JOE the Wonder Horse
JOE THE WONDER HORSE
This is an thread about a horse - a very special horse called Joe. No he didn't win anything; he didn't really achieve much in his life but to me he became something special. He taught me more about horse care and management than any of the other horses in my life.
He is an object lesson perhaps for anyone who takes on willingly and knowingly the 24/7 responsibility for what is invariably a magnificent creature.
It is appropriate to start off with a description of him
A Description of Joe
When I acquired Joe, he was an 11 eleven year old tough 15h2 dark bay/black cob gelding with lots of coarse feather. Put a Dales stallion to a Shire mare and you might produce a Joe. Most likely he was what used to be known as a “Galloway”.
His chest was almost as broad as his butt and his croup was slightly higher than his wither.
He had the depth of bone for two horses but his feet were not over large.
His jet black coat, shined up brilliantly in the summer.
He was a good doer and whenever food was about he would eat until the food was eaten. The head never came out of the bucket. Left to go native, he’d come to look like a shaggy bear.
Not an alpha male, but it was noticeable that few horses tried to boss him about.
He was his own horse and seldom showed any sign of affection towards a human adult.
He had no interest whatsoever in becoming a father
He had a broad back, a powerful rump and well set shoulders.
Joe was up to any weight of rider, over any terrain, at any speed, except perhaps race horse gallop
In company with other horses, on say a fun ride, he was hard to keep under control
- he was always up for it whatever the bit used on the day. He could be a thug.
He was very surefooted uphill or down hill even on loose stoney pathways.
He was very nervous on boggy soils but he would wade through quite deep water
You could sit on him up by a cliff edge and you would feel safe.
Likewise he was excellent in traffic. He could be ridden straight at traffic of all types.
I could have taken him down into the town centre
He’d drive if taught but his forte was carrying safely a rider out in open country over uneven terrain.
He was good with people, easy to shoe and box. He was very good with children
His paces were surprising and rhythmic:
Joe might have done well in the classical dressage arena.
He was an extremely good doer and had lived out although he preferred to come into a stable in the winter months. He put on weight easily.
This turbo diesel powerhouse was not for the novice, he called for the firm sensitive hands and legs of a confident rider.
He had worked in a trekking centre but was found to be unsuitable for inexperienced riders. He had been known to go down on his knees, and slowly but surely roll over even though he still had a rider on his back. He never crushed anybody, because they always had time to dismount.
Joe made an excellent companion for a day long hack.
I rode him ‘English’ in a simple snaffle, either loose, one handed on a long rein - or collected up in contact. He had a soft mouth. He could have been ridden ’Western”.
He was no schoolmaster - he would have seen such a description as an insult..
I never ever jumped him over painted fences.
He was born 600 years too late, he would have made a superb knight’s charger.
But he had a dark side:
He was not frightened of humans. Over his lifetime he had been ridden by a couple of hundred riders of all abilities. Within 5 minutes under saddle he had his rider sussed out. He would test his rider continuously and he knew every evasion in the book although I never saw him bite, kick or strike. He was the only horse I have known to balk - he’d stand still and absolutely refuse to move.
He had a couple of other evasions which he developed to perfection - more later.
Joe was a one off. Not exactly the cut of a modern day riding horse but not a cart horse either.
To know him was to smile.
Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 09-08-2009 at 08:20 AM.