“Mind you, I’m in Chicago and he’s in Minnesota. I didn’t even know that Jac was a stallion,” explained Greenberg. “But like everything else I do in my life, without thinking I said, ‘I’ll take him.’ Sure enough, that night he (Prestwich) showed up with Jac.
“But by this time, I had started to worry that maybe something had happened to the horse that influenced Prestwich’s decision to sell him,” Greenberg continued. “So after he took the horse out of the trailer, I said ‘Okay, let me see him.’ Prestwich proceeded to ride Jac around and do all kinds of stuff. When he got off, he asked me, ‘Do I want to try the horse?”‘
To make matters worse, this entire transaction was taking place at a large boarding stable where a local horse association meeting was in progress. The presence of a curious audience only added to poor Richard’s discomfort.
“By this time I was so intimidated and felt so stupid by what I had done,” Greenberg added, “I just said ‘No.’ I gave him his money and he left. I hadn’t even gotten on the horse.
“So, Prestwich leaves and one of these very knowledgeable horse people comes up to me and says, ‘You didn’t buy that horse did you?’ And not knowing that much about horses and, of course, respecting anybody who had an opinion, I said, ‘Yeah.’ To which he replies, ‘Well, that horse is so unsound, he won’t last the year.’
“So there I was. The trainer had gone. I’d given him my money. I now own Hollywood Jac. I’m $3,000 poorer. I have someone who has told me that the horse won’t last the year. And I said to myself, ‘Life goes on. Whatever is, is.’
“I guess I’ve made worse mistakes,” Greenberg laughed years later.
But if Richard was feeling pangs of regret, it may have comforted him to know that so was Prestwich
“I knew what I had there. I knew what he was. But it was just one of those things. I should have kept the horse and sold the farm,” Spain laughed. “He was probably the best horse I ever rode.”
Greenberg’s doubts were soon alleviated. A week after he bought Jac, he trailered the horse and a mare to trainer Ed Cridge’s farm for a lesson. Cridge not only gave Jac his seal of approval, he startled Richard with another revelation. When Greenberg unloaded the horse, Cridge told him that he didn’t think it was a good idea to haul his stallion next to a mare. Greenberg’s response: “What stud?” Jac was so gentlemanly that Richard still hadn’t noticed that the horse was still intact.
Cridge rode Jac and was duly impressed. He gave Greenberg some additional advice: Go have some fun with the versatile little horse. Richard took him at his word.
At their first show together, Richard showed Jac in 28 classes in a 2-day period-barrels, poles, pleasure, reining, and just about everything on the show bill.
“I think we missed the all-around by just a half-point,” Greenberg laughed, “and he never took a lame step.” The dire prediction of the “horse expert” whose comments had worried Greenberg couldn’t have been more wrong.