Taco is a Connemara/Thoroughbred cross who was born in Ireland in 1991. Taco started his riding career in Ireland as a foxhunter. For those who aren’t familiar, the Irish are serious about their foxhunting. Their horses have to be brave, surefooted, and willing to jump big obstacles from tough terrain. Despite his relatively small stature at about 15 hands, Taco proved himself to be a very capable foxhunter. Taco’s prowess as a foxhunter was spotted by an American when he was five, and he was then imported to Virginia to continue his career as a foxhunter.
Taco continued his foxhunting career in Virginia for a few years before being sold to someone in Texas. He carried on as foxhunter in Texas for a couple of years before being sent to Long Island to be sold.
As Taco was en route to Long Island, his future forever family was facing a crisis of their own. His future family had two horses that they kept at their farm on Long Island, and one of their horses died unexpectedly. Their horse Snoopy that was left behind was hysterical, frantically running the fence and calling for his friend. Taco had been purchased by acquaintances of theirs, and he was delivered to their farm by the shipper to step-in as an interim companion for Snoopy.
Taco walked off the trailer after his long trip from Texas and into the pasture with Snoopy. Snoopy instantly calmed down and Taco settled in quietly. Originally known as Dylan, the shipper that brought him from Texas to Long Island called him Taco because he thought it suited him better. The name stuck as the family started referring to him as Taco instead of Dylan.
As Taco kept Snoopy company and recovered from his trip from Texas the family noticed that Taco was lame. They had their vet out to look at him who felt his future long term soundness was questionable. Even though they hadn’t intended to buy another horse, and definitely not a lame horse, they decided to buy Taco after he had been at their farm for a couple of weeks. Within a couple of weeks Dylan had changed his name to Taco and found his forever family.
At first Taco’s family only planned for him to be a companion horse to Snoopy. However, after a year of pasture rest at their farm he looked sound again. Their daughter had been taking riding lessons and started riding Taco at their farm. Taco was very patient and forgiving with his beginner rider, and they immediately forged a bond.
After awhile Taco’s family moved him to a show barn so that he and his young rider could have easier access to lessons and training. For the next four years Taco and his young rider took the show ring by storm. They showed in the hunters, jumpers and equitation, and Taco easily transitioned from a foxhunter to a show horse. Taco’s family said he would puff up and make himself look like a much bigger horse when it was his turn to go into the show ring. Taco and his young rider won boxes of blue ribbons and championships while competing against bigger, fancier horses. Taco even showed and won at the prestigious Hampton Classic horse show. The announcer there liked his name so much he would make a production out of saying it, announcing that TACOOOOOO was now entering the ring.
When Taco was not carrying his young rider around the show ring earning blue ribbons he was busy being the perfect family horse. They never needed a leadrope to take him from the stall to the pasture, he would just follow along all on his own. He and his young rider spent four summers teaching the younger kids at summer camp. Taco was the patient volunteer for grooming, anatomy lessons, bathing and braiding. He would stand patiently while a group of little kids hugged and brushed on him for hours.
After four years of being ridden, shown and loved by their daughter, it came time for her to move on to a bigger horse in order to continue her riding education. Taco’s family decided they did not want to lease or sell him. They had many offers for both as Taco had developed quite a following at the shows and at their barn over the years. They decided they didn’t want to take the chance of him ending up being a schooly or being leased to a different young rider each season, so they decided to retire him. One of their good friends had a horse horse retired with us, and recommended us to Taco’s family. Four and a half years ago Taco made the trip from Long Island to Tennessee to retire.
Taco was everything his family said he was when he arrived at our farm. He was friendly, had perfect ground manners, and was scared of men. His family doesn’t know why Taco has such an ingrained fear of men but they said he had been that way since they met him. He had to be sedated for the farrier and the vet had to move very slowly around him. Jason spent a lot of time feeding Taco and otherwise asking nothing of him to get Taco to relax around him. To this day I have to hold Taco for the farrier and not Jason, and our farrier makes a point of moving very slowly and quietly while working on him.
Taco has spent the last 4+ years enjoying his retirement. Taco is the type of horse that gets along with everyone, so he is a popular horse in his pasture. I find it cute that one of his buddies, Sebastian, is also a Connemara cross that was imported from Ireland as a foxhunter, wound up living on Long Island, and also showed at the Hampton Classic. I have no doubt that they have some interesting stories to share with each other as they relive their glory days.
Taco has now been owned and loved by his family for ten years. From his start in Ireland as Dylan to his retirement as Taco in Tennessee, he has had a long and interesting life. We hope you have enjoyed meeting Taco as much as we have!