Sabrina is a black, Oldenburg mare who joined us for retirement not quite two years ago. Sabrina’s story started in Michigan where she was born in 1997. Sabrina was bred for dressage and sired by the well known Holsteiner stallion Cor Noir. At her foal inspection Sabrina was awarded Premium Foal by the International Sport Horse Registry/Oldenburg North America registry when she was presented, scoring an impressive 8 out of 10 points.


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Not a lot is known about Sabrina’s early years. As a young horse she was sold to someone in Ohio, and lived with this person for about eight years. During that time she was lightly ridden but mostly just loved and treated like a pet. After eight years with this loving owner Sabrina was sold to a trainer in Ohio in 2009. From what Sabrina’s mom has learned, Sabrina’s owner was devastated to have to sell her after  years, and sold her with the repeated warning that Sabrina was never to be placed in cross ties. More on that later.

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In June of 2009 Sabrina found herself with a new owner and had a job in a lesson program. Being in a lesson program turned out to be a terrible job description for Sabrina. Some horses are excellent lesson horses, and others need the consistency of the same rider and a consistent program. Sabrina needed her own person and quickly became sour, and at times uncooperative, in the lesson program. Several months later in 2010 Sabrina was for sale again.

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Sabrina showing off her ribbon after she and her mom won their first dressage test togethersabrina-3-600x800

For various reasons Sabrina didn’t sell, and she continued in the lesson program. It was fate that Sabrina remained in the lesson program. In June of 2011 Sabrina’s future mom and forever home decided to start taking riding lessons. Sabrina’s mom had loved horses for as long as she could remember but she never had the opportunity to take riding lessons. After the passing of her father in 2011 she decided it was time to do something for herself and pursue her lifelong dream, so she signed herself up for riding lessons.

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When Sabrina’s mom started her lessons she was paired up with Sabrina as her lesson horse. Sabrina was unhappy in her role as a lesson horse while her future mom was thrilled to finally be pursuing her lifelong dream. She would arrive early for her lessons to spend extra time grooming and being with Sabrina. After a few weeks of her future mom spending a lot of extra time with her Sabrina started to blossom and was much more cooperative for her future mom than for other people.

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After a few months of taking lessons life forced Sabrina’s mom to stop the lessons for a few months. When she was able to start taking lessons again Sabrina’s mom wasn’t sure that she was going to ride at the same barn again. However, the trainer at the barn happened to get in touch with her and invited her to come audit a clinic she was hosting. She audited the clinic, visited with Sabrina, and started taking riding lessons on Sabrina again.

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Sabrina’s mom was so happy to be taking lessons and spending time with Sabrina that she started thinking about the fact that Sabrina was for sale. At the end of 2011 Sabrina’s mom began to think about purchasing Sabrina. It was a lot to think about given that she was just learning how to ride, had never owned a horse, and hadn’t intended to buy a horse. However, she worried about where Sabrina would ultimately end up as her dislike of being a lesson horse continued and she continued to get more uncooperative in the lesson program. In April of 2012 Sabrina’s mom decided to fulfill her dream of not only riding but having her own horse, and she purchased Sabrina. Sabrina had found her permanent home.

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Sabrina, Norman and Cuffieimg_3834-800x600

Sabrina’s mom wanted to learn about dressage and began working with a dressage instructor.  At their very first dressage show together Sabrina and her mom won a blue ribbon. Although Sabrina tried hard to please under saddle, after only a few months it became apparent that Sabrina had some discomfort and physical limitations. Sabrina’s mom began digging into her past, and learned about a terrible incident that Sabrina had at the lesson barn. Despite the fact that Sabrina came with the warning to never be put on the cross ties, she was put in them anyway. One day she flipped over in the cross ties and fell on her back on the concrete floor. Sabrina’s mom was never told of this accident prior to purchasing her.

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Sabrina grooming Sparkyimg_0262-800x600

Sabrina’s mom worked with her vet to discover why Sabrina often seemed uncomfortable under saddle. They found that Sabrina had a misaligned and arthritic cervical spine undoubtedly from the cross tie incident. She also had some arthritis in one hock and one knee, possibly secondary to the cervical arthritis and misalignment. Sabrina’s mom did everything she could to make sure Sabrina was comfortable including injections, anti-inflammatories, shockwave and massage. When reasonable steps failed to keep Sabrina comfortable under saddle Sabrina’s mom decided to push her dreams of learning dressage aside and just spend time with Sabrina.  She simply enjoyed spending time with Sabrina and they did ground work and natural horsemanship together.

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Eventually Sabrina’s mom realized that Sabrina would be happiest and most comfortable in an environment where she could be out of her stall more than three or four hours per day. She knew some people who had horses retired with us, and in the spring of 2016 Sabrina joined us for retirement.

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When describing Sabrina I always say that she was born to be retired. Group living with friends is the perfect environment for Sabrina. Within a couple of months of her arrival we were able to wean Sabrina off her ulcer medication. Her soundness improved dramatically, to the point where it is typically hard to tell why she was retired in the first place.

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Sparky, Sabrina and Bonnieimg_8722-800x600

Sabrina would tell you that the best part of retirement has been Sparky the donkey. Over the years Sparky has had a long list of admirers who have been obsessed with him. Apollo, Leo and Faune are a few horses that became obsessed with Sparky. Sabrina is the latest in a long line of Sparky admirers. Sabrina now spends her days eating, hanging out, and obsessing over Sparky and directing his every move. She thinks that life could not be more perfect or fulfilling while she fawns over Sparky and does her best to keep other horses away from him. Sabrina definitely thinks she has the perfect life.

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We hope you enjoyed meeting Sabrina!