Wednesday, November 19, 2014

SFTS Blog Hop: The horse that made me

The horse that made me? I've learned so much from working with different horses throughout the years, but I think the horse that suffered from most of my experimentation had to be Stork.

When Stork arrived at Whispering Valley Ranch he was a five year old, green as grass beastie.

He took a saddle and a bridle, he bucked every time you asked him to canter, and he spooked in a gigantic fashion at anything that seemed spook-worthy.

A teenaged version of myself made this

I also had no idea how to develop him, how to bring him along. All I wanted to do was gallop through fields of grass and jump anything I could talk him into jumping.

We got him accustomed to a great many scary things simply by falling off around them a lot. He learned to tolerate snowmobiles because we rode him out onto the snowmobile trails and then just hung out for a long time while they screamed past us.

He gave a lot of riding lessons. He was the first one I tried clicker training and natural horsemanship on. He earned his keep. He was congratulated by everyone who ever dealt with him regarding his calmness, his sweetness, his kind eyes...

Stork came to college with me and helped keep me a bit sane.

He experimented with free-jumping.

He refused to get onto a trailer in any version of a short amount of time.

But he did anything for me no matter how poorly I asked.

I leased him out for a short while and his lessee loved him as much as I did.

This is largely why it didn't work out - I was stressed over my horse. So he came home.

Then I put him up for sale because I was living 800 miles away and he was just hanging out in a pasture. I looked up the ad just now because I couldn't remember if I'd properly advertised him as "my best partner and a wonderful horse."

I didn't, of course.
Additional Comments:Some dressage training, mostly ridden on the trails and used for beginners riding lessons. This was my go-anywhere, do-anything horse. I played around a lot. Knows lots of little tricks but it was never really consolidated. Safe on the road, calm in company, rides out alone, good on a longe, polite in the barn, bathes, etc. Jumped to 2'6" but never more than 18" courses. Not the smartest horse around but not difficult to train. Located just outside of Ann Arbor, MI. $3000. 
An adult amateur bought him and later decided that he was too much for her (he was sort of buggy sometimes about jumping, I guess. He never really acted like that with me, but it'd been a while...)

Then through some crazy stroke of luck, he ended up with one of my all-time favorite students from Ann Arbor.

I was blessed enough to teach the two of them a few lessons before my move to California. Unfortunately he apparently spooked while farting over a jump (yeah, seriously. Horses are so strange.) and when she fell off she broke both her ankles.

So Stork got passed along to a new owner. She's showing him a bit...

With his current owners!
And I can only hope that he's as loved now as he was with me. I'll always remember galloping him up hills and through snow, riding him bareback all over kingdom come, riding double on him and hating his withers, playing in lake Michigan, building jumps for him, giving lessons on him, reading to him, and loving him.


  1. that photo of you and him dressed up all fancy is just beautiful!

  2. Is this the horse that you were with when you almost got hit by a boat?