All the Way Jose is a Jonathan Sheppard home-bred who raced for Buttonwood Farm. He won the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory in 2017. Jose retired in 2019 with 37 starts and earnings of over $450,000. Jose’s owner in retirement, Erica Gaertner, is sharing Jose with a twelve-year-old equestrian named Jaidyn Shore, who rides with Suzanne Stettinius in Maryland. Jaidyn tells about her Jose adventures here.
The first time I met All The Way Jose was when Erica brought him to Mint Meadows Farm, where I was riding ponies. He had his head out of his back window of his stall and looked so sweet. And he was. When I watched Erica ride him, he looked perfect. But I never imagined I would get to ride him, too.
When Erica offered me the opportunity to jump him, I said yes. He was so smooth; it felt like we were flying when we left the ground. After that, Erica gave me lessons when she came to the farm. I got more and more comfortable, and began to use him for some pony club lessons as well.
During the summer of 2020 lots of things happened. I rode him at pony club camp and he was awesome. I also got to ride him on dressage day, and he was perfect. Sadly, we were eliminated for having back boots, but it was still super fun.
I also did some jumper shows on him. The first was at Swan Lake (in Pennsylvania). When we went into the ring I just had fun and we ended up doing better than I thought we would. I also showed him at my pony club jumper show we did the 2’9″ courses and we did pretty good but Erica wanted me to do the 3’6″ course, too. I was super scared, but trusted ‘Jose’ to take care of me. And he did. We went off course, but that was not his fault. After our experience I knew I could trust Jose with just about anything and everything.
I took him to a hunter trial too and had so much fun there. We went around so many times. We did so many classes. Suzanne (Stettinius) also took him to a hunter trial and two of the jockeys that used to race him got to do the junior jockey class on him. I rode my pony around with them, and we won the class.
Another highlight was my lesson with Sally Cousins and two of my friends. I took Jose and we had a blast. We jumped some fun and scary jumps. We jumped a chevron. He didn’t hesitate. He just went. He is such a great jumper. I learned a lot from that lesson.
I was lucky enough to get to Jose to a Jimmy Wofford clinic, where I learned even more. We jumped some big stuff we did lots of different things at the clinic, including circles, where I learned to stay tall and not get all hunched over.
Jose may not be my horse, but he has a very special place in my life. He has taught me so much, and still is teaching me. I can’t wait to se what the future brings. Thank you, Erica, for giving me this opportunity to ride such an awesome horse. I am also excited to go to Kentucky with Erica and Suzanne for the Retired Racehorse Project.