Flyer, known as Radio Flyer for formal occasions, joined us for retirement from California this past spring. Although we have only known Flyer for a few months we have known his mom for years. We first met Flyer’s mom when she sent her gorgeous thoroughbred mare Buffy to retire with us. Buffy sadly passed away in 2010, so it was especially meaningful to Jason and to me when we were able to welcome Flyer to our family this spring.
Flyer hanging out in his stall at Middle Ranch in California
Flyer’s mom had wanted to own her very own horse since childhood. She begged her parents for a horse but for various reasons never got one, although she did a lot of riding on friends’ horses. She finally took her very first riding lesson when she turned 30, and she knew she would always have horses in her life from that point on.
Flyer hanging out with his mom's twin boys
Buffy was her first horse, and she had a lot of life changes happening when Buffy had to be retired. One of her most exciting changes happened a few months after Buffy was retired when she gave birth to twin boys. She still managed to stay connected to the horse world while adjusting to being a new mom and running around after twins. She had an investment pony that she owned and had leased out, and she also took riding lessons whenever she could find the time.
Flyer at a horse show with a friend of his mom's riding
She was riding and taking lessons with a trainer that had helped her lease out her small pony, and Flyer ended up being the horse that she was able to ride regularly. She fell in love with Flyer, and shortly after Buffy passed away Flyer came up for sale. She was determined that Flyer was going to be hers and immediately arranged a pre-purchase. During the pre-purchase it was discovered that Flyer had a bit of ringbone and some other minor arthritis. She knew she would not have a lot of time with him and that she might be retiring him sooner rather than later. It was a chance she was willing to take as she loved riding him so much.
Flyer in his beloved grass paddock at Middle Ranch, saying hi to the son of one of his mom's friends
Flyer’s mom was never able to learn much about Flyer’s history prior to buying him. The lady she bought him from had recently opened a dental practice and literally never came to see him a single time during the period that she rode and took lessons on Flyer prior to purchasing him. He had previously been leased to a teenager that showed him in the Children’s Hunters, and prior to living in California he had been showing in the Northwest. That is the only history she knows about Flyer.
Flyer and his mom at a horse show
Flyer is a big 17 hand Trakehner/Thoroughbred cross. His mom says Flyer was incredibly comfortable to ride with a big, rocking horse canter. He was the type of horse that always took care of his rider, and he really allowed his mom to concentrate on herself and on being a better rider. He especially gave her a lot of confidence over jumps as his natural rhythm always took him to a great distance. His mom said the only time he ever thought about stopping at a jump was when she accidentally steered him right into the standard.
Flyer enjoying retirement, grooming his new friend Lofty
Flyer enjoying some grazing time with Lotus and Faune
She did her first ever horse show on Flyer and of course she was very nervous since it was her first show. She said Flyer definitely sensed how nervous she was and as they did their courtesy circle and headed to the first jump in her first class he pretty much took over. Flyer basically said “relax, I’ve got this” and marched around the course. Flyer ended up helping her win her very first over fences class in her very first horse show.
Flyer coming on the run through the fog for breakfast with friends Faune and Silver
While Flyer was helping her to gain confidence as a rider, she spent a lot of time out of the saddle with him and developing a relationship. When she first started riding him Flyer was pretty detached around people. She would take him on walks, hand graze him, and whenever she could she would turn him out in a grass paddock. Being in Los Angeles grass paddocks are hard very hard to come, but thanks to a friend of a friend Grand Prix rider Francie Steinwedell-Carvin let her turn Flyer out in her paddock whenever she was on the road. Flyer and his mom both loved having the use of the paddock. She would sit under a tree and relax while he was grazing. Thanks to the grass paddock she also learned the meaning of the term hard to catch. One time Flyer managed to elude being caught for over an hour, and it took his mom and two grooms to finally catch him. After that day it became a game with Flyer to try and stay away from whoever was trying to catch him. All of the walks and the paddock time helped Flyer work past his detachment with people, and he and his mom were able to forge a bond.
Flyer on his second day with us
Flyer and Donneur going for a run
After a couple of years together some of the issues that had been noted on Flyer’s pre-purchase exam began to catch up with him. Sometimes after they had finished a ride and were going for a walk around the property he would be ouchy when he stepped from grass onto concrete. A couple of times he was completely fine while being ridden, but would be off after standing in the cross ties to be untacked and groomed. Flyer had developed some navicular issues in addition to his ringbone, and corrective shoeing and medications worked for another year. When it stopped working his mom decided not to try other treatments in order to keep riding him. Flyer had been very kind and generous to her as a rider, and she decided it was time to let him be happy and permanently enjoy being in a grass pasture since he clearly loved any time he got in a grass paddock so much.
Flyer and Faune striking a pose
Flyer made the trip from California in the spring and instantly decided he was in love with our farm. As his mom already knew, grass pastures and friends made our farm seem like heaven to Flyer. He met Donneur, who came to our farm at the same time he did, and became instant best friends with him. After he and Donneur had transitioned into a group they were both excited to expand their social circles and already had the skill set to do so. Not having to teach social skills was a nice treat for Jason and for me. After watching him mostly from a distance Faune fell in love with Flyer after about a week, and remains in love with him today. Since they are both big chestnuts they make a matching couple.
We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Flyer!