Jonathan Holling & Ragtime Rebel

Ragtime Rebel’s Show Jumping Dress Rehearsal
August 16, 2019

Photo by Lisa Madren

Photo by Lisa Madren

“We are in the count down to Rebel’s next recognized horse trial. He heads out to the Ocala Horse trials on August 17 and 18th. So with that in mind we took Rebel over to jump around at Chris Barnard and Justine Dutton’s Nottinghill jumper show.

It was a great experience for Rebel. His first course was pretty good but he was a little tight and nervous. The great part about taking these young horses like Rebel to the jumper shows is that you can go in and jump multiple rounds. So after his first trip around, Rebel and I patiently waited for our second course. As luck would have it during that break that the neighbors across the street decided it was time to breeze their Thoroughbred on the track.

Poor Rebel hardly knew what to do with himself. The flashback was almost too much for his little 5-year-old self to handle. However, after he was informed that he would not in fact be going out for a race around the track, he actually put in an even better second course. He gave me pretty consistent jumping efforts and tried his hardest to make good shapes over the jumps. I did get one cannonball over the oxer before the double of verticals, and then at the butterflies of doom, just two fences from the finish, we had an unfortunate rail.

All in all I was really pleased with his effort all day. Here is the video from Rebel’s second round. Wish us luck at the Horse Trial!” — Jon Holling

Ocala Horse Trials, June 1-2, 2019
6th place in Open Novice-A
32.90, double clear in cross country and show jumping

“He did it! Rebel just finished his first recognized event and did it in style! If you recall from last time he did an unrecognized event about a month ago. At the event he was good but nervous. Well the maturity of this horse is remarkable to say the least. The truth is you never know how a horse handles their first experience at a competition until you take them again. So we went to the event hopeful but unsure how Rebel would react. Dressage warmup was a breeze this time around. He was able to go right to work and even took a little walk break on a long rein. The show jumping warmup and course were relaxed as could be and a joy to ride. My biggest concern was the start box. At the schooling event he walked in completely unaware of what was about to happen and relatively relaxed. I wondered if this time he would figure out that he was about to gallop around the cross country and get unmanageable. He walked in, hung out like a pro, and casually cantered out to fence one. I won’t say he was quiet around the course - he did pull like a freight train to the jumps. However, even that was a joy because he was pulling me to the jumps not around them. All in all I could not be more proud!” — Jon Holling

Photo by Lisa Madren

Photo by Lisa Madren

May 12, 2019
Jon & Rebel’s First Show

“What a great start to Rebel’s eventing career! We started the day with a 9:45 departure for Rebel and his barn-mate Archie. Rebel has been on the trailer before and is generally really good; however he was a bit confused about the traditional coffee stop at the Circle K gas station. Once I explained things to him and gave him a taste of my apple fritter he decided that part was okay. Probably the most exciting part of the day was the dressage warmup. Rebel was absolutely certain we were there to race. He looked everywhere for the track and the starting gates. It’s interesting because, as I have said in the past, we have a really busy farm. I mean REALLY busy, but nothing is like the real thing. Going someplace new and being expected to behave and focus is always a tough lesson for the horses to learn. Keeping that in mind, he actually put in a pretty good test, and I was very pleased with him. Next up was the show jumping. When I say that he was great it really doesn’t do it service. He was an absolute professional all the way around the course. We did have one unfortunate rail into the last combination but I guess I will forgive him that one mistake. Truthfully, I could have ridden the line better so I will take half the blame. When I walked cross country the one thing that concerned me the most was the ditch. It was a huge ditch for a horse’s first novice and he has had a few peeks at our ditches here at home. Overall the course rode great. Rebel switched on and jumped all of the fences like a champ. When we got to the coffin and had to jump the ditch I rode it very aggressively.  Well, I didn’t need to do that! He grabbed the bit and pulled me to the ditch and then proceeded to jump it like he had already been around the advanced track. So now that you have read all of that I can say that the short version is that Rebel was great! He tried his giant heart out for me and I am so excited for the years to come. Go Rebel!” — Jon Holling


May 1, 2019

"Hello everyone, I thought it was probably time for another update on Rebel. We are less than two weeks away from his first real outing. That’s right, on May 11th Rebel is going to his first competition. He is entered in the novice three phase at the Florida Horse Park's schooling event. To say that we are excited is an understatement! Rebel is going great at home and his progress has actually been pretty remarkable. The jumping is going great. He is schooling full courses in the show jumping and Cross Country. He is really sharp so occasionally things do catch his eye. For some reason it tends to be things on his right side. In the dressage he is working on leg yield, shoulder in, counter canter, and for the most part is able to stay connected and lovely to ride. He has had some issues staying focused when things change at home. That isn’t unusual for young horses and again it’s more when he sees things out of his demon eye on the right side! We have just finished his dressage school for the day where he was a little nervous about the chestnut horse schooling in the mirror every time we rode past! I decided to spend a little time letting them get to know each other. I think they came to an understanding.

