dedication to the process and Samson.
By 2008, after many successful seasons of shows and clinics with Jimmy Wofford and Ian Stark, Keeley decided it was time to switch gears for Samson. While he was a superb jumper, the regularity of practice he liked would eventually wear on him, and Keeley didn’t feel that was fair to a horse that tried so hard every day to please her.
Since 2008 Samson and Keeley have taken on the dressage world, attempting to break the harsh stereotypes many throw on OTTB’s and their dressage capabilities. For the next five years they took on the challenge, rising through to Intermediare-1, before Keeley started PT school in 2013.
The relationship between this horse and rider never waivered, even though
Keeley had to travel between Long Beach and Moorpark every
weekend so that she could be with her horse every spare moment she
With Samson showing no signs of his age or wanting to stop, the two still competed regularly for several more years. Having turned 20 this year, Keeley began to consider what she wanted Samson’s senior years to look like. While he still plays around like a four year old, she understood that the physical impacts would become harder and harder for him to recover from. While she didn’t want to admit it publicly, she knew that she wanted the TB Classic to be his last show. So she packed him in the trailer and set out for a long and fun weekend with her horse.
Since he was staying at a local property, Samson got to enjoy a comfy box stall with a nice hack to and from the show grounds every day. He absolutely seemed to revel in it all, and by the end of the weekend he rose to the occasion and produced a 72.1% in the Intermediare-1 division, winning his class and the $1,000 Dressage Challenge. Keeley couldn’t have thought of a more perfect way to close his competitive career, and with tears in her eyes, left the ring showering her horse with praise and hugs.
While Samson may be done competing, he is by no means finished. Not a fan of being out to pasture just yet, he will spend some time letting down and enjoying a more slow paced lifestyle with his partner in crime, Keeley.