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2009 would prove to be an important year for RZ, as he continued up the levels of the eventing ladder. He and Nicolette moved up to Training Level in Aiken during the winter of 2009 and enjoyed success whenever they competed. RZ was also becoming a favorite around the barn and

with the trainers who worked with him over the year. “Marcia Carabell, Nicolette’s trainer, has always liked him and really helped Nikki with her dressage,” Rosemarie says. “Nikki also trains with a Virginia-based hunter-jumper trainer, Jean Dunford, and they decided to spend some more time in the jumper ring with both RZ and Foxy. This is where RZ excels. He is bred to jump. He has a half-brother, Hildon Premier CRU, who was in the top ten at the Sidney Olympics. Over the summer, Nicolette showed him in the low adult amateur jumpers at HITS Culpeper. In tough competition, he was jumping well and picking up ribbons.” As the year drew on, Rosemarie and Nicolette

reluctantly realized that RZ just wasn’t likely to move up to the highest levels of eventing. “Throughout his career we realized that he was not really upper level material,” Rosemarie says. “Nicolette trained him from basic breaking to schooling around a Preliminary course. While he is scopey, he is never going to find it easy to make the distances at Preliminary. At 15.3 and with an Arabian mother, he is never going to have the stride to handle complicated combinations. We decided in the fall of 2009 to put him and his fellow PMUer, M-S Reddy Fox up for sale. We sent them both to Courtney Cooper at C Square Farm and she had them both sold within two weeks.” Although it was difficult for the Merle-Smith’s to part with RZ, they knew that he would be moving on to a great new home. “It is hard to part with a horse you have known since he was three months old but we feel more like foster parents placing a talented youngster in a loving, stable home.“


RZ’s new home would be with a very successful Boston, Massachusetts dentist named Jill Smith. Jill, who had ridden as a child, was looking for a new eventing partner to replace her aging mount. Along with her trainer, Jill took a two-day trip to

Pennsylvania and Virginia to look at prospects. RZ was one of twenty-two horses that Jill pre-screened and tried during her trip, but he was the one that stood out in her mind as she returned to Massachusetts. “Something about him had me intrigued from the moment he walked out of the barn,” Jill says. “I’m not sure if it was his white feet or the way he carried his tail, but, as they say in Jerry Maguire, ‘He had me at hello’.” After testing the flashy gelding out, Jill knew that he

22 May/June 2010

Corinne Ashton and RZ compete at Paradise Farm Horse Trials.

Photos by Mark Lehner

was going to be her new event horse. “He is sensitive to the aids and has very comfortable gaits. He is a confident, smooth jumper with an adjustable stride. As an adult amateur, he seemed a perfect match for me.” Late last year, RZ arrived in Massachusetts. Ironically, Jill had no idea that her new partner was a PMU foal. “I was amazed to hear that RZ had that background because I had researched his background. His sire is an impressive Oldenburg from the ‘Z’ lineage. I used to be under the impression that PMU foals were a by-product of this pharmaceutical process and were often mass-produced and discarded with very little value. He is the exact opposite of that.”


For both RZ and Jill, 2010 marks the start of a new partnership and a new eventing career. “As an adult amateur just getting back into riding after many years due to family and career obligations, I am wading back into eventing slowly at the Beginner Novice level,” Jill explains. “RZ and I train with four- star eventer Corinne Ashton and I know she has big plans for us. My nine year old daughter Lilly is convinced that I am just training him for her to compete some day!” Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60
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