At 9 years old, Rainier (AKA Summer Snow) is the oldest horse in the 100 Day Challenge. What does that mean? From what I have observed since he arrived at Blue Rider Farm, it has meant a horse who handles change well; trailers without issues; adapts to new environments and people quickly; has all his basic skills in place like bathing, putting on and taking off blankets and sheets; standing in cross ties; behaves well for the farrier; gets along with the horses around him; doesn’t crib or show signs of nervous tension; is curious, but not worried; straight-forward under saddle, able to walk trot, and canter both directions with appropriate leads when asked; a gentle giant with a heart of gold. An easy horse to build a relationship with.
Last night, the 4th of July, he showed what life experience adds to the mix. Off the track horses have the virtue of exposure to crowds, cheering fans, celebrations, traffic, horns and noise makers, starting guns, and more. With 41 career starts at 8 different tracks, Rainier has been exposed to a variety of situations. The neighbors of Blue Rider Farm threw quite a rambunctious party last night that could be heard throughout the neighborhood. There was loud music, lots of traffic, general chaos, and fireworks from the roof top. Not all that different from a night of evening racing at some tracks. How did Rainier handle it? He stood quietly in the company of his neighboring horse, Zepher. In some ways, the life of a horse with a long track career can be an advantage.
His age was one of the reasons Devin selected him. Even though Rainier has been on the track fairly recently, he has shown nothing but a responsive, reposeful character. He is strong, able, and willing to retrain for a new lifestyle, as well as pleasant to be around. As of week #1 in the 100 Day Challenge, he is a rock star!