Reign Day was a star at the hunter pace! He loaded in the trailer with no fuss. He was quiet in the trailer and allowed me to tack him up in the trailer after we arrived. All the horses were kind of jiggy at the start as they had been in the barn for almost three days with no turn out. It was a windy cold morning and even my old hunt horse was “up” and he has been off-the-track for over six years! This is our old hunt country that he has been on a hundred times.
We rode down a steep hill to the start of the pace and one of the horses near us threw a buck and down the rider went. The now loose horse went galloping past me on Reign Day and ran after the horses who had just started. The loose horse turned around and galloped straight back towards Reign Day and our group. I want to say I was ready for a big spook or a buck. Reign Day just stood there as the horse ran by. He did not react at all. Thank God for his training at the race track. Off-the-track Thoroughbreds are used to lots of commotion and loose horses racing by.
After they caught the loose horses and started walking him away, a big black Percheron came down the hill. He too bucked off his rider and it was déjà vu only bigger and blacker. I reached out to grab the reins of the Percheron as he ran by (that close). . . and then I came to my senses. A 2000 pound horse vs 1100 pound horse with much smaller rider? I don’t think so. The physics were not equal and the Percheron continued to circle and gallop around everyone. The first loose horse reared up when the Percheron came towards him. Even he was frightened. Reign Day was calm. This is a sensible horse! Four years old, six weeks off-the-track, windy cold day, limited time out all week and still quiet.
Finally it was our turn to start. We trotted out to relax the horses. The mud was terrible in the woods! We have had almost five inches of rain in the last three days. The trails were like creeks with flowing water. Reign Day no longer hesitates at any mud or water. No one did any jumping as the fences were all under water. There are some very low fences and I was hoping to jump Reign Day but the conditions eliminated this idea very quickly.
Reign Day and Aly’s Alpha Boy did jump a washed out creek bed that Pull and Foxy had to be led over. I was so proud of Reign Day! At one point a friend’s horse kicked out at Pull and he moved out from under Barry. Off came Barry. Pull came running towards us and I jumped off Reign Day and grabbed Pull. Reign Day did not react at all.
Reign Day’s was even doing leg yielding in the open pastures for me. I was showing off his new skills as a sport horse. He is incredible!
By the end of the 2.5 hour ride the horses were all tired. We had cantered in the dry areas and trotted in the woods. We did a lot of walking through water as you will see by the photos. Andi had her camera and got photos of Reign Day. I had my camera on Reign Day so you can experience the ride with us. We did not wait around for ribbons but hopefully they will be set to us. Reign Day earned a yellow ribbon for his good behavior. The photos of the other horses cantering were taken from Reign Day while we were cantering along side or trotting!
I would say that Reign Day passed this last test with flying colors. He has officially graduated to being a sport horse!