OTTB enthusiast and eventer Brit Vegas got asked the question of a lifetime over the weekend while out with North Hills Hunt over the weekend.
Brit, of Lincoln, Nebraska, retrains anywhere between 30 and 50 Thoroughbreds each year for a living. She is a veteran of the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover and brings a horse to Lexington, Kentucky, to compete every year. The horse she was hunting over the weekend is a 5-year-old OTTB named Born to Jump, whom she got from West Virginia’s Mountaineer Race Track a few months ago.
Brit’s OTTBs typically find their niche in eventing, jumping or field hunters. A horse she pulled from the track in September named Scotch and Water will start at Training level this year, and Brit thinks he has Intermediate potential. She has been fox hunting for about 10 years and has been whipping for North Hills Hunt for the past two.
Her new fiancé (congrats, kids!) Adam Gengenbach is a vet with whom she owns an equine performance horse veterinary practice. He does the vet work, and she schedules all the appointments, does the billing and assists with appointments when necessary.
“I knew pretty much on my first date that I wanted to marry this man, which was odd for me,” Brit recounts. “I have never been the person that ‘had’ to get married. I was content with life as it was.”
Adam had previously ridden as a team roper but jumped into the English disciplines with both feet and just completed his second year of fox hunting. “First order of business was to teach him to jump a horse, which came naturally as he was a saddle bronc rider and bareback rider in his younger days. He had natural balance and a super positive attitude towards learning something new,” Brit says.
Adam must have felt pretty confident that their budding relationship was something special, too.
“Apparently Adam bought this ring about a month after we dated and has been waiting for the right moment for awhile now,” Brit says. “He has actually had it is in pocket for a few hunts, I’ve heard. I am the proactive one in the relationship, and he is the procrastinator so this makes full sense to me. He was waiting until the absolute last hunt of the season.”
Brit says she was completely shocked, but that the proposal couldn’t have been more perfect.
“He proposed in the sandhills of Burwell, NE, which happens to be our favorite hunt country,” she says. “I was surrounded by my closest friends, horses I love and the hounds.”
Brit’s 8-year-old daughter was supposed to be present but stayed home at the last minute, as she didn’t want to miss a nature walk at school: “Had I known the plans for the weekend I would have had her there, as she and her Welsh/quarter pony also hunt.”
Alas, ’tis the nature of surprises, Brit! Nonetheless, she says, “It was one of the most magical moments of my life, and I couldn’t have thought of a better way. Hunting is our life, the one thing we ALWAYS make time for.”
As for the wedding, Brit and Adam already have a date in mind: Sept. 16, 2017.
“And don’t worry everyone, I’m not pregnant,” Brit says. “I just don’t want to be engaged for a year and a half!”
Go Brit and Adam. Go Eventing!
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