• RS_Dressage

"Follow your horse sense"

Two years ago I was in search of a foal.

My Step-dad had seen me ride a boarders Warmblood and asked my mom “Who is that riding”

She said “What do you mean? Its Rachael”

He responded “We need to get her a better horse”

The next day they told me to start looking for a new horse.

It was to be my first warmblood foal and my experience had mainly been in Andalusians and Andalusian crosses. So needless to say I was venturing into a whole new world.

My mom told me what my budget was and that it had to be a filly. Once I had my criteria I was on a mission.

I wanted to find one in Florida because I didn’t want the foal to have to travel far and I wanted to get her myself. Within a couple days I had found my girl.

Love at first site? Not so much…..

I found Fantasia (now known as Kit) on warmbloodsales.com

Remember, I was brand new to the warmbloods but had done a lot of researching on bloodlines and tried educating myself as best as possible. At this point I didn’t know much but I did know that Sandro Hit was an absolutely phenomenal stallion and had lovely offspring. Most of which were selling for a lot of money and if in the right hands were going very far in the dressage world.

Kit was 3 hours north of us in Ocala, FL and is a grand-daughter of Sandro Hit.

I called my mom the night I found her and said we have to go look at her right away. Convinced she would be gone in ten seconds if we didn’t.

My mom being the good sport she is and having more faith in me than I ever have said OK.

We headed north first thing in the morning.

When we arrived Kit was... well... not what either of us were expecting. She was a fuzz ball with a horrible kicking habit and ears that looked like they were growing 3 times faster than the rest of her body. My mom looked at me and said “ are you sure she is the one?”

I quickly responded yes. Everything in me said she was the one even though logically she was not.

Looking back at her photos now I can see why she questioned me on it.

We drove home with plans to have the vet out and have her X-rayed the following day. I was beyond

excited and wished we had brought the trailer with us then!

That night when I got home I started feeling very sick. I tried to tell myself I was fine but it was quite clear by morning I was coming down with the Flu. Once again I was convinced if I didn’t get her right away I would miss the chance so we had one of our employees drive the truck while I snoozed in the passenger seat praying I would feel a little better and have the strength to get through the vetting.

Kit was no saint when it came to the pre purchase and who can blame a lightly handled 6 month old for not wanting to stand for x-rays. But we made it through and the x-rays were CLEAN!

It was a dream come true.

When it came time to load her on the trailer she was also far from being a saint but with the help of three men and cocktail that came in the form of a shot we got her on there and home!

The look on some peoples faces when they first saw this “fabulous warmblood” I’d been blabbing about was mostly filled with surprise, but not in a good way.

Kit was definitely the ugly duckling on the farm when she arrived.

Within the first week she was home I had her bathing and was able to body clip her.

She was learning how to be a pampered princess and it didn’t take long before she started to show us what she was really made of.

The ugly duckling started showing up everyone else on the farm. By the time she was a year and a half old you couldn’t keep from falling in love with how she moved across the pasture.

So much grace and beauty. And with so much ease.

Kit was becoming the kind of horse that walked with purpose and had a trot that was so floaty your jaw would drop. But she had all of that without having to be hyped up. It all came natural to her.

I loved telling my parents about how well she was doing and you could see how proud they were when they looked at her. Which was good for me considering she looked like a big mistake in the beginning!

We were preparing for Kits 2 year old inspection when my Stepdad passed away.

My mom was beside herself with grief and I had zero desire to work with the horses or even be in the barn for that matter.

Things around the ranch were miserable for everyone and the big plans we had made for Kits inspection were looking grim at best.

A few weeks before the inspection I asked my mom if she still wanted to do it. She said yes, that there is no way he would have wanted us to miss this and that it was important to him.

Hearing her say that put me back on my feet and made me realize even if I didn’t want to do it I NEEDED to do it for him. I couldn’t let him down.

Crunch Time

I didn’t have much time left before the Swedish warmblood inspection and the judges only fly into the states every other year so there was no way I could miss this one.

The day of the inspection I was beyond nervous as I had never even been to an inspection let alone handled a horse in one.

Kit loaded perfectly and trailered like an angel. She walked into the unfamiliar barn without hesitation and went through the inspection with flying colors.

Conformation: 8.5

Walk: 9 Trot: 8.5 Canter 7.5 General impression 8

The Judges LOVED her. Leaving comments such as:

Supple, ground covering, elastic, light footed, rhythmical, well balanced, excellent condition, three very good gates, and in the additional comments they said “Excellently presented”

Which meant that I held up to my end! And I was literally in tears when they said all of this.

Kit not only scored in the highest category receiving a CLASS 1 blue ribbon but the judge also gave her the compliment that if she would have been showing in the 3-4 year old inspection she would have been made a diploma mare.

We went home from the inspection with tears of joy that this girl brought back some happiness in such a dark time.

We are now working towards the 4 year old inspection and plan to take this girl as far as she will let us.

If I would have listened to logic and not followed my “horse sense” or that little voice saying “She’s it”

Who knows what I would have ended up with. Sometimes you have to shut out the negative Nellys and go with your gut. Be thankful for the people you have that will back you up and remember that no one knows your horse like you do.

-Rachael Shelton