dressage · mustangs

JB Andrews, 1986-2011

I can’t remember who first told me about JB Andrew. Probably someone who saw me valiantly trying to teach my little mutt of a mustang to go on the bit and wanted to give me inspiration. But I went home and read all about him, and over the years I followed him from afar. I told people all about him when they seemed surprised that my mustang can be a dressage horse.

Last week, I did an idle internet search for the first time in a long time and found out that JB Andrews died 18 months ago. I’ll admit it: I broke down and cried at my desk. At work. At lunch, but still. Ack.
Who was JB Andrews, you may ask? Arguably the most successful BLM mustang of all time. When people talk about BLM mustangs succeeding in traditional sporthorse disciplines, they talk about Andy first – and then they talk about all the other mustangs.

He was captured as a weanling out of a herd in Nevada in 1985, and he was started in a prison program in Colorado – “JB” stands for “Jailbird.” His first owner, Ginger Scott, noted that he had some dressage talent and soon a friend of hers named Kelly O’Leary (later Boyd) got the ride.

By 1994, at age 9, he made his debut at Prix St. Georges. He and Kelly trained with Jan Ebeling, and he had matured to an astonishingly large 16.3 hands with size 5 feet. (To give you some context, Tristan is on the high end of average size at 15.1 hands. They are wild animals, who don’t often grow to typical domestic sizes.) He wasn’t rocking the whole world, but he was competitive and successful, and appeared on national leaderboards.

In 1997, he became the first mustang to appear at Dressage at Devon (and for a long time the only, until Padre was entered as an in-hand stallion).

By 1999, at 14 years old, Andy was showing at Intermediaire II and schooling the Grand Prix movements and tests. He would never make his show ring debut at that level, however, due to deteriorating hocks. He was retired to pasture in 2000.

It’s not clear to me what exactly he died of, but an article mentions that a malignant carcinoma was found behind his eye in 2009, so it seems safe to assume that’s what ended his life.

Rest in peace, big beautiful boy. You continue to inspire me and so many others.

JB Andrew at Kelly Boyd’s website
Eurodressage Profile: JB Andrew
JB Andrew: Mustang Magic (book at Amazon.com)

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