Have you ever stayed at a Ritz Carlton or Hyatt Regency resort? Especially one in tropical locale? Everything is just cleaner, more luxurious and perfect than your real home. I guess that is why guests fork over hundreds of dollars ( and sometimes more) per night to be treated like they are special. And let’s not forget all the spa amenities like hot showers that never turn cold, massages and best salons around. As a guest, I have always enjoyed being treated this way. Arriving home, my place looked a little drabber, and my hair never looked as good as when the professionals styled it.
Bruno has been gone for over two weeks away at an intensive training regime. Bruno loaded in the trailer easily (after continued work with Sarah and Lauren). A hundred miles later, we were met by a kind, competent groom who led Bruno to his stall where he would live for the next two weeks. This barn with its stucco and rock walls was a far cry from my metal shed with our homemade stalls. We learned the expected routine pretty quickly. The horse was brought down to matted, grooming stalls with cross ties. Perhaps this all felt like the norm to OTTB Bruno who came from a lovely New York racing facility. Regardless, he settled in like it was just another day. Bruno was tacked up, Lauren brought him to the covered arena and their education over fences got underway in earnest.
After the first day’s lesson, where Bruno progressed from trot polls, to Xes, to single jumps to his first oxer, Lauren handed the horse over to the groom once again. The groom removed and cleaned his tack and Bruno was bathed in warm, soapy water. Each day, when Lauren arrived, she found Bruno a little cleaner and whiter than the day before. A big part of this was a giant car type canister vacuum that was used to suck all the tiniest specks of dust out of the horse’s coat. And each day the progress in the ring become sharper and brighter. It was very helpful to have Lauren work directly with Bruno as he was being trained. In the end, Lauren will need to be the one to keep bringing Bruno along. As I saw Bruno standing in cross-ties, I considered how Feather would react to this fancy barn. I suspect that Feather would break a few cross-ties as she accepted the routine here.
With the many holidays, the two weeks went quickly. Yesterday, in their final lesson, Bruno was jumping a short course and showing a lot of scope over several jumps. Bruno headed home to my little farm. Feather and Kid were nickering for him as the trailer pulled in. Immediately he was reunited with Kid. I am not sure who was happier. Lauren worked a quieter, less intimidating horse today, who worked easily with her to walk, trot and canter. Bruno was unimpressed with our icy cold well water that greeted him after his work-out.
We had hoped and prayed that one day this horse would fly. I am completely convinced now, after these two weeks, that we have a top-flight jumper in Bruno. Lauren was told multiple times that Bru will never be an easy ride or an easy horse to jump. But we have never had the luxury of an easy horse. Lauren held her own amongst the other top riders at this barn.
Bruno settled into farm routine easily this morning, eating all his breakfast for the first time in two weeks. Bruno enjoyed his time at the top-flight barn. He learned a lot in his classes and luxuriated in all the wonderful grooming.
What an amazing opportunity to allow Bruno and Lauren this time for training and new growth. Kid says it is all fine and good since Bruno is back home where he belongs. Thanks for riding along and wishing you all a wonderful New Year.