People scattered when Zeus arrived at his first horse show last weekend, only to swarm around him later as fans.
“People fell all over him because he was so good,” says owner and rider Kimberly “KC” Compton DiCostanzo. “They thought he was stunning. We had spectators who posed with him for pictures.”
Although he didn’t take first place in his baby-green walk/trot class, his fourth place finish was pretty impressive considering the ex-racehorse only just started working toward a new career this year. ([intlink id=”1371″ type=”post”]Please read about Zeus arriving home[/intlink]).
DiCostanzo, a trainer at Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue in New York, adopted Zeus in January from CANTER New England. Through the spring and summer she has been training him at home, and writing about their progress on her blog Thunder Moon Farm.
What she couldn’t prepare him for in their quiet riding ring were the crowds, judge’s booth, colorful jumps, and commotion of other horses circling in the competition ring.
So when he first stepped out of the trailer onto the busy show grounds at the Tymor Equestrian, he was a little nervous.
Race name: Kinfolk Moonshine
New name: Resilient
Barn name: Zeus
Height: 16.2“It literally took him an hour to 90 minutes after we arrived to calm down,” she says. “And then, it was like a switch flipped and he said, ‘I get it. Where’s the grass?’ He was still very alert and look-y, but the pacing and circling stopped.”
At which point, DiCostanzo decided to tack up and see how he was. “I wasn’t sure I was going to ride him, and considered putting him on a lead line instead to let him soak in the atmosphere.”
But as he calmed down, she grew more comfortable in his ability to handle the distractions and other horses at the Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue Benefit Schooling Show.
Beyond the ribbon, the reward of horse-rider connection made her day.
“I couldn’t believe how focused he became. He really buckled down.”