Beating the Odds

January 19th, 2018 5:23 PM | No Comments

Million to 1 wins Circuit and Futurity Championships in Florida

by Robyn Duplisea

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” ~Moliere

The gorgeous roan gelding Jay Starnes loped his way to the winners circle on at the Florida Winter and Fun In The Sun circuits didn’t always have the odds in his favor.

Million to 1 began as many dreams of future show ring stars do, with impeccable bloodlines. Sired by VS Flatline and out of A Certain Illusion, Brady is a full sibling to Congress and NSBA World Champion Certainly Flatlined.  He was Bred and foaled out by Starnes Quarter Horses and  owned by Mike Hershberger of MPH Enterprises LLC

When he was born on Super Bowl day in 2015, the foal was perfection. Red Roan with a big white face and all the presence you could ask for. He was named “Brady” in honor of the legendary Tom Brady.   Little did anyone know what would come just a few weeks later.


Brady at one week old

 Kristy Starnes recalls the day that changed everything when Brady was just 32 days old on March 4, 2015.   “We discovered his leg was broken when he was standing in pasture while we rode,  just hollering for his mama who would not come to his rescue.” remembers Kristy Starnes “Jay and Carlos carried him in to the barn from the pasture where he would only lay in the stall. We had called the vet, Nicole Swinehart and crated him immediately. Our first thought was to euthanize but several surgeons suggested letting him heal if he would rest. His recip mama did not like the stall confinement and was going to do more harm than good and since he was starting to eat grain and hay we made the decision to wean him at 36 days.”


White Lightening earned his keep as babysitter and companion to Brady over the eight months of stall rest

It was upon weaning that Brady’s new goat friend entered the picture.“White Lightning” came into our lives for $75 from Manning Feed Mill” Shares Starnes “He stayed with Brady 24/7.  We could not touch he goat but he loved Brady”

Just when things were starting to look up for the little roan colt with the heart of a fighter tragedy struck again  Once the broken leg started healing the good leg dropped in the fetlock to the ground behind the hoof. Starnes’  had a special brace made for the “good” leg that held it in position. The brace was on for 12 hours and off for 6. Slowly the ankle went back to the correct angle. “It took until he was 8 months old for it to be “normal”. The vets say the suspensory and other liniments had gotten so lax from bearing all his weight they just could not support him.”

Logan Starnes and Brady

Logan Starnes and Brady

During his recovery Starnes’ son Logan  would sit in the stall with Brady and White Lightning and talk to them. “Brady laid down a lot so Logan would just sit with him.” remembers Starnes.  Brady’s recovery was truly a team effort.  Million to 1 spent 8 months on stall rest with his goat.  In September the Starnes started small turn out then and he went to full turn out around March of his yearling year. 

Brady had such struggles that Starnes recollects “About three or four times during his 8 month recovery we were going to put him down, but each time we saw a glimmer of hope. He was such a fighter” exclaimed Starnes “We figured we would have him as a pasture pet.  The first day he was ridden was a big victory but to see him winning is even more special!”


Brady and his “mom” White Lightening after the accident

Dedication, perseverance and faith brought the little fighter to heal and his story is becoming one that movies can be made from.  Purchased by Nettie Olsen in August of 2017, Brady debuted at the 2017 Congress in the Coughlin Maiden with Kristy Starnes.  Million to 1 made the finals in an incredibly deep pen of horses. 

Debuting in January for his three-year-old year with Circuit and Futurity wins in Florida in the Green Western Pleasure,  Brady has certainly overcome his start and looks to be destined for greatness. When asked what is next for Brady,  Starnes’ shared “Plans are for Jay to continue showing him in Green WP and Novice 3 YO events in 2018 and eventually for Nettie to show him in Non Pro as well”26170044_1779187425435350_1913957015932324333_n

Brady’s recovery truly was a team effort and the Starnes would like to thank thank their vets, Nicole Swinehart and Josh Donnell, farrier RC Clark and everyone else involved in helping to save Brady!

“Its kind of ironic we named him Brady and he had a goat (Greatest Of All Time)” Chuckles Starnes.

When breeding horses the odds of producing a great one seems daunting, but Brady is proving with the right team, patience, faith and a little luck you can beat the odds, even when they are a Million to 1

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