When Edie Urbasik suggested that her preteen daughter ride Tall Glass, a quick-to-the-jumps ex-racehorse, the startled young lady was just as quick to say no.
“I thought she was crazy,” says 12-year-old Kayla Urbasik. “That horse was so hot, and I just couldn’t see it.”
But last June, after the spirited Thoroughbred’s previous rider stopped riding him, Kayla decided to at least give her mother’s advice a try.
And as the pair started lessons with Coach Lauren Camara, a funny thing happened; the one-time speed-demon of an animal, who once raced toward jumps like a spirited Jumper, chilled out.
“When I first started jumping him, and he was hot, and when he’d see the jump, he’d speed up,” Kayla says. “Then he started waiting a few strides before he sped up.”
Soon Tall Glass was jumping rhythmically like a fat Warmblood Hunter.
“The other day I jumped a 2-foot-6 vertical and my reins were so loose the entire time,” she adds. “He just trotted up to it and went right over.”
Says the elder Urbasik, “A friend of mine, who’s a judge, always told me that (Tall Glass) didn’t want to be a Jumper, that my horse was really a Hunter,” she says. “Now I really believe it!”
Never was his newfound mellow approach on display as much as it was this past November; it would be his proudest moment, thus far.
The big bay ex-racehorse and Kayla represented the Thoroughbred breed at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. The guests of both Long Run Thoroughbred Retirement, where Tall Glass was purchased, and the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, the now unflappable racehorse proved to be so calm under the florescent lights of the cavernous indoor hall, that he would fall asleep in his makeshift stall while dozens of admirers crowded around.
And while other horses might be startled by the cacophony of the crowds— as pizza vendors and machinery made a ruckus – Tall Glass was positively blasé.
He walked, trotted, and cantered obligingly for onlookers during several demonstrations with Kayla.
Says the proud Mom, “He went out like a rock star, with pizzeria and noise and shopping in the background— he didn’t care,” Urbasik says. He would stop on cue, as Kayla, sitting atop her fine representation of a Thoroughbred, would speak into a microphone, answering questions.
“I was so proud.”
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