We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine November 2018 - Page 19

T

he metal age is a great age to consider. You may know the deal. Your hair is silver, your mouth has gold, and your pants have lead. And I’m beginning to groan as I feel all those metal parts—the temperature here in the northeast growing downward. Horses are fuzzy in preparation for what’s to come, but high-headed and spirited when the cold wind sweeps through. That inspires me every time.

A beautiful, silver Andalusian mare has joined Celesto, my black Andalusian stallion here at my facility. Davina, a mare I started two years ago as a four year old, is now tall and robust. She sizzles with energy and old-world beauty as she parades around my paddocks. Looks like there may be family of ‘Andies’ getting started around here too.

Andalusians, Morgans, Arabians, Paso Finos, Tennessee Walkers, Quarter Horses, Paints and Friesians, what makes each breed great and admirable can be as different…as "a sigh from the southwest is from the northeastern breeze." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

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downward. Horses are fuzzy in preparation for what’s to come, but high-headed and spirited when the cold wind sweeps through. That inspires me every time.

A beautiful, silver Andalusian mare has joined Celesto, my black Andalusian stallion here at my facility. Davina, a mare I started two years ago as a four year old, is now tall and robust. She sizzles with energy and old-world beauty as she parades around my paddocks. Looks like there may be family of ‘Andies’ getting started around here too.

Andalusians, Morgans, Arabians, Paso Finos, Tennessee Walkers, Quarter Horses, Paints and Friesians, what makes each breed great and admirable can be as different…as "a sigh from the southwest is from the northeastern breeze." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Within each breed I certainly find different characteristics, or as I just call them: characters. I recently acquired, trained and re-homed a wonderful Morgan gelding named Lorenzo. He was bred in California, found his way to Pennsylvania, then New York, and now resides in Vermont. Training him from the ground up has had great rewards and discoveries of what’s under the hood regarding temperament, soundness, disposition, and always—that something extra special. I like that term "special." To me it means that there is an ingredient within each horse that gives it a distinct edge over every other horse in my barn. (It could be that a particular horse stands steadier at the wash stall than any other, but, hey, it’s their sumpin’ special).

Lorenzo has amazing self-composure and assuredness. Nothing fazes him, but, there is so much caliber and "go." As a cross country horse, he will never say quit. Never! What was most unusual about him was how well he trained me, so now let me explain...

Bringing him along using my Complete Horse Method, his

training meant teaching him to be the lightest of horses in the

bridle, ready to turn with the lightest of cues, finding ease in

each forward gait, suppleness during transitions within each

gait, etc. All that was easily becoming more and more

established with each training session. What I discovered was

position, or collects back into a horse readied to switch gears…to sneaking into a forward-engaged, gas-pedal down, adrenaline-seeking speedster. I know and understand how much a horse can really rely on the security of your hands, and to depend upon the contact to feel supported. I can even endorse a bit of leaning on a young, green horse. But this boy discovered a new tier of “lean in.” This subtle act of intelligence was sheer brilliance. It was undetectable to me. Lorenzo would lean into my hands ever so much as we rolled along the hills —the Catskill Mountains offering their vast array of trail diversity—up and down and around. Lorenzo loved it. He grew more engaging and "into it!” I watched and enjoyed my protégé all summer, but as he grew less and less light, his lope turned into a canter, and his mind became less and less about walking. At first I thought, “This dude’s an athlete and he’s really getting into the best shape of his life. Let him be a teenager,” to “What is happening?” Lorenzo seemed to have forgotten everything I had taught him one day. He began throwing his head with every downward transition, and seemed to forget all he’d been taught. Instead of self-carriage, instead of engaging his hinds and coming back into my hand, he would brace against me, completely unengaged. It was a hostile take-over, and I was along for the ride. Then it hit me.