If you follow my Instagram then you probably have a pretty good idea about how things have been going with Rebel but here is a more detailed rundown. Fair warning there will be lots of pictures and videos in this post.
Horses come home
We drove down to pick them up from LAX and everything happened so fast I didn’t get many pictures. They loaded in the trailer like pros and we were off on our 6 hour journey back home. Most of the way home it was 112 degrees! Welcome to California Czech ponies! Thankfully it doesn’t get that hot in Gilroy.
They handled the haul well but were very happy to be out of the trailer.Once in their stalls we needed to wait for them to pee and poop so we could rest easy knowing the drive didn’t stress them out enough to colic. So about 3 hours later only Rebel was cleared. Silver straight up refused to go the bathroom with an audience. We tried turning the lights off and leaving him alone awhile but still no luck. Eventually we decided to give up. We took the remaining food out of his stall and went home knowing we would be back in a few hours to check on them. The next morning we check his stall and low and behold we have poop!
First day home
The next day was all about pictures, treats, pets and turn outs.
After giving them three days to settle we tack them up for their first ride. Rebel was amazing! He acted as if he had been in the arena a million times. We just casually hacked around and tried some trot poles which he was confused by. He trotted up to them and then cantered both. He was like “silly girl jumps are suppose to be cantered”. After a few attempts he caught on and trotted through them nicely. We were only going to flat but he was doing so well we threw in a crossrail 🙂 I couldn’t believe how much fun I had just hacking him.
Holy crap this horse is amazing! I remembered why I fell in love with him in the first place which is because he is super honest and forgiving. I hadn’t jumped “big” in 2 months so I was really nervous but he took care of me. I got to some bad spots but he saved me time and time again. I can’t believe he’s only 5 and will still get better and better.
I have to share this video because we get a bad spot in and you can hear me say “shit” cause I figured we weren’t going to be able to get out smoothly but my horse is so freaking amazing he acted like it was nothing.
Here are two better attempts 😀
First naughty times aka baby brain day
Yeah he is only 5 lol. So we got our first case of baby brain yesterday. He spent the morning in turn out running around and having fun but I guess that sapped his energy. It got really windy but we were determined to ride. He was LAZY! My legs are still aching from that ride. One thing I took away from this lesson is just how freaking honest this horse is. Even though we crawled (like western pleasure speed even though I am pressing and pressing and kissing and kissing) through a four stride he still jumped the jumps. He was being a brat for sure but he still didn’t think twice about getting to the other side. Even though he was giving me attitude and getting behind my leg the ENTIRE lesson I still walked away feeling so lucky to have him. I knew when I bought a young horse there would be less than perfect rides so I was wasn’t worried in the least.
First lesson after baby brain day
Holy crap this horse is amazing! I can honestly say this horse loves to jump. Like really loves it. When we are flatting he is getting his eye on every jump and I can just tell he is itching to jump it. If it were up to him there would be no flat work…ever. I just need to work on keeping his stride reasonable because they can get BIG. On baby brain day we did a gymnastics line and the end was suppose to be a one stride but he did it in a bounce… It’s going to take me a lot of practice to get use to his stride because he doesn’t feel fast so I never think I need a half halt but in reality his stride is just eating up the ground. I defiantly feel like I made the right choice in Czech. I had a feeling about him when he bailed me out of a really bad spot, I just knew he was the type of horse I needed to progress.
I will do an update on Silver in another post. He is doing great though and I am super excited to see him show soon! Here is a sneak peek.
Rebel and Silver have arrived in LA safe and sound 😎! I woke up this morning around 6am and started tracking their flight. I sat at my computer watching the little airplane making its way across the map. I was so relieved when the plane landed. Flying makes me nervous, I use to love flying but the older I get the more vulnerable I feel in a plane. So I got anxious now that my horse was making the long flight across the continents. I kept wondering how he was feeling. Did he eat? Did he drink? Did he sleep? Is he scared? I guess I’ll never know really. Just happy that the longest part of his journey is over and he is almost to his new home. In the span of a month he has left the farm he was born at, spent a few weeks at the sales barn, then a week in Belgium, then a few days in LA and will finally end up in our barn in Gilroy. He must be confused. I wonder if he has jet lag…
Just received this email from JetPets
I have received a few request to post about the true import cost and I am happy to do it since there isn’t a lot of information online. Hopefully this will help anyone thinking about importing a horse.
