George is a gray Hanoverian gelding who joined us for retirement from the Seattle area a few months ago. Someone commented to me a few days ago that we have “all of the cool horses” living on our farm. George definitely falls into the category of one of the cool horses!
George and his mom first met each other six years ago. George had been imported from Germany and found himself in dressage training with Betsy Steiner. After being in dressage training for awhile it was decided that George would made an excellent hunter. He was sent to a sales barn in New Jersey, and this was where he would meet his future mom.
George posing after winning another championship
In the meantime back in Seattle George’s soon-to-be-mom was on the hunt for a new horse. Her trainer was attending a horse show in Washington state where Chrystine Tauber was judging. Christine had brought with her a CD of a young sales horse and showed it to her trainer. George’s soon-to-be-mom and her trainer flew to New Jersey to look at this horse. The horse on the CD was a lovely, athletic horse, but the consensus was that he wasn’t going to work for George’s mom.
George had just come in to the barn as a sales horse and ended up being one of the other horses on the list for his future mom to try. Because George’s jumping experience was so minimal, it was hard to assess how well suited he would be to jumping. However, before leaving the sales barn his future mom stopped went by to see George and see what he was like in the stall. He happily nickered to her. She decided that any horse that was that kind and friendly was a keeper regardless of jumping experience (or the lack thereof) and basically decided to buy him based on his personality.
George and his team heading back to the barn after another winning day
Soon George found himself on a trailer traveling from New Jersey to Washington state. He arrived just before midnight on July 3rd, and was greeted by all of the early 4th of July fireworks going off everywhere. George calmly walked into his stall and started eating hay, proving to his mom that she had made a great judgement call on his personality and temperament.
The top photo is George getting the award for the best braids in the Northwest at the Evergreen Classic. The bottom photo is George in action at the Evergreen Classic.
George was a quick study in his hunter training. In his first year of showing in the hunters he was the Washington State Hunter/Jumper Association Champion in the Baby Green division and Reserve Champion in the Large Hunters. He went on to show in the pre-greens and then the green divisions, and in the amateur divisions with his mom. George loved everything about horse shows with the exception of the early morning baths (gotta love keeping a grey clean!) and he and his mom won many championships together. As she said although we’re all fond of saying showing is not about winning . . . in reality it IS really nice to win!
In addition to being a wonderful show horse George is just a great horse in general. He is the type of horse that is easy to do anything with and he is always very trusting of the people around him. When he arrived at our farm he had no trouble winning fans, everyone from us to the vet to the farrier comments on his perfect manners. I jokingly refer to him as Mary Poppins because he is “practically perfect in every way.” George is also an expert at asking for treats. His mom said that “George loves people and he loves treats and in his mind those two things are very closely linked. At some point in his life he determined that if he cocked his head a certain way, stretched his neck up, and curled his lip like he was going into anaphylactic shock, someone would produce a treat. This little mannerism has served him extremely well through the years and added inches to his waistline.”
Thanks to his charming personality George has managed to lead a very charmed life. One of his favorites treats in the world are See’s Peppermint Twists. His mom would go in to the See’s store and often bought upwards of 8 bags of See’s Peppermint Twists at any one time. Since her purchases happened fairly frequently and was obviously not a seasonal (e.g. Christmas) purchase, the ladies in the store were finally compelled to ask her what she did with all of those peppermints. She explained that she had a horse who was particularly fond of them. One of the ladies asked if she would be willing to bring in some photos of George so they could be used in the See’s Candy corporate newsletter. George was up at Pegasus Rehabilitation Center at that time, so Vanessa DeRoux, Rehabilitation Manager, took some “Peppermint George” photos. In return for the photos George received a letter and very large case of See’s Peppermints from the company President. The Peppermint George photos can be seen in the Redmond See’s store.
Two of the Peppermint George pictures
In addition to the Peppermint George photos George was also featured in an ad for his farrier, Tom Wright. When they were getting everything set up to take the photo for the ad George initially had his halter on. Her trainer suggested they take the halter off. His mom said she was originally horrified by the thought. However true to his personality instead of trying to wander off George was fighting for the best camera angles and making sure they got his good side!
George posing sans halter with his farrier Tom Wright (please excuse my crooked scan of the ad!)
Unfortunately George sustained a severe tear to his left front superficial digital flexor tendon. His mom pulled out all of the stops for George’s rehab, including sending him to the renown Pegasus Rehabilitation Center. George became an expert on the water treadmill and the eurowalker. Despite the best veterinary care and the world class facilities and expertise at Pegasus, George’s tear was just too severe, initially a 65% tear, for a return to work. His mom was faced with the decision of retiring her amazing partner.
George supervising the action at the water treadmill at Pegasus
George going for a handwalk in front of the beautiful barn at Pegasus
It goes without saying that we are honored to host George in his retirement. Although he is no longer an advertising icon or winning championships at horse shows, George is still living life to the fullest. He loves to play hard with his best friend Asterik (they bring to life the term “horsing around”) and the rest of his friends. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know George as much as we have!