As many of you may know, Otis is named for a gentleman no longer with us but remembered every day. It seemed only fitting we should name this colt Otis. Like his name sake, he is calm, laid back, and just doing what ever needs done. In the colt’s case, it is learning whatever needs to be learned. Talk about a quick study! Something typical of the breed or Gypsy Vanner, being a quick study is all about how they learn. Take the gentleness of the draft and the smart resourcefulness of the pony heritage, and you have, truly, the best of both worlds. Give this breed a job to do and as soon as they understand, which is quickly, they are on it. They make everything look easy. We are so accustomed to doing everything over and over and previously, our light horses needed more and more, but this is training on the fast track. Don’t skip steps because it is a foundation you are building, and imperative your horse understands the ask or he will give you an answer you don’t want or expect. They represent all personalities as in all breeds, but coupled with a strong desire to please and smart enough to get it quickly you have a trainer’s dream. Maturity is a big factor to be considered as well, as some need a longer period to grow up. We have a small gelding, CHF Traveler, that was so ultra smart as a youngster, he would have taken advantage of anyone lacking experience and common sense. He could have been sold over and over again to moms and grandmas looking for a small horse for their daughter, granddaughters, sons, or grandsons. To those, I thanked but shared, he would not be the horse you want for this child. Now, a few years later, he is amazing. We drive him and will put him under saddle this spring for two reasons. First of all, to enhance his self confidence. And yes, horses need to become confident in their relationship with you. They need to trust you and know without doubt, whatever you ask of them, they will be safe. Second, it gives Traveler the chance to become some special child’s best buddy. And when they outgrow him, size wise, grandma can get out and have some fun driving him. It is a win win for everyone.
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