All items have been converted to USD and what I actually paid:
$ 663.24 – Haul from sales barn in Brno to import company, EHS, in Belgium.
$5,194.45 – EHS fees (bloodtests, health cert, customs paperwork, haul to airport, flight)
$3,250 – JetPets in Los Angeles (pick up from airport, blood tests, board, paperwork)
$9,107.69 + gas cost to drive to LA and back.
When we were looking at the facebook ads of these horses shipping to California was estimated at $8500 and if you subtract the haul to Belgium it does come in right under $8500. We also bought two horses which earned each horse a $200 discount so keep that in mind if you are planning on importing one.
Tomorrow we drive to LA stay the night and pick them up on our way back. Watch instagram for pictures! That’s all I have for now 🙂
I’m so excited! Rebel has a ship date! He will be arriving stateside on the 27th. We plan on picking him up ourselves at LAX. And guess what? He will be traveling with his new stall mate Silver! Yep my trainer and I went in together and bought the grey gelding we tried in Czech as an investment. My barn bestie will be half leasing him while he gets more training and show miles. Which means we get to lesson together again and stare terrified as Lizzy puts the jumps higher and higher 😆😅
I can’t believe in less than a week I will have Rebel home and will be able to see him everyday! I already bought him a new halter, saddle pads and special cookies 😋
For quick updates and pictures be sure to follow me on Instagram @hunterjumperquest
Day three consisted of many hours of driving. We drove from Brno to somewhere in Slovakia. Driving from Brno to three different sales barns and back to Prague we calculated about 8 hours of driving that day. It was worth it though because we added two horses to our list of contenders. One is a 7 year old grey gelding and the other was a 7 year old grey mare and the only mare to make it to “the list”.
The grey mare had such a presence! She was huge and beefy and had a powerful jump.
The gelding was more refined and could do all three rings which made him appealing.
In the end I had 7 horses on my list of contenders but my heart kept coming back to one particular horse. Lizzy told me that trying horses would be like dating a bunch of great guys. They will all be wonderful but only one will capture your heart. For me that horse is Goody. We rode him the first day while I was nervous and trying to get in the swing of things. Every night when I closed my eyes to sleep he kept appearing in my mind. I rode horses that would certainly do the job and look pretty doing it but I kept coming back to Goody. I really wanted to ride him again to be certain that I wasn’t misremembering anything (Should have taken notes after every horse) but we were leaving the next morning. Lizzy and I were already sleep deprived so why not wake up at 5am to travel to Goody’s barn for a quick 2nd ride before we headed to the airport? And it was totally worth it. I got to jump him more and confirm that he really was the one for me.
As of yesterday, July 5th, he passed his vet check and today I signed the contract and paid for him! Now comes the excruciating wait for him to be shipped. In the meantime I am enjoying shopping for him. Ordered him a leather halter with his new name engraved on it. I like to let my inner nerd come out in the names I pick for horses, so his new show name is Rogue One and we’ll call him Rebel for short. I’ll keep you all updated with any news about him.
Day two started with rides on our agents personally owned horses or rather horses their business, Sales of Horses, owns. Aridi was the first horse and he is a gorgeous dark bay 17 hand gelding. I was more comfortable this day and jumped horses a little bit higher. After I rode my trainer hopped on him. It starting to become our routine that if I liked a horse my trainer, Lizzy, would ride them after me and put them through more flat work to get a feel of their attitudes and what not.
After our ride on Aridi the rider agent needed to put in training rides on a few of their other sale horses before we headed out to more barns. To keep us busy they let us ride their dressage horse from the same bloodline as Totilas. That was such a treat. I have never ridden dressage and I get to dip my toe in with this towering, powerful, well bred dressage horse. I know I rode him terribly but it was really fun non the less. Total props to all you dressage peeps out there that make it look easy!
Sorry the video is fuzzy.
