Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

Legacy in Gold PDF Print E-mail

Like father, like son?

As in life, the horse business is filled with beginnings and endings. Linda and Mylinda Mylam purchased my FEI horse Hot Legs in 1997 and allowed him to retire from competition as a breeding stallion. January 19th, 2000 I received the kind of phone call we all dread. Hot Legs had passed away after a bout of enteritis. That day ended my relationship with one of the greatest horses I've ever known.

Part of Hot Legs' sale agreement was a foal. I hadn't selected any from the '98 crop but the Mylams kept sending "baby pictures" with every new arrival. I looked them over and intended to visit their Texas farm to make a selection. In the interim, I chose a favorite and put him on my computer as a screen saver. Each morning I woke up to this cute photo of a palomino weanling.

legacy_2.jpgFollowing Legs' death I didn't have the strength to see another Legs in my barn. Months past and I finally called Linda and asked which babies remained. Sure enough, included in the package of photographs she sent was one of my ""screen saver" foal. Linda said he was one of the best. With tearful thanks, the papers were signed and the shippers called. Legacy In Gold arrived at Touch ‘n Go Farm on Mother's Day 2000. How ironic is that? He hadn't been handled much and just finished his first trailer ride so the colt was understandably agitated. Still, Legacy seemed to have a sweet nature and became part of the family over the next few months.

In the spring of 2002 I decided it was time to start our spirited youngster. For over thirty years I had broken all of the babies I raised as well as client's horses. Since his arrival I assumed Legacy would be no exception. That was before I became acquainted with Kathy Frazier.

I have never been one to chase trends. In my opinion, the surge in popularity of the "Natural Horsemanship" movement made several trainers wealthy but has done little to create true horsemen. Kathy came to me for lessons in 2000. She had little experience in dressage but had trained with Buck Branamann and his gentle method of starting young horses. I was a bit skeptical when Kathy offered to help with Legacy but I trusted her judgment. She would explain how to introduce a new element of riding to a horse and I would relate it to future dressage training. In the end we both learned a lot from each other. The experience with Kathy was very positive and led me to send another baby, Vincere, to a trainer to be started in a similar fashion.

cassidylongelegacy_3x2_120dpi.jpgOnce Legacy was well-started, I began his training with the basics and that early work showed natural, Thoroughbred tendencies. Stiff through his body with a short walk and choppy trot, it was evident that Legacy's movement was not designed for international dressage competition. Still, the whole purpose of "classical dressage" is the athletic development of a horse through gymnastics and the creation of a clear means of communication between horse and rider. My Mentor, Karl Mikolka, told me that the old Masters said, "Where is the challenge for a trainer on a perfect horse? Real trainers enjoy the problems, mistakes and lack of understanding. They give a trainer the opportunity to use his skill to educate the horse." I have always enjoyed the challenge presented by less-than-perfect horses and Legacy had the gift of superior intelligence to help me bring out the best in him.

Legacy made steady progress over the next five years but remained a "back burner" project since client's horses come first in the training schedule. That actually worked well considering he was a late bloomer. I entertained the idea of selling him to a rider with more time to devote to him but I've always been a horse collector, not a horse trader. A fate would have it, my daughter decided to take a much greater interest in riding in 2006 and she loves the palomino stallion.

cassidylegacycanter_3x2_120dpi.jpgCassidy has ridden since she was two years-old. A series of ponies served her well until we bought Hannah, a 14.2 hand Quarterhorse cross. This little mare is a good fit for my daughter but since she expressed a desire to ride bigger horses I decided to make Legacy Cassidy's project horse. The two have hit it off and enjoy working together. Cassidy has learned to work the bigger horse on the longe and is becoming more effective in the saddle.

It's hard to say where all of this will lead but all of us are having fun. Who knows, maybe the sentimental colt from one of my favorite horses will become my daughter's Young Rider horse? Only time will tell.

 
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