Sunday, December 18, 2011


Sam is a 13 year old Hanoverian gelding who joined us for retirement this summer. Sam was bred and born in Germany. His sire is Saint Cloud who was a Grand Prix dressage horse.

While Sam was frolicing in a field in Germany as a young horse his future mom was riding and showing her Arabian gelding, ironically named Ham. Sam's mom had been showing Ham at some USDF rated dressage shows and she was also starting to do the upper level ratings in Pony Club and becoming more involved in eventing. When it came time to purchase a horse more suitable for moving up the levels she began the search for another horse.

Sam and him mom schooling at home
Sam's mom looked at horses up and down the East Coast for about six months. She never found what she was looking for and ended up trying horses at a farm in Canada. While she did not find the horse she was looking for in Canada, she did meet someone that she trusted to travel to the Verband Auction in Germany and pick out a horse for her.

Sam at the Verband Auction in Germany

This person picked Sam out for her at the Verband Auction. After Sam enjoyed a plane ride from Germany and a short quarantine, Sam and his mom met for the first time nine years ago. Sam was a very green four year old that had just been lightly started undersaddle. She said she remembers meeting Sam for the first time and holding the leadrope attached to the gorgeous and feisty black gelding and wondering what she had gotten herself into.

Sam and his mom at a dressage show

It turned out she had gotten herself a wonderful partner and they began furthering their training together in both jumping and dressage. At first they did a lot of jumping, and over the years the migrated more and more towards dressage. Sam was very athletic and full of try under saddle, but as his mom said you had to keep his brain engaged and keep him from getting bored. If you didn't he would find ways to start entertaining himself under saddle. This usually involved a spook and spin, or sometimes a buck. His mom said Sam was the most talented bucker in a barn full of really athletic horses, and she developed a great seat riding him.

When riding Sam the challenge was to keep his mind focused on the task at hand while channeling his energy in a constructive manner. His mom said that when everything came together when riding Sam he was an amazing ride. Soft and supple in the bridle, forward, sensitive yet always listening. She especially loved riding his extensions as she said it felt like you were floating.

Sam and his mom

Sam and his mom finally found a trainer that they really clicked with a couple of years ago. A lot of trainers wanted to label Sam as difficult since he required such a tactful ride. It was during these last couple of years that she and Sam had their best work under saddle. They went all the way back to basics and spent a month at the walk learning how to walk into contact. Then they worked on really going forward at the trot. After they had mastered these two things they started to advance very quickly. They often drew an audience for their dressage lessons as Sam had become so impressive to watch under saddle.

Sam on the move a few weeks ago

Sam and his mom had their low point about three years ago. Sam bucked her off and she had a compression fracture in her back. This episode sent them looking for reasons for the much stronger than usual bucking episode, and Sam was diagnosed with kissing spines. Sam was successfully treated and brought back to work, they found their wonderful trainer and were having the best riding times they had ever had.

Sam trotting through the pasture in one of his first weeks with us, I'm sure he was about to go cause trouble somewhere.

A few little things started bothering Sam in the last couple of years and he wound up having various joint injections done. Then he came up lame up front and an MRI showed severe navicular changes in one front hoof and moderate changes in the other. Sam's vets were amazed he had been in work and was only showing mild lameness relative to the changes seen on the MRI. His mom decided at that point that she was not going to keep pushing things and trying to patch him together, she was worried if she did that he would wind up really broken. Instead she decided to retire him now so he could really enjoy retirement after 9 years of working and trying hard for her.

Sam's personality is exactly as him mom described it to us. He is very self confident and likes to be in the middle of things. He is never bored and is always finding ways to entertain himself, just like he did when he was being ridden. He has a very in charge personality and if there is a ruckus going on in his group you can be confident that Sam is in the middle of it and probably the cause. Because his mom decided to retire him before he was pushed too hard he is enjoying retirement to the fullest. He is a very lucky horse!

We hope you have enjoyed learning about Sam as much as we have enjoyed getting to know him the last few months!


Anonymous said...

I love the meet the residents blog, Sam is beautiful!

Wendy said...

I, too, enjoy meeting your residents. And kudos to Sam's mom for retiring him to horse paradise!

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

Another gorgeous Hanoverian dressage import. He is lucky to be able to enjoy life at your farm. I think they know how lucky they are.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that Sam is very handsome!