Dark brown Dutch Warmblood
Benchmark (call name Marcus) spent a year at Winsong Farm before he was two. His dam and two half-siblings on his mother’s side) were over 17 hands high. Marcus was a leggy youngster, promising to grow really tall.
Marcus was the first youngster to learn tricks and liberty at Winsong Farm. As I led him to his paddock more often than not I’d have a few toys in the barn aisle for him to play with as we exited the barn. He had several favourites. I set up five small orange cones from his stall to the barn door. Each cone hid a piece of carrot. Finding the carrots under the cones helped Marcus to learn how to pick up things. He figured out that picking up the cone revealed the treat underneath.
Many mornings he rolled out the carpet in the barn aisle. I placed small treats which were revealed as Marcus pushed the carpet.
Much to my surprise he taught himself how to walk and trot around me at liberty. He was so accustomed to staying with me that it was a very easy step to begin moving around me. At first I only asked for a few steps, then I’d ask him to “whoa”. He did this perfectly. You could see how proud he was.
Within six months of going to his family’s new farm I received a video of Marcus being started under saddle. He didn’t put a foot wrong. The trainer told his owner, Nancy, that he felt guilty taking money for teaching this horse how to be ridden. The horse seemed to understand every lesson before he was taught it!