Thursday, Apr. 18, 2024

Blogger Liz Arbittier

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Veterinarian and amateur rider Liz Arbittier joined the COTH's bloggers in January 2014, when she bought a former Amish driving horse as a project. You can read about the start of her journey with Ephriam in "Embarking On An Amish Adventure" and about their progress in all of her later blogs.

Fast forward six months, and things sure have changed since the day I met Ephraim. My decision to trust a stranger who was trying to save a horse has been rewarded in more ways than one.

We did it. We survived the winter! It wasn’t without bumps and bruises but, in retrospect; it is pretty impressive how well Ephraim handled himself. Let’s recap: four months ago, he was a petrified, severely hyper-reactive, 4-year-old former Amish buggy horse who came from the warm south where he had started retraining.

As a veterinarian, I meet a lot of people and treat a lot of horses. I have been very lucky in my career to develop close relationships with clients, many of whom have become like family. The basis for those relationships, on both sides, is trust.

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I have to say that when I got a buggy horse, I assumed he’d be relatively bombproof. When I pass those horses on the road, I give them wide berth, watch carefully, and never see them react. I’m especially cautious at night and am constantly amazed at how focused these special horses are, to be trotting full bore on the pitch black roads with drivers buzzing by.

Three phrases I am embarrassed to admit actually came out of my mouth during my first lesson on Ephraim with Kate Hicks:

-Is my lower leg touching him? Can you tell? Because I feel nothing below the knee.

-I’d really prefer not to have to be responsible for steering today.

-Is this when we think I’m going to die?

New blogger and veterinarian Liz Arbittier recently purchased her first former Amish driving horse, and she's planning to chronicle their training process together for The Chronicle of the Horse.

When I took my dream job as a staff equine veterinarian at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center, I knew it meant huge life changes. I resolved not to have a horse during the transition because I needed to focus on my new job. I made it from June until August before I started jonesing to ride.

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