(My beautiful wife, Leigh Ann, cheers on Miss Jacqueline to her victory at Churchill Downs)

(Miss Jacqueline and me at Lyster Stables)

(Miss Jacqueline, in the pink silks, at the start of her winning race / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Miss Jacqueline on her way to the “test barn” at Churchill Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Miss Jacqueline / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Editor’s Note:

On Saturday, I got one of the most amazing emails that I have received in recent memory. It was from someone I didn’t know. And, instead of landing in my regular “inbox,” I found the email in my “junk” file.

It was not “junk,” by the way.

It was the farthest thing from “junk,” by the way.

It was an update on a filly who I used to own — Miss Jacqueline. It was an update on a filly who I bred, and birthed. It was an update on a filly who gave me my first win — as in ever — at Churchill Downs. And, it was an update on a filly who I will forever love and remember both in my heart and mind. It was a remarkable email that gave rise to a smile on my face and the spirit in my heart

The email was from Alex Tyson, who now owns the filly and is converting the Thoroughbred into a “trail horse” and giving the little gal a complete career make-over. And, it was an update of how my former “little girl” is now doing great in her career conversion and aftercare.

In short, Miss Jacqueline — who Alex affectionately calls “JJ” now — is doing so great. So. So. So. Great.

The plans — if all goes well — is for Alex to bring Miss Jacqueline back to Kentucky in October for the 2021 “Thoroughbred Makeover” competition that is scheduled for Lexington in October. I can’t wait to see her. I can’t wait to see her in her new role. I just can’t wait.

Here’s a look at the email from Alex, which I appreciate so very much:

Hello Mr. McLean,

“My name is Alex Tyson and I adopted Miss Jacqueline from CANTER MI in late March. Since then, she had proven herself to be a really brave and capable filly.  We have started trail riding alone in our woods, crossed a small creek, and become acclimated to a western saddle. Just today, she went to an obstacle clinic and was unquestionably the quietest horse there! She stepped over a mattress, a teeter totter,  and took every obstacle there in stride!
“I just entered her in the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover that takes place in Lexington KY in Oct. My plan is to do the Ranch Work class and potentially the Freestyle. I am a professional horse trainer and CHA Riding instructor and I just missed the top 10 in Ranch work when I did the makeover previously in 2018. Miss Jacqueline or “JJ” as I have been calling her is a pretty bold and sensitive ride, but I absolutely LOVE that kind of a horse and I feel pretty confident about preparing her for the competition. 
“I am reaching out to you because before I purchased JJ I did a little research on her and I came across all of your blog posts. I loved how you described her and her personality and that was a major factor in deciding to look at her in the first place.I was really touched by how much you cared for her, and I could just tell she was special. 
“I also was wondering if you would be interested in updates on her training and her journey to the Thoroughbred Makeover. I think exposure in aftercare is really important and I will try to submit a few articles to various publications myself, but if you wanted to continue any blog posts about her and her retraining I would be 100% ok with that! 
“Here are some recent pictures of her. Thank you for donating her to CANTER MI, I just love her, she is a really awesome little horse!