February's horse of the month is our favorite gentle giant, Crosby - formally known as Bay Rhythm.
Crosby's traveled a long road, mostly with Hope, the human partner he's had since he was three. Born in NY State, this Selle Francais is a copy (we can't say "miniature" - Crosby is 18 hands tall!) of his sire, the well-known Obscur II.
When they met, Hope had been searching for a mature, trained horse - maybe 15 years old and ready to show. She didn't find a suitable partner, so began looking for a 10 year old, not so finished. Then Hope began shopping for a 6 year old. When the three and a half year old Crosby was recommended to Hope, she laughed, but she also looked at the handsome youth. While Hope was still considering Crosby, who was at the barn where she was riding, he let her know that he had already picked her. Like a boy courting his crush, Crosby watched Hope whenever she was near and nudged her whenever she was within reach.
Finally, Hope committed and, with the help of professional trainers, Crosby and Hope became a team and began a long career in show jumping, earning several CHJA (Connecticut Hunter & Jumper Association) year-end awards, including Reserve Champion for Modified Adult Hunter in 2003, Champion in Modified Adult Equitation and High Point Adult Amateur Champion in 2003.
A few years ago, Crosby developed a bad quarter crack that went all the way to the coronet band. Although they both loved to jump, Hope decided a sound dressage horse was preferable to a lame jumper. In 2010, they began showing in the dressage ring.
This second career kept Crosby in the show ring, which he enjoys, so switching disciplines was good for them both. In 2012, they racked up more accomplishments:
- qualified for the USDF (United States Dressage Federation) Regional Championships
- won a 6th place NEDA (New England Dressage Association) year-end award for Training Level Adult Amateur
- 6th place for schooling shows, Training Level Adult Amateur in Connecticut Dressage Association (CDA) year-end awards
- Reserve Champion for recognized shows, Training Level Adult Amateur in CDA year-end awards
In 2013, just four years into their new show career, Hope and Crosby took 8th place for NEDA in Training Level Adult Amateur and again won two CDA year-end awards: 3rd place for schooling shows - and Champion for recognized shows in the Training Level Adult Amateur division!
But it's not all work for these two. Crosby plays as hard as he works, and he started early. Shortly after Hope bought Crosby, she came to the barn and found Crosby had learned to pluck his halter from its hook, which was just within reach from his stall, and fling it to the ground. A human passing by would pick it up, pat him and give him a treat. He'd found a great game - training humans!
This is a pair that works and plays well together. Pull up a stool in the viewing room, if you get a chance, and enjoy watching the team of Hope and Crosby!