Glamour Boy looks nothing but brave when he sets foot in the dressage ring, but he needs a little extra comfort in the barn to keep the monsters out.
“We have to dress him in one of those compression blankets; we call it his ‘Superman Suit,’” said Canadian U25 dressage athlete Claire Robinson of Carol Robinson’s 11-year-old gelding.
“He’s like a little kid; you have to dress him up in his outfits so he can fight the monsters all night long.”
But fighting monsters has been the least of the accomplishments Robinson and Glamour Boy have made over the past few years together. Partnered since 2018, Glamour Boy has taken Robinson to the Grand Prix level, something she only dreamed about as a child.
The pair rode to victory in the CDIU25 FEI Intermediate II and the CDIU25 FEI Grand Prix at Desert International Horse Park’s second dressage event of the season, Desert Dressage II.
“Ever since I was a kid, my dream has been to do the Grand Prix,” the 20-year-old continued. “He’s just made my dream come true. This is our second competitive season doing the U25. I’ve learned so much from him. To bring him along from seven-turning-eight has been a journey for sure. I feel like the past year is the first year I feel like we are getting it and getting strong.”
Purchasing the horse was almost an accident, and she had hesitations because she couldn’t get flying changes on him when she tried him. But a mother’s intuition always knows best, and Robinson’s mother, Carol, was the reason the horse came home with them.
“He was the sort of horse that we didn’t mean to buy when we went to the stables looking,” said Robinson of Glamour Boy (Bojengel x Jazz).
“They pulled him out and my mom took me by the arm and said, ‘If you don’t like this one I will get him.’ He was so beautiful and wonderful. There was something about him. I couldn’t get a single flying change on him which was very humbling. But he had a really cool feeling so we brought him back.”
She went a year and a half before she could really nail the flying changes. But they eventually figured it out and took off flying to wins with plenty more on the horizon.
“It probably took a good year and a half. The changes are always the biggest struggle and I’m thankful to have had some amazing coaching from Pia Fortmuller, who was in the Grand Prix division this week,” Robinson, 20, remarked.
“She really gets him as well, so we’re getting his confidence up. If you go and kick him it doesn’t help, so you have to feel the right moment, get him confident, and that’s been the biggest key. You can’t go full Alberta redneck and start kicking!”
Robinson and her team plan to stay in the desert for the remainder of the 2022-2023 season for more dressage events, and she hopes to top the leaderboard yet again in the CDIU25 division. Until then, the pair will keep fighting monsters and dream peacefully about their next trip to the winner’s circle.