Beter Late Thn Never

October 18th, 2017 12:30 PM | No Comments
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Tiina Volmer and Beter Late Thn Never Celebrate their Congress Championship win.

The Journey to a Congress Championship

By Robyn Duplisea

Yesterday Congress goers had the opportunity to witness not only a beautiful ride but the culmination of many people’s dreams.

Beter Late Thn Never and Tiina Volmer trotted into the pen in the Limited Non Pro Hunter under Saddle Maturity with the hopes and dreams of many carrying them around the ring.  “Rainman” and Volmer showed with extra grace at this show to

come out on top of a tough class filled with multiple World champions.

Volmer, a DIY Amateur purchased Rainman as a three year old from Soderberg Quarter Horses in Alberta, Canada.  Sired by Ok Im Invited and out of a Thoroughbred mare, Rainman was special from

birth.  Lindsay Soderberg Geiger exclaimed that day that “the most beautiful hunt seat baby had just been born” and looking at the photos we had to agree.

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“Rainman” as a baby at Soderberg Quarter Horses

 

Rainman was a personal favorite at Soderberg Quarter Horses. As a yearling and 2YO Lindsay and her Dad, Leading AQHA Breeder and respected AQHA Judge Sheldon Soderberg both felt this colt was special.

“Tiina messaged me in the summer of 2015 casually looking for a new horse.” Shared Geiger “ I didn’t want to sell him, but thought I’d send her a little clip of Rainman and see what she thought of him.  Of course, she absolutely loved him. That big gangly colt had something really special about him.”

Lindsay and Tiina had a long history of showing together as Amateurs before Lindsay turned professional.  “My Dad and I both thought the world of Tiina. I specifically remember him saying ‘Tiina is such a great rider, I’d sure love to have her on one of our horses!’”  flash forward about 10 years and now Volmer was looking for a new horse.

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Always the farm favorite – Rainman with Sheldon Soderberg

“Unfortunately Dad wasn’t around, he had passed away from cancer earlier that spring. From the moment Rainman was born, he was the farm fave, especially Dads.” Shares Geiger  ”At the time Tiina contacted me , I was pregnant with my son Shade.  Due to complications I wasn’t able to ride anymore, so Rainman was just hanging out doing nothing.  At first I told her I would sell him… But then I had second thoughts because of the emotional attachment I had to him”

“I heard my Dads voice saying ‘sell that darn horse to Tiina!!’. I knew if he was around, that would be exactly what he would want” Remembers Geiger.

Tiina bought Rainman sight unseen and had him loaded up and shipped from Alberta to Texas.  This is where Rainman’s  journey with  Volmer began.  Rainman struggled with the trip and arrived in rough shape. He was skinny, gaunt and looked like he had made the 2000 mile journey on hoof, the fact he was in a major growth spurt didn’t help the issue.

Once Rainman returned to the condition he needed to be in to begin building a partnership, he and Volmer got to work. It wasn’t always easy and there was an “aweful” stage for about a year when Volmer doubted herself and Rainman, but she had people surrounding her that never did.

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Helle Volmer always believed in Rainman.

While Volmer had a few doubts about Rainman at this point her mother Helle never did.  Tiina’s sister Leena shared “We were not too sure Rainman was going to make it, but mom always said he would make a great horse!”  Sadly the Volmer sisters lost their mother earlier this year.  “Mom knew what she was talking about, we’re not sure how we will ever buy a horse again without her!”

The partnership between Tiina and Rainman grew over the years and Volmer took her time in developing Rainman. She did not push him for his four year old year and really started to show more with Rainman in 2017.  Volmer was thrilled with how he has come into his own. In only six circuits in 2017  “Rainman Qualified in everything I wanted HUS, Eq, Horsemanship and Showmanship also level 2 Jr. HUS.” Shared Tiina “ Every show he gets more and more broke” and clearly this Congress he stepped up and showed like a big boy!

Though when Volmer and Beter Late Thn Never arrived in Ohio on Friday she wasn’t sure they would be showing. “Rainman came off the trailer with a 103 temp and sat in his stall for 2 days to break his fever. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to show.”

“He has such a great heart and tries so hard he pulled through”  Shared Volmer.

When Rainman and Tiina trotted in to the Celeste they had a cheering section from near and far. Lindsay Soderberg Geiger and all those who knew Rainman in Alberta  watched in awe, Tiina’s sister cheered from her laptop and Volmer’s partner Tim Kimura cheered her in person in Ohio. What we couldn’t see was the conversation between Sheldon Soderberg and Helle Volmer in Heaven, as the horse they both always believed in proved them right.

“This is the first Congress my mom was watching and cheering us on from heaven.” Shared Volmer “This win is for you Mom “

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Beter Late Thn Never enjoying his Congress win. Photo by Tim Kimura

“So many tears were shed after and during his big win yesterday!”  Shared Geiger  “ My Dad and Tiina’s parents had to have been the happiest crew in Heaven.  In all the sadness we’ve had the past few years, this special horse has brought us all so much happiness! It truly was fate. “ 

“We are so proud of Tiina and Rainman! Tiina has done such a phenomenal job with him! It’s a dream come true for all of us involved”

“He is definitely a character.” explained Volmer “I was not too keen on the name Rainman when he arrived, but it definitely suits his personality and he is definitely a ‘Rainman’.  When he grabbed the ribbon it was very typical-he has chewed the pads in the trailer, my showmanship lead in half, numerous fan cords, jackets, sweaters, reins. I pick my battles and as long as he pulls through when needed I let it go. I love to show but I also love having my horses as pets. Sometimes it’s kinda cute and sometimes it can be expensive.”

As Rainman tried to eat his ribbon in the awards presentation I was reminded that these are the stories from a show like Congress that make us realize the winners are not that different than the rest of us. They have doubts, they struggle and they persevere.  In the end, with a lot of hard work, a little faith and some special people to cheer you on you never know what can happen and it is always,  Beter Late Thn Never.

 

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