"Finally, seeing as everything in today’s modern world has to be said in public on social media, I want to wish Rebel a very happy fifth birthday! I have told him in person, but you know how kids are with technology. If he doesn’t read it online it’s like I never said it." — Jon Holling

Happy Birthday Rebel! 🎂🐴


April 10, 2019
Rebel Jumping at Home

Rebel has been doing great. We have made the big commitment and penciled in his first competition!  He is scheduled to do a schooling event at The Florida Horse Park in mid-May. Of course with young horses one never knows, but for now things are great and he is on track. — Jon Holling

February 20, 2019
Rebel’s First Cross Country Field Trip

Rebel had another exciting week here in Ocala. The progress at home has been very steady. The dressage is coming along nicely, and his jumping technique is steadily improving. Being a thoroughbred he does have the tendency to want to “get away” from the jumps on landing. While that is super helpful on cross country to make the time, it does tend to make show jumping a little tricky sometimes. I find that spending the time when the horses are young working on gymnastics really improves this. So to that end we have been doing gymnastics once or twice a week. The progress in his technique has been remarkable. In fact he has been so good that I decided to do what every good event rider would do....GO CROSS COUNTRY!!  Rebel got to take his first field trip off the farm on Wednesday. We went over to Barnstaple south and used their fabulous new cross country field. It is really cool taking a thoroughbred that has raced out for their first trip. One of two things usually happens, either they assume they are at the track and get pumped to run, or they take a breath realize they have arrived at work and put their head down in preparation for their job. I am happy to report that Rebel was all business. He went right to work and aside from a green moment or two at the first couple of jumps, he did everything that was asked of him. All in all it was a great first trip. I wonder how long it will  be until his first event? — Jon Holling

January 30, 2019
Rebel Update and Jump School

Rebel is making steady progress in his training. We have had excessive amounts of rain here in Ocala this winter. Because of this I have had to run my water pump in an effort to drain our water jump. Keeping track of the young horses and the things they can and cannot deal with is always interesting. Rebel is pretty good with visual distractions and has been relatively easy to keep focused while things are going on. However, the loud gas-powered pump was nearly my undoing the other day. Poor Rebel went out to the back field and proceeded to fall all over himself for about the first fifteen minutes of his schooling session. He was absolutely terrified of the loud sound coming from the water jump on the other side of the field. In the end we were able to get some decent work in, and over the following couple of days he has gotten used to the noise. So, I have made my mental note that he is nervous about sounds. Fortunately I don’t expect a lot of water pumps running at events in his future. But who knows?! — Jon Holling

January 16, 2019
Rebel’s Training Update PLUS a Spa day

This was a big week for Rebel. I have been very careful to be certain that the trajectory of his training stays positive. Because of this he has remained here at home for all of his training. This idea wouldn’t work at most places but we are very lucky to have access to a full cross country course, two full show jumping courses and an a covered dressage arena. One additional benefit is that we have a lot of traffic, both vehicles and horses, in and out of the farm on a regular basis. So the truth is that Rebel has been anything but protected from life. This week Rebel had his second cross country school and was an absolute dream. He graduated from the logs of week one to small tables and coops. He ran through the water, jumped a ditch, and hopped up and down our banks. I expect a field trip within the next month. Oh ya one more thing, Rebel has his first salon day and got this great new hair cut! Isn’t he handsome? — Jon Holling


January 3, 2019
Jon and Rebel, 1st School in the Grand Prix Jump Field

With the holiday season behind us, things here at Willow Run are starting to return to the normal pace of craziness that comes with Ocala in the winter. This week our newest team member Ragtime Rebel had his first opportunity to jump in our Grand Prix field. Here he is in his first trip around looking like a seasoned horse. We are very excited with the progress Rebel is making and are looking forward to him making a venture off the farm in the coming weeks. Thanks to the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center for finding and starting such a great young horse, and to his amazing group of owners for supporting him. — Jon Holling

December 13, 2018
Jon and Rebel, 1st Cross Country School

December 5, 2018
Jon and Rebel, 2nd Jump School

November 28, 2018
Jon and Rebel, 1st Jump School

About Jonathan Holling

(From the December 2017 issue of Practical Horseman.)

Were it not for his parents’ sense of joie de vivre, Jonathan Holling might never have become an eventing professional.

Growing up in the suburbs north of Milwaukee, Jonathan rode casually in 4-H, competing in Western, English, jumping and gymkhana speed classes on the same Arabian-Quarter Horse cross. When his mother decided to open a small business, “she debated between getting a boutique and a stable. My dad decided a stable would be a lot more fun,” Jonathan said. “That is where I got my first taste of what it might be like to be a professional.”

At 14, Jonathan switched to eventing and began training with Anne Jennings. After high school, he moved to Toronto to train with Peter Gray, at the time the coach for the Canadian Olympic team. At 23, he returned to Milwaukee to open his own business. Jonathan has trained with David O’Connor and Leslie Law and is a well-known CCI**** level rider and trainer. He has competed at top international events, including the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and the World Cup Eventing Finals in Malmö, Sweden. In 2012, he won the Volvo Bromont CCI*** and was a member of the 2012 Nations Cup Team at Boekelo in the Netherlands.

Jonathan currently sits on the U.S. Equestrian Federation Eventing Sport Committee and chairs the Cross-Country Safety Task Force for the U.S. Eventing Association. He runs Holling Eventing at Willow Run Farm in Ocala, Florida, with his wife, Jennifer.

About Ragtime Rebel

Barn Name: Rebel
Owners: The Rebel Restart Syndicate
Date of Birth: May 1, 2014
Gender: Gelding
Height: 16.2h
Sire: Union Rags
Dam: A.P. Elegance by A.P. Indy
Race Record: 9-1-0-0
Date of Last Race: 4/25/18
Earnings: $13,934

See 5x pedigree at Equineline

Rebel is super intelligent and level-headed. He has a good, kind eye. He is a lovely mover. He’s got the tools to collect and expand at the canter. He has an impressive, balanced jump. And the MMSC has done a wonderful job of restarting him.
— Jon Holling

Jon Riding Rebel for the 1st time at the MMSC