I’ve been conspicuously silent on the subject because I wanted to get the Is dotted and the Ts crossed, but it’s officially official: I just bought a horse!
He’s a coming-4-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Sir Donnerhall—Silvermoon. He comes to me from his breeder, Donna Garner, in Kentucky. Donna’s a lovely woman and already a patron of the sport—my horse’s mother, Alabama, is in Germany in training with a superstar expat Canadian trainer named Eiren Crawford, who steered me to the horse, and whom I owe a very large beer as such.
Stratocaster, as I’m going to call him, was formerly known as Stavanger, which is tragically easy to mispronounce (and I know it, because I did it) to rhyme with “Scavenger,” which lacks a certain sex appeal. He’s still being called by his former barn name, Stav, for now because while show names are what they are, I don’t like to give them a nickname until I’ve gotten to play with them a bit. So Stav it is, for now. He’ll be here Sunday night or Monday morning, probably at a tragically early hour.
I’m already making big plans. He’s in great fitness for his age, very rideable, even if he sometimes feels like riding puppies fighting under a blanket. He’s got a great character, so I’m hoping he’ll fit right into my program. I’d love to do the Four-Year-Old tests with him, and our first show is in late March…We’ll see, one day at a time.
My program for getting him ready for whatever end will be very basic—work four-ish days a week, including cavaletti (something I’ve been negligent in using on my other guys—it’s great to have an excuse to incorporate them more) and as much work outside on our hills as is possible. This is, of course, assuming that it ever stops raining, ever. We’re building a freaking ark out here.
The great things about the Four-Year-Old tests: First, I can do almost the whole test in posting trot. I’m perfectly capable of sitting the trot, but when your horse is that young and riding him around sometimes leaves leg carnage behind him, body parts flying everywhere, being able to post will help him a lot. And second, it’s a straightforward test. The gifts nature has given this horse will make up for his age-related lack of strength. In the end, whether they go the Young Horse route or do USEF tests doesn’t much matter to me. All the top youngsters are going the same place, the FEI ring.
No photos of him yet—I didn’t take any when I was there—but Donna did email me baby photos, which are OMG adorable, so feast your eyes on those ’til he gets here.