September 2019 - Feedlot to Show Ring

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Rescued pony is not just a number anymore.

by Hailey Esses

Cup of Tea, also known as “Ravioli,” has gone from only a number, 9432, to a superstar. He was an auction pony from the North Texas Feedlot, but he is now is a champion show pony.

 

Without knowing anything about his background, Elvenstar Regional Training Manager, Becky Abeita rescued the 14.1hh, 8-year-old roan gelding after viewing a video of him. Ravioli came to Elvenstar Moorpark, founded and owned by Head Coach and Instructor James Hagman, on May 23, of this year.

 

Becky previously rescued five other horses and ponies from the feedlot, including Newt, Ramen, Chipotle, Poppy, and Miso.

Ravioli in Texas.

Becky is motivated to rescue horses because she believes that even though a horse is no longer useful to someone else, that should not condemn them to slaughter. “A useful horse doesn’t need a passport from Europe.”

According to Becky, he acclimated easily to his new surroundings, and his quiet demeanor fit in well. Although he lost weight on his trip to Elvenstar from the feedlot, he was able to put it back on easily with proper nutrition. In addition, his hooves needed trimming.

Ravioli after getting off of the trailer from the feedlot.

When Ravioli came to Elvenstar, he already knew the basics of walking, trotting, and cantering, and he learned the arena work quickly. He was eager to learn and please the rider. Ava Curtain, a rider at Elvenstar, helped train him on the flat and over fences with guidance and training from Becky.  According to Ava, he was most likely not familiar with the English discipline, but he was easier to train than other inexperienced horses.

 

 

Ravioli getting groomed at Elvenstar.

“From the beginning, he already showed confidence in  jumping and raw talent so what we really needed to work on was his flat work because that is the foundation of jumping,” Ava says.

Ava worked with Ravioli on transitions from walk to canter and from canter to trot in order to build up his muscles and also to help him become accustomed to transitions. She practiced putting him in a frame to help develop his neck muscles, and he caught on quickly. Additionally, she trained him to move his haunches so he would become more flexible with lateral work. This will also help him become set-up for lead changes, which they are still working on.  Ravioli does not spook and will jump the scary jumps, according to Becky. “He is super kind, very willing, and has a great attitude.”

Ravioli and Grace - Champions at the Elvenstar horse show.

Show Ring Debut

Ravioli is half-leased by 11-year-old Grace Curley at Elvenstar. She has been riding him since the beginning of July when she rode him at the Elvenstar Pony Camp. They have two shows under their belt.

Their first horse show, his first show ever, was at Elvenstar on July 14, and they were champion in the walk-trot division. It was her first champion ribbon as well as Ravioli’s first champion ribbon.  They received two firsts, a second, a third, and a fourth place ribbon. She was surprised that they did so well as it was his first horse show, and she said that he was not afraid of anything.  They also showed in the Gold Coast July show at Los Angeles Equestrian Center in the cross rail division, which was his first away horse show.  They received three six place ribbons. Their next show will be the Gold Coast Labor Day show at Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Ravioli and Grace Curley in pony camp.

Grace has been riding for four years and jumped her first oxer jump on Ravioli. She loves riding him, especially jumping oxers and verticals. His favorite treat is watermelon. He has a small habit of being a little gate stubborn, but other than that he is a very good pony. “I like that he is consistent so I know what to expect,” Grace says.

Becky hopes that Grace will move up to more advanced divisions at horse shows at the end of the year. After Ravioli gets more experience in and out of the show ring, Becky expects him to show in the regional rated pony division. “Ravioli is a great addition to Elvenstar’s school horse program, and we expect him to teach lots of kids for many years,” Becky says.