This will be a three part post for Learning Horses January Horse of the Month. This month's featured horse is E'soete (aka Soda), a 17.3h American Hanoverian. Soda is bright orange with tons of personality! Congrats and thanks to owner Elisia Fernandez for writing about how she became Soda's mom. It is a fascinating story, so I hope you will come back to read the rest! If you would like your horse to be considered for February Horse of the Month, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How I became Soda's mom... by Elisia Fernandez
I grew up in urban Seattle and to try and get this "horse thing" out of my veins my mom took me to a farm for a trail ride. I was hooked and from that day forward I spent every living moment working at farms to pay for lessons and chances to ride anything. I started riding western and gaming but quickly moved to an English barn where I felt much more comfortable. I am OK with the fact that I AM a horse snob. At first I wanted to ride jumpers but after meeting an amazing dressage horse named Lido I decided that dressage was the way to go.
Lido ended up being the first horse that I would have as my own. His story is one for another day. After several years with Lido and many other horses that came along my path I decided that I needed a change. I moved to another farm and met a trainer that to this day I still admire and work with whenever possible. After a few years with Stetson - a Thoroughbred that had limited talent with dressage I decided that I wanted to show on the "A" circuit and needed a horse that I could be competitive on. I sold Stetson to a family and started my hunt for my next horse.
My trainer and now partner in finding my next mount encouraged me to go look at an unstarted youngster by Empire. I declined as I knew several Empire horses that I did not get along with. I continued the hunt. I looked at many horses finding each one to be either lame, unsuitable for dressage, out of my limited budget or just plain ugly. Finally in desperation to find a mount before the next season I went to Heritage Farms with my trainer to look at the unstarted colt. We first went to look at "Exceptional" Soda's full sister. She was full grown and about 17.1hh. She was sweet and STUNNING! I was sceptical that this horse I was about to look at could possibly be within my budget. I was brought to an indoor arena where Soda was loose. I walked up to him and he put his nose in my hair and blew on my neck. It was all over and I was in LOVE.
He was not quite the sight his sister was - at just under 3 he was gangly and very out of balance. I made an offer and was amazed when it was accepted. The very next day I was back with a vet, a check and a trailer to bring him home. I was out of my league with this horse and so enlisted the help of my trainer to help me start Soda. From then on Soda and I were a team. We went for long walks in the neighborhoods he lived in and taught me how to work with young hot (and LARGE) horses. Among many other lessons I learned with Soda he taught me that a youngster is NOT going to be ready to show until he is ready - there is no time line for that. Fast forward 3 years and countless lessons, trail rides, long gallops in open fields, schooling shows clinics with fabulous instructors, Soda and I found ourselves living in Spokane, Washington. We started showing at the Spokane Sporthorse Farm shows. We quickly moved through the tests until we had completed training, first and second levels. We were schooling the beginnings of third level when a snowstorm changed our paths forever.