EN’s Got Talent: Calling All Comets Becomes an Eventer

We hear all the time about horses at the top of the sport, but what about the next generation of equine talent? EN’s Got Talent introduces the future superstars of the sport, interviewing riders about how they’re tackling training with these youngsters. Have you spotted a spectacular young horse at an event you think should be highlighted in this column? Tip me at [email protected].

Laine and Calling All Comets in the William Fox-Pitt clinic. Photo by Kate Samuels. Laine and Calling All Comets in the William Fox-Pitt clinic. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Last week on EN’s Got Talent, we talked with Laine Ashker about her homebred gelding, Calling All Comets. Laine commented that the son of Comet Shine is an excellent mover, one that is blessed with more natural balance and movement than what she is used to. As a result, Comet’s flatwork has been one of the best parts of his education. “He’s an excellent natural mover,” Laine said. “He tends to get a bit short in the neck, so I have been working on getting it longer, but that’s been the biggest thing we’ve had to work through.”

Laine kicked off Comet’s eventing career at the Seneca Valley Pony Club Spring HT in June of 2013, where the bay gelding took home fourth in the Beginner Novice division. Comet went on to complete two Novice runs and one Training run before Laine gave him the majority of the winter off to just be a young horse and grow into himself a bit more. Laine has found that eventing comes naturally to Comet. “Cross country is definitely his best phase,” Laine said of Comet’s talent. “Show jumping is a bit harder for him because he is still learning how to adjust and get to the right distance. Oxers tend to back him off more, verticals don’t. In the (William Fox-Pitt) clinic, he had us working on narrow oxers so that he could learn how to analyze them better. My biggest thing to teach him this year is to back off a bit and learn to really know where his feet are at all times with the jumping.”

William also had the clinic participants working on many fundamental exercises, including walking over fences to encourage straightness. Comet exhibits a good work ethic and a willingness to learn, which Laine believes comes in part from his previous exposure to many different environments while doing competitive trail riding with her mother. “Comet has seen so much on the trails that walking over jumps was not a big deal for him at all. He has much more of an open mind as a youngster because he isn’t set in his ways.” Laine appreciated the walking exercises, as it helps the horse rock back and use its hind end and it is also a good way to introduce skinny jumps. “I have definitely taken the concepts I learned in the clinic and used them in my own training and lessons at home.”

Laine is not in a big hurry with Comet, and plans on letting him let her know when he is ready to take the next steps with his career. This year, Comet has completed a Novice and a Training level event, and Laine plans on keeping him at Training level until his education is to the point where he can make the step up to Prelim. “It’s easy to move him up because he is so brave. But I am not in any hurry to move him up because I really want to improve the show jumping and consistently win the dressage. Plus, he is only five, so we have a lot of time to ensure that he is properly educated and ready to keep moving up.”

Around the barn, Comet is goofy and extroverted, a barn favorite for sure. “He’s very self-assured and confident,” Laine said. “At the same time, he’s kind of like a dog! When I put him in the trailer, I leave his window down so that he can stick his head out and flap his lips in the wind. He is a real hoot to have around the barn.”

Here is Laine’s helmet cam video from Comet’s first Training Level run of the year at Rocking Horse:

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments