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A Tribute to an Amazing Thoroughbred Idle Dice

Unless you are older than 45, you were probably never able to watch some of the great Thoroughbred Sport Horses of the past in person. I want to share with you one of the best ever, one that I had a special relationship with – Idle Dice.

Rodney Jenkins on Thoroughbred Idle Dice
Rodney Jenkins on Idle Dice
Thoroughbred Idol Dice - Pedigree

I bought this horse through Danny Lenehan when he was a 4-year old, only weeks off the race track. There was nothing special about his breeding and he was unsuccessful as a race horse. But he sure had talent to jump.  He was one of the easiest horses to train and, as Rodney Jenkins always said, he just had to stay out of his way and let him do his job. And that job was winning.

I showed him successfully as a first year green and working hunter as a five year old and sold him to Rodney in the late summer.

I paid $3,500 dollars for him and sold him to Harry Gill for $12,000.00.  I think the year was 1969. With Rodney he went on to win 31 Grand Prix’s and retired sound at the age of 21.

Excerpt of Idle Dice From "A Tribute to the Thoroughbred Sport Horse"

Bernie Traurig

As a Horseman, Bernie is renowned for not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Bernie has represented the United States Equestrian Team both at home and abroad on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all 3 of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.After amassing 60 years worth of training and riding techniques and experiences with thousands of horses, Bernie is driven to give back to the sport that has given him so much fulfillment and success.

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. Nicely written, Bernie.
    I had the privilege to watch Rodney ride this awesome horse at Devon. They were one mind & soul when in the ring. What a huge talent in a perfectly compact package.

    Thanks for the memory.

  2. I had the pleasure to watch Rodney and Idle Dice win at the WIHS year after year during the ’70s. After his show jumping career was over also saw him ridden as a junior hunter. What a wonderful horse. Wish the sport would once again recognize the ability of Thoroughbreds as jumpers and 3 day event horses.

  3. I absolutely adored this pair! I am 78 years old and lived in Dela. County at the time of his career at Devon. I never missed an event of his. Rodney was AWESOME! So many riders try to guide the horse… with Dice.. as Rodney said, just stay out of his way and enjoy the ride, which he did perfectly!
    Those were the days when you could go back into the barns. I remember Dice being in the back barn in the stall to the left. I was mesmerized in his presence. He allowed me to pet him and seemed to listen as I talked to him. then all of a sudden Rodney was by my side. He was friendly and gracious, thanking me for my support. These are moments I will always remember and cherish! Thanks so much for posting this. I will keep it forever!!!!

  4. I turned 80 in June and look back on many great Thoroughbred moments. I remember Idle Dice well. He and Rodney gave me many of those moments. Thanks for the memory.

  5. I too saw Rodney Jenkins and Idle Dice at Devon in the 70s. That horse could turn on a dime and jump the moon. It is a memory I will never forget.

  6. I rode against Rodney in the green and working hunter divisions. I showed several 4 year old OTTBs for Red Frazier and my dad and Ennis got to be friends at the Atlanta Classic Horse Show in 1970, 71, 72 when Rodney rode 3 or 4 horses and I rode 2 or 3 for Red in the same class, so my dad and Ennis would have to help jog horses back in for the ribbons. Such fun times at the Fla circuit, Warrenton, Middleburg, Devon, Blowing Rock. Bloomfield hills, Gross Pointe, Harrisburg, Madison Square Garden, Washington National…Lots of great memories riding against the greatest if all time !

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