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OSO Zoltan, our journey so far…..

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

Here at OSO ARABIANS, we pride ourselves in finding the perfect horse for our clients, so when our beautiful horses move on to pastures new, we absolutely love following their journey's and hearing back from their wonderful new families about all their adventures together ... a perfect example is OSO Zoltan and his fabulous 'mum' Shirley Clark ....

In 2014 I had an epiphany, “life is far to short to be living to work” so I decided to quit my job and go riding again! After much research I decided that an OSO horse was for me.

I visited the OSO Arabian stud and fell in love with a baby-faced Zoltan. To me, he wasn’t your typical endurance looking horse, but he was so well put together, a real powerhouse, just what I had been looking for!

Our journey together didn’t have an ideal start, he wasn’t an easy horse to ride, he had a penchant for shying, testing our “stickability” on numerous occasions!

On one our first rides off farm together, I wasn’t really paying attention, Zoltan shied, and I came off, resulting in a badly broken arm. My daughter stepped up and trained Zoltan for me and rode him in his qualifying rides while I tried to stay on terra firma until I recovered from my injury. Zoltan and I have parted company a number of times, but I have never hesitated to get back on him. We are very well known for our colourful conversations about his shying. I think my favourite phrase is “get out of it you little shit”

2015, I decided that we would aim for the 2016 Tom Quilty in Victoria. His leadup rides included eight 80km rides and a Shahzada mini-marathon with no vet outs!

The 2016 Tom Quilty was an extremely technically challenging event, the weather was horrendous with torrential rain resulting in the course becoming a quagmire! Zoltan handled the conditions with courage and gusto. We lost our ride buddy after the 4th loop and I was worried that Zoltan would lose his enthusiasm, but he finished the last loop easily, his first Quilty, done and dusted!!

2017, Our aim was the Southern Australian Tom Quilty. We had already successfully completed five 80km rides in 2017, so we were ready for the challenge! Just getting to South Australia was a marathon. Once again, the weather was horrendous, freezing cold and gale-force winds. Zoltan travelled like a pro and looked a picture of health and fitness but our TQ quest ended with slight lameness after the third loop. To me, Zoltan was still a true champion!

2018, One of my most treasured achievements is the 2018 Tasmanian Tom Quilty! We competed in three 80km rides and the Shahzada Mini Marathon in the leadup to Tassie. I was a nervous wreck about taking Zoltan on such a huge journey. I was especially uneasy about the Bass Strait crossing, so much so, that I made the decision to send Zoltan with our strapping crew a week and a half before the ride while I stayed home worrying!

Zoltan coped with the trip very well and looked amazing when I arrived at base the day before the start. My crew were very relaxed and looked like they had a very enjoyable trip together, lots of beers and shenanigans with the other mainland teams.

Zoltan amazed me again with his courage and strong work ethic, taking on the challenging course with ease. Again, we lost our ride buddy at the end of the 4th loop, (hopefully not a pattern for future ride buddies) This time it was me who lost enthusiasm, but Zoltan pushed on with determination resulting in another Quilty buckle!! CHAMPION!

2019, Once again, our aim was the TQ. This year it was Queensland’s turn to host. Another big trip for us. Zoltan travelled extremely well and was fit and ready to go. Just as we rode out of the gate at the start, my torch decided to die so I rode the first loop without a torch. Luckily, I was riding with two friends, so I just tucked myself in between them and trusted Zoltan to take care of me which he did of course. We were travelling well until the end of the 3rd loop when Zoltan didn’t look “quite right” to me, he vetted really well but something just didn’t seem right. He pulsed at 52 bpm straight off the loop however, his HR hadn’t come down after twenty minutes, so I decided to withdraw. I represented him to the vets, and he passed with flying colours. I have never questioned my decision to withdraw. CHAMPION!

2020, No words required really! The ride calendar has been extremely limited this year however, Zoltan has still been kicking goals! He has successfully completed 245 competitive kilometres. This year Zoltan proved he is one of the best! In one of the 80km rides, he carried over twenty kilos more than usual finishing 3rd middleweight and to top it off was awarded best conditioned. CHAMPION!

To date, Zoltan has completed 2,205 competitive kilometres, 3 mini-marathons, 652 intermediate kilometres and 200 introductory kilometres with only 2 vet outs. CHAMPION!

The journey continues……….

Shirley Clark

Owner, OSO Zoltan

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1 Comment

Lee Curtis
Lee Curtis
Oct 15, 2021

What a horse! What a team! Great first few chapters of a great story.

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