RNC the OTTB: Rency Rocks the Boat

Well, hello Jumper Nation! Wow, it feels awesome to write that. I’m Emily, and for the next 8 months, I will be bringing you guys along on the craziness that is my RRP journey. Since this is my first post as an Official Jumper Nation blogger, I figured I would give a bit of background on myself and my horse. Buckle in.

I’m a 19-year-old amateur, currently juggling college + horses + a restaurant job (to afford college + horses). I’ve been riding for 6 years, and although the jumper circuit is my favorite place to be, my collegiate team gives me valuable show miles in the equitation ring. I study Criminal Justice but secretly daydream about a professional career in the equine industry… one day.

Photo by Sage Brown

I have a 16-year-old sister who I share everything with, including a horse. Our mount for the 2019 Makeover, JC Red Nick Carl or Rency, is a 2014 model OTTB gelding, standing at about 16.2 hands. We met Ren at Evangeline Downs back in August 2018. He had a less than exciting racing career, so after 18 uneventful starts, his connections began looking for a new home. The moment I met him I was taken aback at how friendly, calm and LARGE he was. Two minutes after meeting us, he was resting his head in my sister’s chest. I like to think that he knew we were his people. I spoke to his agent on the phone and said that we’d take him, and two days later he showed up at our barn, ready for a new life.

Of course, things never happen quite the way you imagine them. Rency’s first month off the track brought ulcers, a colic episode, two broken fences (he crashed straight through them, as one does), and lameness from an abscess (the first of many). He was… how do I put this nicely… a nutcase. He was an absolute wild child. Our parents and trainer were already itching to send him back within the first 48 hours. I called his agent yet again and spoke with her for over an hour. After that phone call, we had a plan; Ren had one week to show us that he could adjust to the new lifestyle. After that, he would be sent to his live at his agent’s house until she could responsibly rehome him.

Photo by Sage Brown

Thankfully, my sister was a positive light through all of this. While I was questioning my decision, Ivy was fighting for little Rency to be given a chance. She had an immediate bond with him on the track and is absolutely the reason that he is still here today. Without her to speak for him, I would have probably been overwhelmed by his shocking behavior and the pressure being put on me and given up. I can’t express how thankful I am that I didn’t do just that.

With Ren steadily improving, we dealt with each of his issues. Those first few weeks were a time for learning what worked best for all of us. I’m happy to say that we’ve mostly got it figured out. Thankfully, not every month has been as eventful as our first one together. Sure, we’ve had our setbacks (like the first time I cantered Ren under saddle and launched me into a standard), but we’ve also made incredible strides in his training! We’re quickly solidifying his walk/trot/canter, and jump schooling has become a weekly event. My little dude is incredibly smart and willing, so new skills come easily with a little bit of guidance.

Now, on to the Makeover and our future. The Makeover, for me, is both a goal and a stepping stone. It’s a goal that I’m working to be ready for, of course, but in the long run, it’s another incredible milestone in our relationship and our career together. I want Rency to be able to represent himself, as well as the breed, at the Makeover and beyond. I love the idea of competing against other recently retired racehorses, and I want him to learn the skills he’ll need for a successful career.

Photo by Sage Brown

As a college student, those imported warmbloods were just never an option for me. A cheap, untrained thoroughbred straight off the track was just about all I could afford. I know I’m not alone in that, which is what inspired me to start. My blog, which I started in August, is my memory book and instruction manual. Having the chance to write for Jumper Nation is an awesome opportunity. I look forward to being able to connect with other riders and promote the versatility and talent of the Thoroughbred on a larger platform than I ever thought was possible.

With these bimonthly posts, I want to show what it’s really like to take a racehorse and turn them around in only 10 months. It’s crazy and fun and scary and wild, but it’s all SO worth it. In short, expect lots of gushing on my super cheap slowpoke. Expect updates on our successes and failures. Expect to hear about our goals and then our revised goals, because the original ones didn’t work out. Expect brutal honesty and details on the craziness that is owning a 1200lb animal that LIVES for the thrill of injuring himself. I hope you guys are as ready as I am, because this is gonna be a wild ride. Stay tuned.