Written by: Lindsay Ward

A young off-the-track Thoroughbred named Runrun is taking on roping and ranching duties.

Thumbnail for OTTB: Runrun The Rancher

Amber-Lynn Jacobson Photo

Amber-Lynn Jacobson of Running Fawcett Thoroughbred is a busy thoroughbred breeder and trainer as well as a familiar name at the Alberta Thoroughbred Sales. She was the top consignor by average this year and sold the highest priced yearling with a $45,000 Point of Entry filly. One of her all-time favourite horses, however, is a six-year-old full brother to multiple stakes winner Canaveral Leader named Runmommasboyrun (Runrun).

Consigned through the 2012 CTHS Alberta Yearling sale, Runrun was the very first horse Jacobson ever bred and “when he sold, it was bittersweet but from that day,” she said. “I told (buyer) Crystal Cates, manager of Riversedge, that I wanted to have first right of refusal to buy him when he was done racing.”

As fate would have it, Runrun suffered a hairline fracture as a two-year-old and placed third in the only start he ever made at the track. After time off to rest, he was brought back into work but was unable to stay sound enough to race. Riversedge made the decision to retire the young gelding and Jacobson was able to have her wish and buy him back as a three-year-old.

Jacobson had some challenges to get Runrun going as a riding horse only because “he was just my first baby and a spoiled rotten one he was. He is the type of in your pocket kind of horse, walk all over you and this was all my fault from spoiling him as a foal. He taught me what to do and what not to do when I bought him back.”

In the last few years, Runrun, has become a model of versatility, going riding in the mountains, skijoring, minding the youngsters, branding, cowboy challenge and most recently, roping.

Jacobson and Runrun had no previous experience in the world of roping, the closest she had come was a beginner cowboy challenge event a few years ago.

“That was no issue, others were asking to follow him through challenges by the end because he had done them all without any flight or fight response,” Jacobson said.

A recent Working Ranch Roping Level 1 clinic at Rocking Star Ranch in Okotoks, AB with Runrun introduced the pair to the challenges of roping and handling ranch cattle. The website for Rocking Star Ranch describes the clinic as “a heart pounding day of fun and learning as you take your horse… and you… through the paces! The course begins with technical training, moves into ground work, the mounted and finishes with you grinning ear to ear and ready to rope just about anything.”

Jacobson said she was thrilled with the success of the clinic and Runrun’s attitude toward everything that was asked of him. Jacobson and Runrun completed another more advanced roping clinic focusing on ‘one man doctoring’ at the end of October. She said that Runrun had “my life in his hoofs, he had to hold the calf and keep the calf tight while I dismounted and doctored the calf. Nobody would have looked at him and guessed he was green.”

Runrun characterises the all-around athlete that is at the heart of the thoroughbred breed. Jacobson is a strong believer that thoroughbreds can do anything and “my guy has not let me down. Once he learns something he gives it his all.”

Jacobson and Runrun are crushing lots of undeserved stereotypes especially in the western world.

“I have always had these quarter gorse guys laughing at me with my thoroughbred doing ‘quarter horse jobs’ but the cowboys used to use the thoroughbred on the ranch a lot more for their endurance, unfortunately that has been replaced by quads and side by sides.”

Jacobson has future plans for Runrun to keep doing his “ranch duties” but she adds that “I have a great new contact in the eventing world… we have played around at her place and she loves how forward he is, so maybe an entry level eventing clinic!”

These great ambassadors of the Alberta bred Off Track Thoroughbred promise to be successful at any future challenges they undertake!