Horses First   Elite Equine Services  

Merry Legs and John

  In March of 2006 we got a call from a woman who was referred to us by one of our wonderful clients.  We always appreciate business by word-or-mouth.  It is the best advertisement.  Mary told us of a horse that needed training.  She was a three year old Rocky Mountain Horse named Merry Legs.  She was halter trained only.  Mary said that she was sweet and gentle.  I was interested because I had never trained a RMH before.  I had trained several other breeds of gaited horses and had a lot of fun with them.  As we talked more Mary told me that the horse actually belonged to her father, John, who was in his early eighties.  My first thought was, “Oh, how sweet of her father to buy a horse for her.”.

  She proceeded to tell me that John had always had Quarter Horses but they were rough for him to ride now that he was older.  Mary and John had gone to Colorado to look at the Rocky Mountain Horses and John fell in love with Merry Legs and just had to have her.  They also bought another, older, mare.  Wait a minute!  “Would I be training this three year old, halter trained mare for your father?”, I asked.  “Yes,” she said, “do you think it is possible?”.  Oh, my.  I thought many things all at once.  I’ve never trained a Rocky Mountain Horse.  This is a lot of pressure and do I want that responsibility?  Does John have any horsemanship skills?  What the heck are these people thinking?  On the other hand……….I guess it is possible.

  After pondering for awhile I told Mary that it was possible. Ultimately I knew it was up to Merry Legs.  The only way to know was to meet her and give it a try.  I told her that I was pretty sure, that even though she was a sweet horse, it would take more than a month.  Mary understood and thought they were willing to try.  John adored Merry Legs and had a real good feeling about her.  I told her to look at our website to get to know us a little better and then call us back.

  Shortly, we received an email from Mary saying that both she and John read every word on our site and were confident that they had chosen a trainer they could trust.  I was touched and humbled.  No turning back now.  We had to live up to their confidence.  We agreed to work together.  Merry Legs, please don’t be an outlaw!

  John lives in Amarillo, Texas so it took a couple of weeks before we met everyone.  It took five minutes after meeting John, Mary and especially Merry Legs for me to realize that this might actually work.  Mary and John were horse people.  They knew them and they loved them.  They had a practical easy going attitude.  Just the way horses like us to be.  Also, I was thrilled that they wanted to participate and assess the progress throughout the training.  They were genuinely nice people and John showed me his sense of humor and playfulness immediately.  Although Merry Legs was a bit antsy getting out of the trailer she quickly realized she was among friends, horse and human.

  All of the horses that come here for training get a day or so to settle in and relax.  When we were ready to start training Merry Legs we had a little talk with her and told her that we had our work cut out for us.  We all have to do our very best so she and John could have fun and be safe.  From the very first day and throughout the training she rose to the occasion as if she understood our words.  Actually I think she knew her role before we ever told her.  Her bond with John is so strong.

  We lunged her, ponied her, sacked her out, did round pen work, drove her, put saddle bags and chaps on the saddle, clipped her pole with an electric clipper, bathed her and made her lie upside down on her back so we could scratch her tummy.  Okay, maybe the last one is not true. But she would have done that too!  The point is that we exposed her to everything that she may encounter in life.  We made sure that she didn’t need to be afraid of anything and had to keep a level head, no matter what.  She rose above and beyond our expectations on every occasion.

  When I am lucky enough to train a horse like Merry Legs one of the first things that I think of is that the horse knows better than I do how to train them.  There is no need to push them too hard or rush them.  It isn’t fair to be on my own agenda.  I have to listen to them and not ruin a good thing.  What I do is enhance and encourage their good qualities and abilities.  There is no need to rush the fine tuning.  There is plenty of time for that, later.

  I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful it is to have good owners to work with.  John, Mary and Mary’s husband, Peter, were here for many of the milestone training sessions.  They were enthusiastic, encouraging and supportive of our methods.  They also offered suggestions for us to achieve their goals and needs for Merry Legs.  We appreciated that very much.  Also, throughout the training I was very thankful for the breeders of this fine horse.  The looks are never as important as the temperament.  In this case we had both.

  We had an additional challenge.  In order to register a Rocky Mountain horse you have to take a video.  It involves many things including riding them in their gait to make sure that they have a natural, fluid gait.  It took a few takes on my part.  But, once again Merry Legs showed us how truly wonderful she is. 

  John is a kind, generous and funny gentleman.   And, oh yes, he’s a horseman! We are very honored to do business with him and to call him a dear friend.  The first time he got on Merry Legs there wasn’t a dry eye at the ranch.  At first Merry Legs wasn’t sure about John’s size and then she adjusted herself and happily moved forward.  She and John have enjoyed and taken care of each other ever since.

  The experience was a gift that we treasure.  Thank you.  All of you.

When integrity and experience count

Contact Jennifer
7M Ranch, Hwy 52, Longmont
303 518-7830

Email: horsesfirst@cybermesa.com