Sunday, October 2, 2011

Big Redux

Jean contacted the Clyde breeder soon after we met them at the fairAfter a few email exchanges, Saturday was the day to go and meet the whole family.  :-)  I met Jean and her mother early Saturday morning.  It was the first cold day of the season and the sun was absent, but the weather did not dampen our mood....we were excited.

The purpose of the visit was to see the horses in their natural living environment and meet some of the yearlings, the three mares that are carrying foals and the stallions.  The idea of buying a baby is becoming more appealing to Jean.  She would know her horse from the beginning and can work with the breeder in training the horse for riding (they have a couple of Clydes that they ride).   However, if the perfect adult Clyde became available and the timing was right she would consider it. 

The Mr. and Mrs. met us as we pulled into the lane, along with their son and daughter.  What a lovely family!  So pleasant and welcoming.  We walked down the lane a bit and met the mares.  Initially, they were grazing but when Mrs. called them, they walked over to the gate.  Jean went through the gate and waited for them to come to her.   They were very courteous....curious, but courteous.

Hello, nice to meet you.
Oh, you brought a hostess gift!  Yummy!

What struck me about these big ladies is that you could see gentle wisdom behind their eyes.There was one mare that took a shine to Jean.  Sure, treats were involved initially at the meet and greet, but after the treats were gone, she just followed Jean around like a puppy dog. 

The turnout areas were large and clear of scrub weeds and rocks.  Lots of space to kick up large heels.  :-)   The trees around the parameter of the field provide shelter.  The horses are left out 24/7 unless there is freezing rain.    Then they are brought into the barn.

Now it was time to meet Stallion 1.  He has been part of the family for 8 years, purchased as a yearling. I have to say that I had a preconceived idea of a stallion; unpredictable, wild, untouchable, fire-breathing, relegated to a small paddock out of sight.  So, when Mr. and Mrs. invited us into Stallion 1's field, we were surprised.  In fact, I was a bit nervous.  However,  I wasn't so nervous that I didn't turn my video on.  :-)  Check it out.....

Stallion 1 was galloping right for me, but I didn't move.   My heart was thumping a bit, I admit.  :-)  Jean and her mom got a bit of a fright when he veered.

Mr. and Mrs. handle their horses a lot.  Having them socialized is important not only from a resale perspective, but from a showing perspective.  You can't have a spooky 2,000 lbs horse in the show ring.  So while Stallion 1 was eating his treat, Mr. stood behind him and untangled his tail which was full of burrs. 

Next we went into the barn to see the babies.  The stalls were twice the size of normal stalls.  We were allowed into each of the stalls and encouraged to rub and touch the youngsters, which were around 7 months old.  There was only one almost nipping incident, but other than that they were better behaved than a lot of the horses at my barn.  :-)

Does this tail make my butt look big?
Mr. showed us the saddle he uses when he rides Clydes.  I forgot to take a picture of it.  It's a Western saddle with two stirrups on the left side.  One is the regular fender/stirrup combo and the other, placed behind it, almost looks English with a very long leather strap and metal stirrup attached.  Because of the potential torque on the horse's back when you use the long stirrup, someone has to be on the right side of the horse pushing down on the stirrup to make sure the saddle doesn't move when you mount.  Once you are up, you hook the long stirrup to the back of the saddle so it's out of the way. 

Stallion 2's stall was in amongst the babies.  Stallion 2 has shoes on for showing, so he is in a stall for the time being or in a small paddock.   I was actually scratching Stallion 2's chin and ears for a while before Mr. mentioned that he was a stallion.  Again, another preconceived idea about stallions being untouchable blown out of the water.  Stallion 2 was a big schnook!  Every time I stopped rubbing, he would lean into the bars.  I asked Jean's mom to take my place so I could get a pic.

