Heather’s at His Best with Jennifer

OTTB Heathers Best and Jennifer work on their dressage technique

OTTB Heathers Best and Jennifer work on their dressage technique

I took Heather to a three-phase event on Sunday, we did beginner novice and ended up getting 5th place! It was his 4th show, and only his second event, and I am so thrilled that he got a ribbon!!

The day started out a little rough, I arrived early, parked the trailer and went to go walk the cross-country course. Well, when I got back 30 minutes or so later, Heather was so upset! I felt so bad because evidently he got very worried when I left him. Even though there were plenty of other horses and trailers parked all around us, he had a major panic attack and was calling out and sweating terribly when I got back. I’ve never seen him so upset. So, instead of relaxing, reviewing my dressage test, eating, etc, I ended up hand walking Heather around the fields for 45 minutes, talking to him and trying to convince him that everything was going to be fine.

He finally calmed down and relaxed enough to graze a little bit and look everything over. Once I got him tacked up and sat on him he was much better, but still not convinced that he was ok. So of course Dressage was a bit tense to say the least there were so many distractions, and Heather was still worried. There was no warm up arena, so horses and riders were just going all over the place next to the dressage arena, and the jumping warm up was in view also, so there was just so much for him to look at! Luckily we made it through the test and had an hour to relax before cross-country.

By the time we got onto the course he was much more settled and I had the time of my life! Heather flew around the course as if he had been doing it for years. He was perfect! He never gave anything a second look-just galloped and jumped everything like a pro. Half way through, the course went into the woods with a downhill brush jump and along a shady trail with a Trakhener. I thought that area might be a little spooky, and I was a little spooked by the Trakhener since we had never schooled one. Well, Heather is just the bravest horse! He galloped straight into the woods and we were just flying down the trail. He was completely focused and literally soared over the jumps! He loved the open gallops, but never got too strong, and came right back whenever I asked. When we galloped over the last jump I think I was laughing and crying at the same time because I was so incredibly proud of my horse. I was giving him the biggest hug as we crossed the finish!!

Things just got better from there, with a perfect stadium round (including his first flying change!) I have the stadium jumping on video, so I will get that to you soon, and I’m hoping the photographer got some good shots of cross country. So, we got a nice 5th place ribbon (out of 31 competitors) for our first horse trials together, and that means that Heather has gotten a ribbon at every show he has done so far!

But most importantly, we are having a great time, and have formed an amazing bond-I love this horse so much, and whenever we are out schooling, people always tell me how much my horse loves me-which I think is amazing. I feel so blessed that I found my perfect partner, and I can’t wait until our next competition!

Heather’s Best and Jennifer have been together for a year. Click here to read past success stories.

Visit Heather’s Best’s Photo Gallery and see photos of him at Bits & Bytes Farm and with his new mom.