A big event like the Kentucky Reining Cup, which served as the trial to make the U.S. Reining Team for the World Equestrian Games, is certain to test a horse. But sometimes the biggest test comes before the event even starts.
That's how it went for team member Jordan Larson and his flashy stallion, HF Mobster.
A Long Haul
On the 16-hour trailer ride to Lexington, Jordan notes that Mobster drank well and seemed to manage the trip without incident. It was about six hours after arriving at Kentucky Horse Park that the buckskin stud's condition took a turn for the worse.
"He had a fever of about 102 degrees, and it just got worse," Jordan recalls. "We couldn't give him Banamine, due to FEI rules, so we got him really hydrated and let him rest; the vets did a great job caring for him. He wound up being fine 24 hours later, but I had to take it real easy on him riding."
Once Mobster, a horse Jordan has shown the stallion's entire career, was out of the woods in terms of his health, Jordan had little concern about how the horse would perform.
Keeping the Faith
"I know this horse real well," Jordan says. "I have complete confidence in him. He does everything with good intentions and the right motivations, so I knew I could trust that he'd perform, even after the fever."
In the first round, when the pair marked a 223, Jordan admits he was nervous, but more about his own abilities than the horse's. When they showed in the second round, Jordan was sure he had himself and his horse ready to perform, and proved it by marking a 225.
Getting Ready for WEG
Jordan doesn't have concerns about Mobster coping with the travel to Normandy, France, for the World Equestrian Games. In fact, he thinks it'll be easier for the horse to travel by plane than it was on a trailer.
"He'll have a groom and a vet right there with him on the plane," Jordan states. "He'll have access to water the entire time, and they'll take good care of him. We'll also get there ahead of time to let the horses recover from any problems associated with the travel."
As far as preparing himself, Jordan says he wants to remain "in the moment," so he can take it all in and appreciate his spot on the team.
"It's a really big deal, on a personal scale, to make the team," he shares. "And it's big for the horse and his owners, too. It's a huge opportunity to represent our country and our sport internationally. Not to mention that reiners don't get to compete on teams—we usually compete against each other.
"I also think it'll be a great opportunity for Mobster," he continues. "Anyone who's around him falls in love with him—and not just for how he performs, but what a great horse he is to be around. He's just a great horse."
Thanks to Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots for their sponsorship of our coverage of the Kentucky Reining Cup.