As Colleen Rutledge’s groom, Alex Ambelang, puts on Escot 6’s bridle she quickly points out that yes, it is cob sized and yes, they did clip him less than a month ago. You wouldn’t know the 15.3-hand, bay, 11-year-old German Hanoverian was just clipped, because he is as fluffy as a teddy bear.
Escot 6 and Alex Ambelang. Photo by Ilana Cramer
Escot 6 is an up-and-comer in Rutledge’s squad of top event horses that reside at her home farm in Mt. Airy, Md. Rutledge operates the 60-acre property with supergroom Alex Ambelang, whom Rutledge likes to say she “imported from Montana.”
Rutledge bought Escot 6 (Escudo I—Leca, Le Primeur) from fellow eveter Mara DePuy in 2013 after he’d placed fifth in the Virginia CCI* with DePuy. Escot 6 made his advanced debut in 2015 and was seventh in the Jersey Fresh CCI*** (N.J.) that spring. His four-star debut at Rolex Kentucky in 2016 resulted in a fall.
Escot 6 is known for his exuberant jumping style and he finished 2016 with a clean cross-country with just 1.6 time penalties to take 22nd place at the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) and a seventh place in the Ocala Jockey Club CIC*** (Fla.). In August, they had a third place finish at Richland Park CIC***, with one of their best dressage scores.
Rutledge is focusing on relaxation in the dressage ring with Escot 6 in the off season. Rutledge and Ambelang headed to the warmer weather in Aiken, S.C., to prepare for the 2017 season.
What you need to know about Escot 6:
- Escot 6 goes by the nickname “Monkey.” When Rutledge first purchased him she shortly realized the name Escot 6 didn’t fit the fluffy pony-like horse.
“He got the name ‘Monkey’ when one day he was on the cross-ties and kept unhooking himself,” Rutledge said. “From then on it stuck, especially with his crazy whiskers and love for bananas.”
"Monkey" has quite the personality. Photo by Ilana Cramer
- When Monkey isn’t eating bananas he is munching on fruit salad.
“When he is in top form we struggle to keep weight on him,” Ambelang said. “The only way we can get him to eat his grain when he refuses to eat is to mix it with melon.”
- Rutledge sees a lot of parallels between Monkey and her former internationally famous four-star mount, Shiraz.
“I have to keep reminding myself that Monkey is only [11 years old],” Rutledge said. “When Shiraz was his age we were having a lot of the same problems. Both horses are super jumpers but both struggle to relax in dressage. It is really exciting for me, because Monkey is such a better mover than Shiraz. All the pieces are there—we are just working on putting them all together, channeling Monkey’s energy and loosening a couple screws so he learns to relax in the ring.”
- Monkey’s claim to fame is his love for stadium jumping and his freakish ability to put up clear stadium jumping rounds.
- “We pray for rain when Colleen rides dressage with Monkey,” Ambelang said.
“For some reason the rain always follows me,” Rutledge said. “It will be a beautifully sunny clear day, and then I will begin my warm-up for dressage and it will start down pouring. Monkey has his best dressage tests in the rain. At Fair Hill it was really dry and we didn’t perform.”
- Monkey is part of the three amigos—the young gelding is turned out with Rutledge’s other advanced-level mounts Covert Rights (who heads the group) and Roulette.
Escot 6 on the way to his field.
- Rutledge has struggled to find the perfect bit for her “German jumping bean.” The gelding’s defense mechanism when challenged is to flip his tongue over the bit.
“I am not sure how he does it, but he will be standing on the cross-ties and just flip his tongue over the bit for fun,” Rutledge said. “We have tried everything and I have asked everyone about bits. Right now we are riding with a loose noseband so he doesn’t feel restricted.”
- As fluffy teddy bear-like as Monkey is, the gelding is extremely sensitive.
“I have to always be on my guard when working with him,” Ambelang said. “I never know when a certain brush will be too hard, if a spray something on a certain area too much or if the girth was tightened too fast for his liking. He also feels very offended by, clippers and needles.”