So we make our way to the next barn where we try 2 horses. The first one, Henne, I wasn’t very impressed with. He did his flatwork with his head up in the air and it was hard for me to see what he would look like in a nice frame. He jumped lovely but it was a little to round for me. Lizzy wanted me to try him because his jumping style was nice and wanted me to see how it felt. I didn’t feel totally comfortable on this horse but I was able to get him to give to the bit. Jumping him was as I thought it would be, to round for my taste (maybe I don’t know what’s good for me?). He was the only horse I rode that I thought I might fall off of. You can see in the video after one jump he started bucking and I had a thought that I was going to come off. Luckily I didn’t and we tried again. The next horse they brought out was an eight year old bay CZWB gelding named Cassidy. Loved him and felt like he would take care of me which he did. During one of the 2 stride attempts I went to grab mane and couldn’t because he was braided but it turned out I really didn’t need the mane. I really just need a horse that will allow me to have more confidence over bigger jumps. The only downside to Cassidy is that he is eight. I really want something 5 or 6 but I liked him so much that we added him to the contenders list which now has 5 horses on it.
Last barn of the day we saw one horse which I can’t remember his name. We watched him go on the flat but there wasn’t any wow factor with him that I was looking for. Lizzy said she liked him and I should give him a try so I did. No complaints with him and out of all the horses we tried he was the only one that didn’t need you to help him find a spot. I got a little hung up on his flat work. I didn’t like his movement very much and I had five horses that I just liked better. But that is how it goes, you get a feeling about it all and you should get a horse that makes you feel excited.
After a long exhausting day of riding we headed back for the inn for some dinner and rest. The next day would be our last and we had 3 more horses to see. Check out the video below for day 2’s rides.
I am back home and recovered from jet lag so it’s time to go through the trip. Shout out to the best husband in the world for video editing for me. To be honest I opened up my laptop and looked at all the video clips that needed to be trimmed and edited together and got overwhelmed and shut the laptop off. That is when my husband intervened and did all the editing for me.
Okay so day one. We made our way to the first barn to see a couple of horses. I got on the first one but didn’t feel comfortable jumping so got off. Rode the second one and really liked him. I went ahead and jumped him and pretty much missed all of my distances. I did get one good one which was not captured on film 😦 I was extremely nervous riding in front of so many people and in a man sized saddle. The saddle was big, flat and slick and I felt very insecure in it but I needed to give it a go. The horse, Aris, was a saint and jumped even though he was probably wondering what the hell was happening. I was told I needed to ride in the German style as the horses are trained that way. Okay so learning how to jump in a different style on the fly with a bunch of people observing was almost debilitating.
When we got to the next barn one of our agents offered to give tips while I rode which I accepted. However, she only spoke Czech so any advice would need to be translated. I figured I would take a jump then come in and get some instruction before trying again but instead I would hear instruction being given on the way to the jump with the english speaking agent trying to translate fast enough. Needless to say it was chaotic. We suggested jumping first then getting advice but I think they misunderstood and ending up sitting quietly while my trainer and I did our thing. It ended up working better that way. With each horse I got more and more comfortable.
I really liked the horse No Fear, he had a cute jumping style and was comfortable. However he had a couple of sarcoid cyst that would need to be removed and even then might grow back so I was pretty bummed about that cause he was great. So while I am bumming on that the next horse comes out, Goody, and he looks great. He is big bodied, bay and has a nice jump. The rider jumps him 1.20 for us and then I hop on. I feel really comfortable on him and take him over some jumps. Again I am finding bad distances but he is just rolling with it. I get him to a particularly bad spot and he just gives it everything and over jumps and we get to the other side (didn’t get that on video). End on a good note with him.
Last barn of the day we see 2 more which I didn’t think would work and didn’t ride them. Then they bring out the third horse and he is a gorgeous dark bay 4 year old stallion. Felt comfortable on him and jumped him around with no problems. This place had more jumps set so it was great to be able to just take him around and jump whatever came up.
At the end of the day I had 3 contenders. Completely exhausted we needed to make a 2.5 hour drive to Brno where we would sleep and see more horses the next day. Enjoy the day one video. I will post about day 2 soon.