He’s a gelding with a Boy-Named-Sue moniker but, his barn name, Reno, is much more “manly.”
Meet Reno, the in-your-pocket Hanoverian owned and ridden by Kimberly Herslow with smooth moves and a winning personality. The 12-year-old gelding (Rosentanz—Wolkentaenzerin, Weltmeyer) recorded Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I wins during the summer of 2015 in Germany at the München-Riem and Achleiten CDIs before helping the U.S. team take gold at the 2015 Pan American Games (Ontario). But then Reno required surgery in early 2016 to remove a cyst from his right stifle joint.
He spent 2016 rehabbing, and returned to work in August. Reno has been out of the spotlight recently, but you’re sure to see him going down center line again soon as his strength and fitness continue to improve.
Herslow bought him from Joseph Brinkemoeller in Germany after looking at about 60 other horses, but when she rode Reno, she knew he was THE one.
“As soon as I rode him for three minutes, I knew that this is the horse,” she said. “I have never felt that confident about trying horses.”
She’s superstitious so she kept his registered name, but the barn name of Reno just popped into her head and stuck.
“It just came to me,” she said. “Reno just fit him.”
Here’s what else you didn’t know about Reno:
• Herslow said “he has moves like Jagger” and his freestyle music, created by Terry Ciotti Gallo, features the hit song with the rift by Maroon 5.
• He’s like an equine divining rod. After his workout, he’s a water-seeking missile, impatiently waiting for one to two BIG buckets of water.
“When he’s in the wash stall and you take his bridle off, he really wants his bucket of water,” she said. “He searches for it and dives in.”
• “He does a twirly nose thing in the crossties where he rotates his nose in circle,” she said. “He’s in happy mode.”
This is abated, although momentarily, by his favorite treat, bananas. Then, it’s back to twirling.
• Robert Dover, chef d’equipe for the U.S. Dressage Team, calls the bond between Herslow and Reno “a love story, for sure.” Reno doles out lots of affection to his mom, including licks and hugs.
“He’ll put his head on your shoulder and give hugs,” Herslow said, adding that he is more canine than equine. “He’s an attention hound. He’s like a big, black Lab. If he could climb in your lap, he would.”
• Instead of bellying up to the bar, Reno booties up to the bar. When given the opportunity, he likes to back up to a butt bar and sit on it.
“He puts his butt up and perches,” Herslow said. “And it’s so big, that the bar goes, ‘Oh my gosh.’”
Herslow keeps extra butt bars on hand.
• Reno and Herslow engage in a multi-sensory pre-show experience. While she does her own braiding before a show, she puts on some upbeat music.
“I get focused on what I want it to look like and feel like and I ride that,” she said. “We get zoned out in the braiding process; he gets zoned out too. It’s this whole process. After I braid, I use some essential oils, put them on my hands and I rub them and then we both breathe in the oils and I rub his face, his ears and shoulders.”
• Herslow uses Highest Potential, Envision, Harmony and, sometimes, White Angelica essential oils.
“Once we are in the zone, it doesn’t matter what happens outside the ring,” she said.
• Reno is allergic to sweat, so Herslow uses fleece to protect his skin from getting irritated.
• Reno is a thinker. He processes the day’s work and uses that information for tomorrow.
“When I’m trying to work on something, he goes back to his stall and thinks about it and, the next day, he’s got it,” she said. “He knows exactly what you want every time. It’s there.”