Six years ago today, a doofy little bay colt was born. And a little more than two years ago, he came into my life. Happy birthday, Fender!
In case you’re new to my blog, “Fender” is short for Stratocaster, my as-of-today-6-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Sir Donnerhall. Fender was bred in Georgetown, Ky., by Donna Garner of Chinook Arch Farm, and is out of her wonderful Danish mare Alabama. I learned of Fender through my inimitable friend Eiren Crawford, who had Alabama with her in Europe to ride.
I’d ridden another Sir Donnerhall gelding who I liked VERY much, but who was QUITE naughty, and I was Facebook chatting with Eiren from the airport, lamenting how I really liked the horse but was afraid of the risk. And Eiren said, you know, I know this horse in Kentucky…
I got some plane tickets and showed up in Kentucky to find Fender leaning into his grooming, making fences, mugging for my camera, and generally being a charming guy. And when I rode him, I found him just as delightful as the other Sir Donnerhall I’d tried, but with no drama. Oh, and when I rode him – a few months shy of his fourth birthday – he made a clean flying change on his very first try. Sold.
He is hilarious, and a strong character, and as good athletes with strong characters are prone to doing, went through a stage of teenage rebellion where he tried (unsuccessfully) to convince me he was a Big Bad Dude. He seems to have outgrown it, and for the last six months has just been logging mile after mile of steadily improving rides. He is, hands down, the least complicated animal I’ve ever owned.
He brings a smile to my face every day, whether it’s because he’s fun to ride or because he’s such a riot in the barn. With all the chaos in my life last year, even when he was feeling his proverbial oats, he was always a stalwart citizen. He is always game for a cuddle, and nearly always on point under saddle. He is Mr. Dependable and Mr. Hilarious, all in one Mr. Dashing package.
He’s one of my heart horses, and I’m so grateful he’s in my life. So happy birthday, Fender. Here’s to many more together!