EN Today: A parent’s perspective
Evening mum Kris Ennis tells the story of how her family came to connect with Findhorn, her daughter Jules’ first advanced horse.
In compiling the results of the 2011 EN Census, we found many supportive parents of eventers. Which made us think: we would love to hear from you! We certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without our wonderful moms and dads. It would be great to share the Parent’s Perspective here on Eventing Nation. If you have thoughts or experiences to share, please send them to [email protected] with “Parent” in the title. Thanks to Kris Ennis for sharing her story of her daughter Jules and their horse Findhorn.-Visionaire
Findhorn – The International Horse
What is your horse’s story?
How do you say hello to your horse? With Findhorn, I’m not quite sure if I should greet him with a G’day mate, lei hao, kia ora, hola, or hello! However, he doesn’t seem to care what I say as long as the greeting is accompanied with a yummy treat and a scratch on the forehead.
As a child after reading the novel, Black Beauty, I have always been intrigued by where a horse has come from and what it has done in its past life. But horses aren’t as forthcoming as people in spilling their life history. Although he is tight lipped about it, my daughter’s seventeen year old Australian Thoroughbred, Findhorn, is quite the international traveler. Findhorn was born in Queensland Australia in 1995. Like Boyd Martin he had an American parent, Real Cash that had made Australia his new home. Rumor has it that Findhorn then went to Hong Kong for a racing career. He must not have been a champ in the racing circuit because Findhorn was soon shipped to New Zealand where he began his career in eventing. In his first year of eventing, Finn finished with a win at a CCI* and was promptly sold to Mexico. There are not a lot of horse trials in Mexico, but Finn competed in about two FEI CCI*’s a year for about five years. We were told that in his last two years he was mainly ridden by the owner’s daughter for dressage and show jumping. His Mexican owners were moving and sent Findhorn up to Virginia in 2007 for Findhorn to be sold. That’s where Findhorn’s present day life began when my thirteen year old daughter went and tried Finn out at Windchase Farm.
We had made the decision to find a gentle horse for Jules to move up from training level to Intermediate. We treked over to Virginia to find a sweet, if not a bit thin thoroughbred with sad looking feet. The Mexican farriers had not been too kind to Finn’s feet for the last six years and we knew this would be his major maintenance issue. Finn was the first horse Jules had tried in this search for her future upper level horse. As soon as Jules got on Finn, she nodded her head that this horse was meant for her. He had a beautiful trot and was a joy to ride on the flat. Phillis Dawson watched as Jules timidly went over fences, then stepped in and started shouting at her to relax, get out of Findhorn’s way, and let the horse do the jumping. And boy could he jump! Their partnership was born then and there
For the next couple of years Jules and Findhorn established trust and their relationship as Jules honed her skills at training level. After fourteen horse trials in the Training Divisions, Findhorn had more than proven that he was ready and willing to safely take my daughter up to the next level. While I had been extremely nervous when Jules rode her first training course I could see a confidence in both horse and rider and watched with pride as they conquered the Preliminary cross country. Findhorn was bold to the fences looking for the next one as soon as he landed. He was a sleek sports car out in that field. Galloping cross country was what Findhorn was born to do. I don’t know if he was remembering back to his days in beautiful New Zealand or Mexico, but you could see in his powerful stride and nifty jumping that he would rather be nowhere else than the hills of Virginia as he handily finished the course. Findhorn fulfilled all his and his girl’s dreams over the next two years while they moved up the levels to finish their final competition at Advanced in fourth place!
It’s now time for Findhorn to begin the next phase of his life while his “girl” begins hers. Just like her horse, Jules now begins her life as an International competitor and world traveler. She will be bringing her younger stead, Walstraed back to England from whence he came three years ago. Walstraed, just like Findhorn, also has a lot of stories to tell, with his life beginning in Holland, moving to England, then the United States, and back to England again! We will leave his memoirs for another day.
In the mean time, Findhorn our Amexaunislander thoroughbred, is looking for the perfect next home. He is ready to bring another one or two riders up the levels…patiently waiting for the glory days where he can again joyfully gallop cross country, flying over jumps, splashing through the water and up and down banks.
All photos by Jay Ennis
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