A Real Breyer Horse
Thank you Ariel Wyall for this article..,
A Breyer Horse.
This fall I was invited to visit Iron Spring Farm in Pennsylvania to meet Goffert 369, also known as Herbie, an 11-year old Friesian stallion who is a model for a new Breyer horse.
I’ve collected Breyer horses since I was very young, so I was exited about meeting the real horse behind the model. I had never seen a Friesian horse close-up either, and knew they were different than my Thoroughbred horse and POA pony at home.
I read as much about the breed as I could find and watched a DVD that showed Goffert in a dressage musical freestyle. He seemed to dance on air and be strong and powerful all at once.
Dressage is my favorite horse sport and the musical freestyle is my favorite kind of riding so I was so excited to be meeting this wonderful horse!
During the 7 hour trip from Ohio with my aunt and grandmother, I was excited, and a little bit nervous. I expected Herbie to be like stallions I had seen in movies and read about in books – beautiful, but wild and dangerous.
When I saw him at the farm he was standing quietly in his stall, very different from what I imagined.
Herbie was going to be shown in the Friesian keuring on that day. A keuring is an evaluation by judges who are experts on the Friesian breed. The horses are given points based on how well they represent the ideal Friesian horse.
A woman named Genie was preparing Herbie for the afternoon event where all the stallions would be shown in hand. It was hard to see him in the dark stall. I could only tell that he was big and black.
As I stepped closer I could see his face and then his eyes. He seemed to be very serious and focused. I think he knew he had a job to do that was very important.
Then he looked at me, and I think his expression changed. He seemed to know that I was not there to judge him but to admire him. For a moment he had a soft and kind look as if to say welcome and he knew I was a friend.
After his grooming, Herbie’s trainer, a lady named Belinda Narin-Wertman, walked him to a field next to the ring that he would be showing in and we could finally see how beautiful Herbie is.
Belinda seemed so small next to him. His long flowing black mane blew in the breeze. This made him look larger and more powerful then any horse I had ever seen.
There were about 30 Friesians being tested that day, so Belinda kept him away from the excitement until his turn in the ring.
Finally Belinda handed Herbie off to his runner, Robby, who would show him to the judges. As soon as he was given to Robby he seemed to forget all the excitement around him. He paid attention only to him and the two became partners.
Robby is an expert horse handler from Holland and he came to Iron Spring Farm especially for this event.
When Herbie entered the ring he was very excited, but never took a wrong step. As he moved across the ground he seemed to be as light as air.
The crowd was quiet at first and then seemed to feel the energy of the powerful horse. He performed so beautifully that he earned the highest possible score and was awarded First Premium, a real honor! Everyone clapped and cheered.
The next day we visited Herbie at Inspo, Belinda’s farm, where he is trained and lives when not traveling to shows.
This is a beautiful farm in the middle of Amish country. I thought what a great place for Herbie to be. As I entered the barn I saw him in the crossties. As soon as we saw each other I felt as if he remembered me, or at least hoped he did.
I was allowed to brush him, and I found out how gentle he really is.
He stood there quietly playing with the lead rope. We brought him outside and I got to hold him. He tried to playfully nip, I think he wanted me to pay more attention to him. I turned and petted him and he seemed to like that and stopped his nipping.
Herbie is much more than just a beautiful stallion. He’s won many competitions at the highest level of dressage. Belinda, said,” He is such a willing Dressage partner. In the saddle I can ask and he will do anything. As a rider I need to be clear about what I ask, and when I am he responds immediately.”
Spending time with a real Breyer horse was a great experience for me.
This is the power of many.