As Tinkerbell prepares for her show debut, she asks herself “Are my ears really that long? I hope the judge will like me anyway.”
Tinkerbell is a four-year old Oldenburg mare owned by Catherine Ulrey. I started her as a three-year old. She had a long hiatus in the pasture before returning to work this January. Below is a video of a recent training session. She is headed for the dressage show ring this year!
What a difficult thing it is to lose a horse, whether it be tragic, illness or age related. Horses are such an incredible animal that it is very easy for us to become very emotionally attached. Such is one of In Motion Sport Horses students, Shannon.
Shannon has owned Casino, an OTTB gelding, turned hunter-jumper, school horse, for the last 12 years. Casino has played an extremely important part of Shannon’s riding and walking, for that matter. You see, Shannon has cerebral palsy. Doctor’s said she would never walk. However her parents thought differently. They had her riding horseback at a very young age. Casino was a horse at the stable where she went to ride regularly in Hawaii. The two made a fast bond with one another. When Shannon’s family planned to move to the mainland, Casino’s owner gave him to her, knowing the two of them would not do well separated. So Casino boarded a plane and moved to Oregon.
Now at 31 years old, his body is tired. Casino’s vet monitored him very closely for the last five months of his life. The vet and Shannon determined when it was time for him to be put down, humanly, as opposed to letting him suffer. It was an extremely difficult decision to come to for Shannon, but one she knows was on Casino’s behalf.
Casino is missed on a daily basis. Thankfully, the tincture of time is very healing. Shannon continues to ride her Icelandic gelding and owns a very lovely thoroughbred mare.
For many, many years I enjoyed the work of exercising and training horses at various race tracks. Here are a few pictures of those days gone by in my horsey life.
I do have to say, I was very fit back then. It was like doing three hours of aerobics each morning.
The horses were always such a pleasure, the speed thrilling.
On occasion, I still enjoy a day at the track.
There once was a Dutch immigrant during the Second World War. He came to America with his wife and very little money. His skill set: horses. His name is Harry de Leyer. For many years Harry worked as an instructor and trainer for a prominent girls school in New York. He happened upon a horse while looking for a prospect for the school. The horse was heavy boned, very thin and unhealthy and happened to be on a meat wagon headed for slaughter. Harry bought the horse for $80. With years of training, this horse Snowman and Harry, won several National Jumping titles. The following paragraph is a quote from Harry during an interview.
“If you work hard and believe in yourself you can make your own luck. When I went through Ellis Island and landed in Hoboken I wasn’t sure what the future held, but I knew that I was willing to do what I needed to get ahead. I did not expect to be able to work with horses, but just by doing what I loved I was able to find a way to succeed and work in a job that I loved. But for young people just starting out, its important to remember that there is a lot of hard work doing things that are not very glamorous or interesting before you ever get near a spotlight. Still, if you do each task right everyday, even the humble jobs, you will make steady progress toward your goals. When times are tough, its easy to get discouraged, but if you imagine what you want and keep going after it you will be amazed at what you can achieve.”
Harry de Leyer, The Flying Dutchman, the Galloping Grandfather
You can enjoy the story of Harry and Snowman by reading for yourself Snowman, the Eighty Dollar Champion. It’s an inspiring story!
Not every horse is so fortunate to have Santa stop by and feed her carrots! Esmerelda, however, this year got a visit from the red and white clad Santa! She seemed most intrigued by the white curls that encompassed Santa’s face! I wonder what is on her wish list…..