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BIG News on the Dressage Front

But not big in the way you expect, given the recent spate of FEI-related posts. And now for something completely different:

From Fran Jurga, a report that on Friday, July 16th, under the motto, the heavy brigade is on its way, 70 draft horses of various breeds (called “cart horses” in Europe), as well as carriages and working teams will compete in the First North Rhine-Westphalian (NRW) Cart Horse Day at Aachen.

The dressage riders and show jumpers will need to keep a tight rein on their mounts when these fellows rumble by. The refined warmbloods will be face-to-face with their cold-blooded root-stock. And they’d better watch out that the big boys don’t steal their show, or at least inspire a children’s book or two.

My all-time favorite and most beloved mare is a Percheron. Millie taught me everything. Maira is half Percheron. Windsong’s Justa Firestorm is a Percheron stallion. His son, “Buster,” is Perch/TB. You get the drift. Their nobility and grace, and courage in stressful times cannot be matched. Millie and I tried dressage. It was an unparalleled disaster. Not only am I terrible at dressage, but Millie’s typical but beautiful draft conformation naturally made it difficult for her to rock back on her haunches and carry herself properly. It was a battle. Why torture her for no good reason? We decided to stick with what we do best–hunt for a couple of hours and go home, triumphant. Trail ride and enjoy it immensely.

Below I have posted a YouTube video of a Percheron training that really takes me back. I believe that what you see in this video is typically what you get when trying to get a draft horse to do dressage. Draft horses. Conformationally appropriate? No. Willing? Yes. Capable? Yes (????)

I hopehopehope that the beauties of Aachen wow them with more than just the rumbling of the earth! I’d give quite a lot to be there.

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Windsong's Justa Firestorm: Percheron Stallion

Windsong's Justa Firestorm: Percheron Stallion

I have frozen semen from this stellar stallion who looks and behaves more like a baroque horse than a draft.

A true Virginia Gentleman

A True Virginia Gentleman

foxhunting

Kindness and Intelligence

Kindness and Intelligence

one of many stallion issue magazine advertisements

one of many stallion issue magazine advertisements

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For Simrat: Breyer Models

For Simrat: Breyer Models

Simrat got me thinking of model horse days.
I never had any myself.
But oh, my daughter did.
There was no counting the number of Breyer horses in our house.
Or tiny barn implements and accessories: small burlap feed bags, tiny velvet helmets and microscopic plastic “metal” spurs.

My daughter once had a non-Breyer model horse with glued on velvety hair. It stood precariously in a rearing position. At night it lay on the pillow next to her. She loved it.
We returned one day to discover that our Mastiff, Annabelle, who wasn’t a very discriminating eater, had consumed all but the doll-hair mane.* This was a tragedy par excellance.

But back to the reason for this post. Simrat made me think of my only personal story about Breyer horses.

When I was standing Windsong’s Justa Firestorm, a model maker sent me photos of a model she’d made of him. I’ve since lost touch with her, and would love to get in contact. I’m hoping that posting these photos here will help me locate her. I am still struck by her ability to construct a model of him that captures him both physically and temperamentally from just photos. It even appears as if he’s cavorting alongside his son, Justa Royal Dance (aka “Buster”). Spitting image.

pict0004

storm-breyer-model

If you’re out there, mystery model maker, please contact me!

* Television remotes, sofa cushions, computer mice, almost everything was palatable to Annabelle. In the end her dietary indiscretion was sadly fatal. I haven’t gotten over it yet.

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