My young horse, Gus, turned three years old in May. The years have flown by since I brought him home as a pudgy weanling, and now it’s time to start him under saddle. He’s a typical adolescent—bumbling and silly in one moment, taking my breath away with his athleticism and beauty the next.
He’s a good boy, mostly, though he has the ability to be a bit naughty too. Bold and arrogant, he leads and bosses around his elder field mate (30-year-old Wulf) like a horse with more experience than a mere 3-year-old. Gus has an aggressive side too; he chases birds, rabbits, and coyotes out of his and Wulf’s field, as though wild creatures aren’t allowed to touch down in his territory. And he’s annoyingly mouthy…
Half Welsh Cob, half Thoroughbred, he’s grown taller than I’d hoped. He’s already taller than his Thoroughbred dam, Coco. I started Coco under saddle for her owner many years ago; she was easy, willing, and an exceptionally hard worker. Coco was a special horse that stood out among the hundreds of horses I’ve started in my career—a plain little red mare who had both a balanced body and brain.
I met Gus’s sire, North Forks Cardi, at a horse show when he was only three. Impressed by the charismatic little Cob stallion, I watched him throughout his career as he worked his way through the dressage levels, winning championship after championship all the way to Grand Prix and a National Championship at that level.
Now I have the progeny of these two special horses, and I’m grateful. Working with him, I’m reminded why it’s worth it to own performance horses from proven stock. This horse game is hard enough; why not start with something bred to do the job you want? Even if that job is just to be a fun, good-natured horse.
My hope for Gus is that he’ll be a good, all-around capable horse. Something to ride in the mountains one weekend and a Working Equitation show the next. I’ll bring him along slowly and carefully in his training and fingers crossed, he’ll be the horse I’m hoping he’ll be.
Enjoy our Performance Horse issue! We have a delightful article about a one-of-a-kind event horse named French Twist. Also, I’m pleased to have trainer/writer Anna Blake as our Trainer’s Corner columnist for four months. Anna brings a unique, low-stress style to her training and writes beautifully about the process. [email protected]
Published in July 2020 Issue:
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.