Well, the day is finally here, the close of applications for the 2018 RRP Thoroughbred Makeover. It’s like the Thanksgiving to my Christmas. An exciting day in and of itself, but what it really does is start the countdown to the day we are all really waiting for — in this case, Trainer Announcements on February 1st.
Of course, my application has been in since the day the applications opened. And why? Because my 2018 hopeful, Cold Gone Hot, has been hanging out in my pasture, running up my board bill, since August.
Tiny, as my husband named him, is anything but. I adopted him basically sight unseen from New Vocations, all I had to go on was a photo and a glimpse of him in the pasture. When I went to pick him up, what I thought was a chromed out 16-something hand Tiznow gelding turned out to be an over-sized baby horse sticking at 17 hands.
As I silently crossed my fingers that he would even fit into my trailer, I wondered what the heck I had gotten myself into. My just-over-5-foot frame hadn’t seen a horse over 17 hands in quite some time, let alone a towering 4-year-old with a lot more growing to do. And I planned on Eventing this thing? Oy.
The past two years, I have chosen my Makeover mounts using a very specific algorithm, one that I have fine-tuned while pouring over hundreds of potential prospects. It has served me extremely well, bestowing me two mounts that have had incredible brains, a degree of trainability that just can’t be taught, and athleticism to top it all off.
This precise formula — are you ready for it? — mare + barely pushing 16 hands.
And what a wonder it has done me. Rebel Annie, my 2016 mount, was a puppy dog who made me fall in love with restarting OTTBs again. And Hot Java, my 2017 mount, is a wonderful mix of kind soul and hearty competitor who is pushing me to pursue a recognized eventing career that I wasn’t sure I’d ever have.
These two ladies have served me extremely well, and have been exactly what I needed when I needed it. But this year I decided to go a different direction.
With Tiny, I saw an athletic, albeit towering, frame. I saw a royal pedigree with an affinity for route courses (can you say eventer?), and his daddy’s reputation for throwing just enough sass to keep it interesting. And of course, I saw eye-catching chrome that you just can’t say no to.
What came home with me was all of those things wrapped up in the body of an insanely large toddler. At first, he was worried. Trying to be good, but not sure if I was friend or foe, and wondering if I was going to push the ear-touching issue. And has he grew, so did his personality. Tiny now sticks at whopping 17.2 hands and isn’t quite done growing. His mouth has to touch everything and most of the time he isn’t sure where his feet are going or what his body is doing.
So, after successfully learning how to lunge, and doing lots of work over ground poles to help with coordination, Tiny has been a gorgeous pasture pet for months now. The few rides we have shared together have been largely uneventful, just meandering around as I figure out what to do with all the horse underneath me.
Will he eventually figure out where to put his feet over fences? Is he too big to actually put together in the dressage ring? Will he ever stop growing? Your guess is as good as mine! But for now, we wait and hope that our journey together will eventually lead to the 2018 RRP Thoroughbred Makeover.