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].
Last week on EN’s Got Talent, we met Katy Groesbeck’s newest upper-level prospect, Roman Place. The 7-year-old OTTB gelding found a new home with Katy after spending some time at Buck Davidson’s barn, and he’s flourished under her training.
Now, Katy is preparing “Ruler” for his CCI* debut at Virginia Horse Trials this fall, and she’s confident that he’s ready for the new challenge. “I’m taking a long time to work on the flatwork and prepare for that part of the competition,” she said. “He can do all the movements, so it’s just all about relaxation and his comfort in the arena.
He tends to get a bit nervous going up centerline, and so he’ll withdraw a bit and get behind the leg. He gets sticky and behind the vertical – that’s his go to when he gets nervous. So we’re working on that a lot, getting him more comfortable in the ring. He’s definitely shown improvement as time goes by.”
What about the differences (or similarities) between Ruler and her other upper-level partner, Oz the Tin Man? “It’s a completely different feeling when (Ruler) jumps,” Katy said. “It’s not like any other horse I’ve ridden. Buck tells me he’s an incredible jumper, and he feels different but equally as enthusiastic as Wort does.”
Ruler is smaller in build, standing 15.2 hands, which Katy enjoys since he is a solidly-built horse and “built like a tank.” “My dad asked me if I couldn’t find anything bigger,” she recalled. “But I really like the way he’s built, he really feels solid when you’re on him.”
Katy’s learned that going slower is more rewarding with this particular horse. Along with his nerves in the dressage ring, Ruler also tends to get overwhelmed if too much new information is presented at one time. “He tries really hard, but if you push him too fast he gets a little worried. He can get frustrated and overwhelmed. Doing things slowly and letting him figure it out as he goes is definitely the way to do things with this one.“
Around the barn, Ruler is a favorite. “He’s the easiest horse the deal with,” Katy said. “He can be a bit snarky to other horses, but he also doesn’t get attached to other horses, so he can go down the road by himself without an issue. Around the barn, he’s so mellow that you can ride him double bareback in a halter.”
Katy sees potential for a big future with this young horse, but she’s letting him set the pace for how quickly they progress. “I’m not going to push him faster than he wants to go. If I keep him sound and really loving his job, I don’t think there’s a lot standing in his way.
He’s got a great mind and a huge heart. I just need to make sure that he is enjoying his work and I know he’ll keep trying. I’d love to see him doing what Wort is and possibly even more, but we’re just taking it one step at a time for now.”
Roman Place is currently owned by the Roman Place Syndicate, and there are four shares left. If you’re interested in joining in Katy’s journey with Ruler, visit her website for more information.