A Tuesday Lesson with Boston

I promise there will be more about Rags and how things are changing now that I’ve got a willing partner for the whole jumper/eventing game, but first I want to talk about Tuesday.

In some ways, Tuesday felt like my first “real” lesson in a while. I’ve spent the past few months focusing on Ezhno’s western, and now that I’ve got “the most English of English horse” (according to Trainer M), it was time to hang up my cowboy boots and get back to what matters most to me: JUMPING.

That meant thirty minutes of my post/half seat to stretch my tendons back out (ow) and fifteen minutes of jumping every cross rail in sight while designing imaginary courses in my head.

And you know what? It was sort of like riding a bike. I could see some distances, I messed a lot of things up, at one point I made the wrong choice coming out of a jump and towards a wall so Boston had to do some fancy footwork to get a flying change (or die trying), but I felt solid! It didn’t matter how wonky the jump was, I just sat up, anchored through my heels, let some rein slip, and I was fine. It was like I was back where I was when I stopped jumping in January—maybe even better.

Guys, I feel so good! And that feeling is how I know I’m making all the right decisions. I’m going to have so much fun exploring new disciplines with my new partner!

Shopping for a Steed (again): Raglan

“We should find you a nice little schoolmaster.” – Trainer M

“This is what you meant, right?” – me

Say hello to Raglan, a 2012 OTTB gelding that sticks in at a massive 16.3 hands (a full seven inches taller than me, LOL). I found him on Facebook, during a quiet day at my tutoring job, and immediately sent his ad to my trainer for review in hopes of setting up a time to look at him right away, what with his low price and close by location.

Raglan is not what I was looking for. For one, I wasn’t actually supposed to be looking in the first placeEzhno’s not officially sold yet, which means my funds are low right now. On top of that, the horse I was picturing for Steed #2 was a small OTTB schoolmaster mare, sooooo… I guess he at least checks one of those boxes? 😆

Despite that, Trainer M and I were enticed by his low price and his cute (if energetic and poorly filmed) jump video. We knew going in that he would probably be a little too much horse for me, but at the same time he was such a steal of a deal that we had to go see him, especially when we figured out that the woman selling him has lessoned with Trainer M before.

Now, I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but I generally believe that the Universe does things for a reason. An ad for five year old OTTB owned by someone that has a connection to my trainer just happens to show up at the top of my Facebook feed? Clearly part of the Universe’s design.

Of course, the Universe also has a wicked sense of humor, so our plans to go see Raglan after horse camp on Friday afternoon got waylaid when the seller got into a fender bender. 🙁

We rescheduled for Monday and, after a weekend of creating imaginary to-do lists to keep myself occupied, Trainer M and I rolled in bright and early with our boots on and our helmets dangling from our fingertips. Raglan’s seller pulled in at 10:00 on the dot with a truck bed filled with tack and an adorable baby boy in a carrier on her arm. Her reason for selling Rags (as she called him) quickly became apparent: she has a brand new baby and her fiancé was insisting she sell her hardest keeper.

She pulled Rags out of the pasture and saddled him up while he nonchalantly grazed. The small farm we were at was just outside of town. There were dogs barking and sirens going off in the distance, but Raglan was clearly unfazed. If there was a spook hidden somewhere inside of him, she hadn’t found it; she’d even taken him up into the mountains for trail rides!

Raglan came off the racetrack about a year ago (where he was owned by Jeffrey Metz Racing), then ended up being put on the back burner by his first off track owner until his current seller bought him in February as a rescue project. He was a disheveled mess when she got him, but now he had five months of groceries and sixty days of riding on him.

Rags when the seller got him vs. now (pulled from her Facebook)

Once he was tacked up, she gave him a chance to get some of his yahoos out in the arena. He gallivanted around like… well, like a racehorse! But despite his exuberance he was easy to catch and she climbed aboard without anymore fuss. She and Trainer M both put him through his paces, and while he did look green (some head tossing, wobbly steering, wrong leads, etc.), Trainer M enjoyed riding him and I thought he looked super well put together, not to mention very smooth.

Notice that Trainer M doesn’t look too tiny on him, either! That boded well for 5’0″ me.

When Trainer M was satisfied, she put the stirrups up a couple of holes and legged me up. I spent a good ten seconds reveling in how tall I felt, then picked up my stirrups. I had to pony club kick him forward, which I found hilarious, but then he walked like he had somewhere urgent to be. He wasn’t overreactive to my leg, but he was super forward and ready to get going, so we picked up a trot. I was immediately at home. We had 50% of our steer/go/whoa available to us, no lines were straight lines (hello circles), and I had to keep closing my hand and using leg to push him into the bridle so he wasn’t a giraffe. It was like Ezhno day one all over again, just with a much bigger engine—how familiar!

I didn’t plan on cantering him (never cantered Ezhno when I test rode him either), so I trotted around both directions for a while, then finagled him into a halt. I hopped down, gave him a pet, bopped him on the nose when he tried to rub his massive head on me (he barely flinched, lol), and then gave my trainer a thumbs up.

$1000 and thirty minutes later, I had a horse delivered right to my doorstep.