Schnook alert!
I realized that I was not at all nervous around these horses.  Perhaps it was because I am (finally!) used to Gem's size and even though these horses out-weigh him by +400 lbs and are 6-8 inches taller, it didn't seem that big a deal to me.   The Mr. and Mrs. love their horses and it's evident; the horses are calm and friendly.  Being around these gentle giants was almost soothing and like time was standing still.  But, time wasn't standing still and after a couple of hours of visiting, it was time to go.  We were invited back any time.   On the drive home, Jean said that she was happy with what she saw and believes that she has found her Clyde connection.   I am glad that she has found her connection and that her dream is within reach.  I am glad that I was able to sample the Clyde magic....geez, I hope Jean invites me to go with her for another visit soon!


  1. Wow -- that's an an awesome video! What beautiful horses!!

  2. I had to watch that video twice. What a gorgeous animal, it took my breath away too. I loved hearing the giggles in the background, that would be me nervously giggling. Sounds like a very nice family! And a terrific day too!

  3. Seems to me that gentle stallions say loads about the folks raising them. So glad Jean is getting closer to realizing her dream. Do they use mounting blocks? It would seem like you would need a lot more than a step ladder to get on those horses!

  4. What lovely horses - so glad you met them.


  5. I love the Clyde's as a breed. These look so well trained and cared for too. They're just gorgeous. I'm glad you got to interact with the stallions. Looks like Jean is on her way to realizing her dream. What a great day, loved the video.

  6. What a great breeder, they seem very responsible and caring. And WHAT an impressive video of the stallion. I know I would have been shaking in my shoes to see him hammering toward me!

  7. WOW!!! The sight of that stallion galloping right at you, impressive enough in the video, it must have been awesome 'in the flesh'!!

    Even though I don't know Jean, I'm so happy for her, that she's getting on with realising her dream :D

    My dream horse would be a Friesian but those big guys look quite tempting too ...

  8. Detroit Dog – I was very thankful that my battery wasn’t low in camera!

    Mary – He was quite stunning. Jean was so excited that I caught him on video.

    Breathe – I absolutely agree. I am sure some of the calmness has to do with the breed, but I think a big part of the polite demeanor has to do with their handlers. I did not see a mounting block around. I think they just use the special saddle when riding.

    Vicki – I was very happy that Jean invited me to go along.

    GHM – I asked Jean if she was nervous when the mares came up and surrounded her shortly after we arrived and she admitted that for a moment she was. But the kind look on their faces made the nervousness disappear very quickly.

    Shannon –I admit, there was a brief moment when I thought I was going to have to jump out of the way, but I had videoed so much of his gallop at that point that I was committed to getting the shot!!

    Joy – It was pretty awesome seeing him galloping across the field. I love Friesians!!! I am a sucker for draft-type breeds. You would look great on a Friesian. :-)

  9. My brother's old horse was a stallion. We bought him at an auction when he was a yearling and nobody would believe us that he was a stallion because he was so well behaved. Now we can't take the credit for that, it was all of his breeder's doing. We got a chance to visit them a few years later. They start training all of their colts to be stallions as foals. Their basic rule, "they are not allowed to be a stallion without permission." When the owners are around, the stallions act like the kindest, mildest gelding around. You would never have guessed that their stallion was indeed a stallion. And it's because of them that I refuse to buy a horse from a breeder unless they have well-behaved stallions. I feel like the behaviour of their stallions speak a lot about the breeder. Also, the breeders of my brother's first horse bred Paint Horses.

    I LOVED that video of the stallion running! All horses look beautiful galloping but there's just something about a Clyde running that is extra special.

  10. Hi Wolfie,
    There's an award waiting for you at my blog. Stop by and pick it up when you get the chance.

  11. Interesting blog - why not come and post it with a new Equine Blogging Network called Haynet. We would love to have you there

  12. awww... they are gorgeous horses :)

  13. Those stallions are pretty =)

    I especially like the photo of number 2. He is a handsome man. I always liked the idea of clydies - so does my boyfriend and they are the only breed my nan likes lol.

    There are always a few of them at the auction - I am tempted to buy one, but I think if I did my boyfriend would fall in love with it and we would have another permanent addition to the family haha.

  14. GHM – Thank you!

    Samihob – Thanks! I’ll check it out.

    Ruffles – Agreed!

    Megan – Not that I am tempting you, but they are easy keepers…. :-)