Ryker has a new show name! Yes, it's official this time.  Not to mention we've entered out first sanctioned event!  We'll be going to the GMHA starter trials, and maybe a schooling event at Hitching Post Farm, but then we're off to Stuart H.T. in Victor, NY.   

In other news, Ryker is a rockstar, as usual. He's loving his night turn out, and everything about Triple Combination except for the bugs!  Today we had our first real lesson with Andrea (at Triple Combination Farm), we worked on foot placement gymnastics.   He was fantastic, we built it up one pole at a time and he finished  straight, balanced, bold and confident.

Here is what we worked up to:
We came in the grid from the left side, trotting in, and finishing with a right hand turn over the oxer.
Ryker has been more than wonderful. Great to ride, wonderful to handle, and just generally a pleasure to have in the barn.  This does not surprise me one bit, but then again... I know he's awesome.  

At the barn he is currently at, there is a woman with her two young daughters that help do chores.  The youngest has fallen madly in love with Ryker.  It really is the cutest thing ever.  Her mother said to me today, "He is so sweet, he let [her daughter] go into his stall and feed him.  I can't believe he's been off the track for so little time, he's so calm.".  Her experience with OTTBs has mainly been with rescues that no one wants, because they aren't easy to handle, and never have set boundaries - they are the bitters, the kickers, the cribbers, and weavers that everyone dreads (granted, none of those thing are disastrously terrible, just not desired).  It is so sad that this would be her first impression of these wonderful animals, but its refreshing to see that impression change, even ever so slightly!  At the end of chores, her daughter bolted back into the barn to give Ryker a hug and a kiss in his stall - barefoot no less (granted she was well scolded for the barefoot bit) - Ryker kept his head super low, and didn't move a foot, sniffing her intently, and letting her hug his face and neck - he knew he had to be gentle.  What a love, I wish I had been quick enough to capture a photo of such a sweet moment.  Go OTTBs! 
Ryker has started the first leg of his trip home to VT!  He is spending a couple days at Lancaster Stabled in Hornell, NY, before he hops back on the trailer headed home. 

Ryker was wonderful getting on and off the trailer from AU.  He was calm and quiet getting off the trailer, calm enough to get his feet done immediately!  He now has shiny new kicks (thank you Patrick Fargnoli!), and has done some intensive exploring!  We went up with his "big brother" (my personally owned, certified OTTB babysitter, training level eventer, old man, Gus).  Ryker was better than I could have ever imagined.  He was calm, forward, and responsive; willing to lead, follow, bushwhack, leave Gus, and be left behind.  We also did our first mini cross country course, composed of small logs!  He was excellent, took one bobble to figure out what I wanted, and he was game!  Jumping the first and moving forward after looking for the next log.  What a good race horse!! Can't wait to get him home and take him to a real course! 

In other news, they made it to VT safe and sound! 
Ryker and Whiz patiently waiting to load up on their way to VT!
Today, I have nothing BUT good news for you!
 Ryker has been wonderful, as always.  We've been doing tons of dressage work (he really is getting it!), lots of hacking and a little jumping.  I wont bore you with the nitty gritty details, but for a horse who I questioned his drive to jump, he sure has proven me wrong! (see photo below!) Now that he understands what I'm asking for, he just wants more! I don't want to push him farther than he is ready for, but he keeps eating up everything I throw at him! We've been doing quite a bit of road hacking, and finding makeshift XC jumps to play over.  He's jumped a couple ditches and walked and trotted through some big puddles.  Not to mention trotted and cantered out of the ring with other horses without getting strong, and always coming back nicely.  I can't wait to get him to VT and really get to work!
Ryker over 3'6"
And with that, I leave you with some even more good news.  Ryker has been sold!
  I finally bit the bullet and went for it.  He is exactly the horse I've been looking for (what are the odds!), and the lack of interest in him has certainly given me the thought that maybe he is the one I should be keeping. My other OTTB project will be for sale in June.  (She is a 6 y.o., 16.1h, bay OTTB mare, see her here)

I will keep blogging over the summer, so keep your eyes open for our exciting updates to come!
Ryker's conformation shot at the beginning of the summer 2012.