Gambler’s Jackpot, a ten-year-old Rocky Mountain Horse gelding owned by Kris and Dale Blacklock, of Wisconsin, is as stunningly beautiful as he is talented.
Gambler’s Jackpot’s striking coloring (chocolate with white mane and tail) catches the eye but his assets are definitely more than skin deep. After overcoming life threatening adversity resulting from a hind leg injury incurred at a boarding stable, severe colic impaction, ulcers and right dorsal colitis, he continues to inspire everyone he meets – equine and human alike. ‘Jackpot’ is the equine version of a gentleman’s gentleman whose engaging personality and zest for life is contagious.
Kris, who has owned Jackpot since he was a three-year-old with just 30 days of training, reflects on what makes him so special, “Whatever the situation or chaotic surroundings, he remains steadfast and helps novice equestrians and un-confident nervous horses relax. In March 2015, during the Illinois Horse Fair Extreme Trail Challenge, because of his calmness, other horses and riders actively sought him out to buddy up and help them negotiate the crowds during and in-between clinician sessions and navigate an arena trail challenge that consisted of live chickens, opaque shower curtains, pool noodles, plus other obstacles performed in front of an energized applauding stadium audience.”
“During April’s Midwest Horse Fair’s breed demos, Kettle Moraine Rough Rider’s Drill Team performances, North American Western Dressage discipline demos and Wisconsin Dressage & Combined Training dressage and eventing discipline demos, his engaging demeanor attracted equine enthusiasts and youngsters who captured his photo plus walked up and nuzzled his muzzle. Throughout equestrian drill team practices and competitions, Farm Technology Days performances, parades and during the October Western Dressage Symposium, he was also buddied up with very green and inexperienced riders & horses to help each relax and gain confidence.”
“Throughout the year during live and virtual shows, clinics and demos, his eagerness to learn, good-natured demeanor, and desire to excel is evident. As an equine ambassador, Jackpot blazes a trail and is able to break through perception barriers that otherwise limit gaited horses. He inspires and encourages versatility in others by being active and successful in a variety of disciplines – Traditional Dressage, Western Dressage, Obstacle Trail Challenges, Cow Working, Roping, Equestrian Drill Team, Liberty, Freestyle competitions, Trail riding and now Working Equitation.”
Kris first discovered Working Equitation in the fall of 2016, when she attended a Pedro Torres Academy of Working Equitation, USA seminar hosted by Howard Peet, in Woodstock, IL with Academy Head Instructor Nuno Matos teaching. Kris participated with the then three-year-old American Quarter Horse filly Boon Ocean Blue.
In reflecting on why she enjoys the sport, Kris explains “I enjoy learning and applying classical dressage progressive foundation with each of my horses. We love that working equitation is based on dressage fundamentals, tradition, sportsmanship and horsemanship and includes (4) phases – dressage, ease of handling, speed and cow working. It’s all about
strengthening your partnership by employing horsemanship and dressage skills while having FUN and supporting others along the way.”
In closing, Kris shared her appreciation for the people who help to support the sport. “I really appreciate all the instructors, clinicians, judges, facilities, countless volunteers and award sponsors who recognize, encourage, teach and support working equitation across the country and the world,” she wrote. “Thank YOU!”
“Special thanks to hubby Dale Blacklock for his loving support and behind the scenes assistance. Appreciation to Dr. Jennifer Thompson, Fox Woods Equine Veterinary Care LLC (Lodi, WI) and Lodi Veterinary Care (Lodi, WI) for their diagnosis and compassionate care during Jackpot’s illness and Equine Science Academy barefoot farrier Chad Bembeneck (Rio, WI).
WE United would like to thank Kris for being such a wonderful ambassador for the sport, and for her gentle and persistent advocacy on behalf of gaited horses and their people.
The 2017 High Point Rocky Mountain Horse Award was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Horse Association.