This one is from back in my working student days. Rainbow Crossing “Rain”, as he was called in the barn, was a bay off the track thoroughbred. Rain was by the sire Valley Crossing. He only had two starts as a racehorse (both were unsuccessful).
All About Rain
Rain was a BIG bay gelding, probably around 17 hands. I don’t recall that he had any white on his face. It’s been a long time though, so don’t hold me to that. Rain was young when I met him, probably only 4 or 5.
He was an impressive horse to look at. Not because of flashy markings. Just the way he was built was cool. Rain had huge high withers and nice, long sloping shoulders. He wasn’t a real broad horse in the chest. I’d say he was about average there. His back was medium in length, nice and proportionate to his body. His haunches were huge, it just took a quick glimpse to imagine how powerful he could be. Those strong hindquarters and nice uphill build is a sure sign of athleticism.
His legs were kind of long and lanky. The legs are what made it obvious he was a thoroughbred. If he would have shorter or courses legs I think he would easily be mistaken for a warmblood or warmblood cross.
The Expression Didn’t Really Match The Body
Rain was a big beast of a horse. His head was very refined though. Almost had a slight dishy look to it, which made for a real classy face. My favorite thing was that he always had this playful look in his eye. Sort of like he was a foal that was somehow in this huge giant body.
Being Rain’s Groom
Since I was a working student I was Rain’s groom. I tacked him and untacked him for his training sessions, made sure he was cooled out properly. Rain was a horse that didn’t seem to mind having to work. Also, he seemed to really enjoy being messed with. He liked getting a lot of attention.
When I was a working student I was a groom for more horses than I can count. They were all unique in their own way. Rain was one of my favorites though. When I think about horses from that part of my life his face pops into my head!
He Was For Sale
I was working in a training barn, so Rain, like most of the other horses were in a regular training program. Getting ridden during the week and traveling around to competitions on weekends.
His powerful uphill build got him good dressage scores, and as I mentioned he was such a cool jumper. When I took care of him it was at the beginner of his career as an eventer. He started out at novice level and I believe he may have moved up to training before he was sold. Again, don’t hold me to that, I could be remembering wrong.
What I Learned From My Time With Rain
I had seen pictures and videos of horses free jumping but had never seen it in person. Part of the advertisement videos that we made for the horses for sale was of free jumping the horse.
Starting over small jumps, and as they gain confidence and find their stride you can raise the jumps higher. It truly is the best judge of a horses natural jumping ability because the horse is not inhibited by the rider in any way.
We have to face the facts, sometimes we get in the horse’s way! We are unbalanced and it makes them unbalanced. Or we relay our tension and apprehension about the jumps to them.
Without the factor of a rider to mess them up, it really was incredible to see how the horses jumped. How they used their bodies without humans and tack getting in the way.
You could also tell by free lunging whether the horse seemed to enjoy jumping. Does he get more confident as he goes? Or is he scared?
I did not know anything about free jumping and the advantages of it until Rain. After Rain, I saw many horses free jump, but he was the first one I had seen do it in person.
What Suspension Really Feels Like
I got to ride the horses that I groomed, well most of them, from time to time. Either in a lesson or out on a hack, I would sometimes ride the training horses.
I understood in theory what suspension means. It is the horse pushing from behind, lifting his back, elevating his withers and getting light in the front end. A horse with a lot of suspension will feel like he is flinging you out of the saddle at a posting trot and the canter transitions were very easy to get left behind on.
I remember riding Rain, the first time thinking ” holy crap I love this horse but I can’t ride him worth a s**t”. He had so much power and lift in his movement that I felt like I could hardly keep myself on! Rain was very tolerant of me trying to figure out how to follow his movements. I’m sure I whacked him in the mouth at least once or twice! It was a proud day that I could sit Rain’s trot in a dressage saddle and do a canter transitions without feeling like I was being launched into outer space.
So Many Different Career Paths For A Horse
Rain was advertised as an event horse and was competing in eventing competitions while he was in training. That being said, I expected that all the riders who came to try him would be event riders. Pretty skilled ones probably since he was such a big strong horse with great athletic potential.
It was to my surprise that one of the very first people to come try out Rain was a steeplechase trainer. I had never considered that a horse that didn’t succeed flat racing, might be a good candidate for steeplechasing. I really didn’t know a lot about steeplechasing, I still don’t. All I know is that the horses are fast and the jumps are big!
The trainer watched Rain go on the flat and then watched him pop a couple of low fences. He got on meaning business, cantered Rain around a bit and then said for us to raise the jumps. I know that Rain had not jumped that high before, I knew he could physically do it, but I almost closed my eyes because I didn’t know if he would be brave enough. It seemed like the bigger the jump the better he went.
The steeplechase trainer did not end up buying Rain. It was really cool to see him ride Rain and learning experience since that was the first time I ever considered that steeplechasing could be a second career for a failed racehorse.
Rain Went Out On Trial
I have no recollection of the rider who took Rain on trial. I’m pretty sure they were planning on using him as an eventer and for foxhunting. I don’t remember anything at all about their trial ride on him. I may not have even been there. The next day when I got to the barn, Rain was gone. I found out that the person who rode him did like him and decided to take him home on trial.
Another thing I don’t remember was why they didn’t end up wanting him after all. I do remember though, that when he came back he was sick. I almost think he may have had strangles, I could be wrong about that, it was a long time ago. Needless to say, he had a fever, dull eyes, no appetite and nasty discharge from his nostrils. We had to keep him separated from all the other horses in hopes that he wouldn’t share his germs.
Rain got the medical attention he needed and was well again pretty quickly. Luckily, I don’t remember any of the other horses getting sick.
I had never really thought much about letting a horse that was for sale go on trial. At that point, I had no opinion of if it was a good or bad idea.
Disadvantages Of Sending A Horse On Trial
Now I can see the pros and cons of allowing a horse for sale to go on trial. I also know the importance of making sure you know where they are going and what they will be exposed to. As well as the importance of quarantine period when he came back. We could tell he was sick when he got back, so he didn’t get thrown back out into his regular herd. If he hadn’t been showing symptoms he probably would have been and then we would have potentially had a whole bunch of sick horses.
This caused a brief delay in Rain going back up for sale. It wasn’t long though and he was good as new.
The Last Thing I Learned From Rain
Seeing Rain progress in his training, riding him and watching him at competitions was a great experience. I took from that experience that a well trained super athletic horse needs to have a rider with the same skills to succeed and excel.
I had fun when I got to ride him, but can admit with no problem he was way too much horse for me. He needed a rider with as much confidence and skill as he had learned to have.
Just because you can afford a big fancy horse doesn’t mean that you can ride one!
“The Great and Powerful Rainbow Crossing”
I have no idea why, but for some reason one day I called Rain ” The great and powerful Rainbow Crossing”. It was a pretty appropriate description of him.
“The great and powerful rainbow crossing” was a horse that I really enjoyed my time with and learned a lot of lessons from. I do not know who ended up with Rain or how he did in his career.
I Hope He Found A Great Home That Appreciated Him
Whoever ended up with him was very lucky. He was a cool horse and had the potential to take the right rider a long way in their riding career. My main wish for Rain, was that whoever bought him would not only buy him for his athletic ability but also because they saw that he had a special personality.
I Never Forget A Horse!
I never forget a horse, and I most definitely will never forget “The Great and Powerful Rainbow Crossing”.