Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

JR is in Horse Heaven



Zips JR Mint “JR”
April 8, 1988 - January 5, 2011

I got an email earlier today that one of my daughter Sara's past show horses, JR, died yesterday. He was fine in the morning during chore time, but they found him gone at afternoon feeding. At the fine age of 23, I pray he went to sleep peacefully.
JR was a gelding by Zippos Mr Good Bar. He had that stunning red roan color. And he had that Zippos Pine Bar movement.

Sara and JR had a wonderful connection. JR was a fun horse to ride. And he wasn't always the easiest horse to ride. Sara made it look easy. It's just sad when you start seeing the horses that your kids rode and showed, die, and you see your kids, and other young adults, sad and heart broken.


JR was Sara's main show horse. Being outstanding in showmanship, she did wellin many classes. The highlight was winning State 4-H Sr. Showmanship. It was amazing to see her practice, which she did every day, treating this event as important as a riding event. I loved watching her do showmanship halterless, with JR in step with Sara. That special day when she won at State 4-H, they were an incredible pair. I remember JR put his head level with Sara’s, and he matched her step for step. When their name was called, they made a beautiful pair, moving together.

JR was also Sara's Horsemanship horse, and when he was on, he was on! He could stop, and turn, and go on a dime. He could perform in a slow, deep lope for western or with a long sweeping canter for English/Hunt Seat classes. Sara and JR performed in Aksarben's Advanced English Equitation class, and had an outstanding flawless performance. It was just breathtaking to watch their partnership and the two of them together.


But when JR was off, he was off. I remember the day, actually evening, at State 4-H, when they were in line up for Senior Horsemanship finals. JR was tired and he didn’t want to be in that line, waiting. He was kicking out and bucking in place. Being the rider that Sara was, she sat calmly, keeping him from disturbing the other horses. She had a smile on her face. She had nailed the pattern, sat on him quietly during line-up, and rode relaxed during the rail work. Sara placed 2nd and received Reserve Champion Senior Horsemanship that year.


JR took Sara from Capitol City playdays, to 4-H shows, to Open shows, to QH shows, and finally to the AQHA Youth World. He was an all-around horse, performing in showmanship, horsemanship pattern classes, pleasure classes, trail, and western riding. Sara taught him to do flying lead changes. As a team, they were competitive at the QH shows in all the pattern classes.

Sara learned how to keep him calm during qualifying season. We parked the trailer in a quiet spot. We left him tied to the trailer, eating from a hay bag. We had him saddled and he was calmly eating. He stood at the trailer until the class before her class was in the arena. Then Sara bridled and mounted him, and took him slowly to the gate. He was ready to perform, and didn’t need or want to be loped into the ground before the class.

I remember when JR first came to live with us, he didn’t even know how to graze. We had him in a small grass lot, and there was still grass in that lot months later. That winter, we had him in with the other horses for a few months. He had to learn to live in a herd and to act like a horse.

JR taught many young riders how to ride, as he was a gentle giant. When Sara's youth years were over, and she was off to college, I knew JR had to continue to teach another young girl to ride. And he did, with another show career with another special girl for the next 8 or 9 years. This was about the same amount of time that we owned him.
JR will be missed. He was one of those special horses that you had a specialbond with. Hugs to both Sara and Subbi. JR was a wonderful horse.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

So sad when our animal friends come to the close of their lives. He was a beautiful boy! I guess all things come with a price, and those of us who attach ourselves to animals, know that along with the love and enrichment they bring to our lives, we will also be facing a great sadness when its their turn to move on to greener pastures.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

Sarah, that was a lovely sentiment. thank you, Brenda

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