We have had some amazing horses in our lives – some were my personal mounts, some were lesson horses that took care of young and inexperienced riders. Some came to us after having loving homes before we got them, others were rescues from bad circumstances. We will never forget these horses and want to have them remembered here… I am in the process of collecting pictures of these horses – some of them were before the days of digital photography,
Norman was originally rescued at auction by his previous owner. He was born to a PMU farm mother, and was considered a waste product of the process. He was a Belgian crossed with a quarter horse – very typical breeding for PMU farms.
Beth took him as a weanling and raised him to learn the ropes of being ariding horse. At 5 years old I was asked to come teach the green horse how to do basic dressage and jumping. I did my job with Norman and he went on with his family to do many other things, and returned to my life as a teenager when the adult daughter was no longer riding him. I took him as a lease situation for several years, and when Beth asked if I wanted to buy him I asked “how much do I make the cheque for?” That was 10 years ago, maybe more.
Since then he taught hundreds of children how to ride and love horses – he taught them how to groom, catch, tack up, pick feet, feed treats, pick up poop, walk/trot/canter, jump, go to shows, and how to hang out in the field. His special niche in my program was to help kids learn how to canter. It’s a skill most horses struggle with – he was amazing at allowing the kids to flop around, or give no signals at all, and just listen to me telling him what to do. He could canter slowly, rhythmically and not jar them off his back. When he felt them coming loose he would gently slow down to stop and let them get organized.
Trendsetter (barn name Snoopy): Snoopy was my first horse, and a challenging soul. He taught me how to ride and develop a relationship with a horse. He was an appendix (QH/TB cross), bay with a neat star and no other markings. He was very quiet, but quite spooky – I learned how to land rolling so I didn’t break anything (on me, or the jumps!). He was sold on to someone else when I was in university, and although I don’t know the details about his end I do know that simple math means he is no longer alive. He was the namesake of both my husbands company, and our stable.
Riders Choice (barn name Choice): This mare was one that I bought as a 2 year old. She was a warmblood/thoroughbred cross, stunning to look at with a powerful jump, and an aggressive attitude toward her work. She was a beautiful red chestnut with a heart shaped star. When she was about 6 years old we discovered that she had Wobbler’s Syndrome and had to be euthanized.
Breezy: Breezy was an amazing lesson horse that would care for her riders like they were her own foals. She would tell me by refusing to do something if she felt the rider was not ready. Many riders were told that they needed to wait to do a new skill because “Breezy says your not ready”. The 2 times that I made her do it anyways the riders fell off. After that I always listened when she said not to do it. Breezy worked until she was 24 years old, retired to a students acreage and enjoyed 2 years of eating. During a funny winter with a lot of freezing/thawing spells she slipped on the ice and broke her humerus bone – it is a weight bearing bone and there is no way to support it so that it can heal in an animal of that size. She was euthanized.
Diners Pretty Penny (barn name Dinah): Dinah sucked as a racehorse, thankfully for us, because she loved being a lesson horse. She was an off the track thoroughbred that never really had any interest in running. She was a very good jumping horse, and stayed quiet with beginners, only showing us speed once in a while when we went to shows. She had a chronic problem with one of her feet – she had a crack that started at the coronet band and grew downward – it didn’t matter what type of treatment we tried, nothing helped. Eventually the crack started to go horizontally and we started getting abscesses that we couldn’t stay ahead of – we had to make the decision to put her down before she was in distress.
Mercedes: Mercedes was only with us for a short 6 months. She picked up strangles when we were boarding at a different facility, and was one of the 10% that developed bastard strangles. We treated her for 3 months without any success, and watched her weight go down to a frightening level. We finally had to give up so that she wasn’t suffering any more.