“He’s really a jerk,” laughs Taylor Land.
“He’s such a fighter, so he fights for you in the ring. But he also fights with you all the time. He’s the least friendly horse in the stall. When you pick the stall or put a blanket on him, you have to not look him in the eye and kind of run out of the stall.”
The 15-year-old gelding has been in the Land family for 10 years now.
“It’s been his personality his whole life,” continues the 24-year-old. “He really loves going out in the paddock. He goes out all day but when he was really young sometimes you couldn’t get him to come in. He’d stay out for a week. He’s absurd.”
Purchased as a five-year-old, Nepal was trained by Taylor’s father, Jay Land, before she started showing him as a seven-year old. He’s been going back and forth between the two of them and Land’s sister ever since.
“When I went to school, my dad went back to riding him. Then I got out of school. We share him 50/50 now. It just depends on the show and if my dad wants to concentrate on training me,” she says.
What the 2002 Argentine gelding lacks in affectionateness, he makes up for in talent.
Nepal is the horse that captured Land her first Grand Prix victory and took her to the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.
On Saturday, he showed off his winning ways again. The veteran pair beat a field of 50 to capture the $25,000 Upperville Colt and Horse Show 1.40m Jumpers at the CP Palm Beach Masters CSI3* in Wellington, Florida.
“He’s a really special horse for our family. You just don’t get the opportunity to have ones that long. He’s—knock on wood—the soundest horse. He’s had like three months off the whole time we’ve owned him,” says Land. “It’s rare that one can keep going that long and keep jumping that well.”
Just don’t expect Nepal to be lining up for cuddles anytime soon.
“He’s not a pet and he doesn’t care to be a pet,” she laughs. “He doesn’t care to be loved on too much.”
Catch Taylor Land on Nepal’s stablemate, For Edition, tomorrow in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup on palmbeachmasters.com.