Equine Leadership Program

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      September 17, 2021

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Equine Leadership Program
Photo by bjoern kommerell @bkheadshots Chance, Regalo, and Kayak content to just be hangin’ out with the herd.
Hangin’ with the Herd Kayak Kayak was born 22 years ago in France as a pure black colt, his genes arising from an old Baroque Lusitano bloodline. He was brought to the U.S. at about 4.5 years old and became famous as a black Lusitano stallion in many arenas of the Portuguese bullfighting tradition (bloodless bullfights). Kayak stood up to 3000-pound bulls, being extremely courageous like one could never imagine; he is never afraid of anything. We brought him to La Esperanza at age 14. He quickly became a huge part of my riding school at the time and has always been incredibly loyal, strong-minded, focused, trustworthy, reliable, and loving with everyone. His little naughtiness is so cute and he makes me laugh often just hanging out with him and the other horses around the barn or when they are all out together running around on their four acres of land that we grant them. They need that space to run with the herd. He is not an Alpha horse. In fact, he takes his place gracefully, but every now and then steps up and demands his spot to make sure he is never left behind or unnoticed. Chance About two years ago, I went to my Portuguese friend Marc’s place to look at a Lusitano with one of my riding students. He showed us an 11-year-old stallion, a sweet guy, greyish-white with a long, thick, darker gray mane, a pretty boy and a good size. He had exceptionally strong legs that I immediately noticed. The horse didn’t work out for my student, but I liked something about this guy and he inspired me (Show me a horse I don’t like!). There is a huge difference in me liking a horse and me falling for a horse and I think I was in between those two realities. I decided to try him out and from the moment I started riding him, I felt the power in him and realized he was just not strong enough, not conditioned enough at the time. He had a weak back muscles and was trying so hard to work with me, almost saying: “I want to be your horse.” I felt that message from him and that made me decide to purchase him. Sabine named her new horse when she “...learned that he had not been ridden and was somewhat neglected over a period of five years and needed a new ‘Chance’ in life. There was his name.” Dominio & Regalo The Story of Dominio (not pictured) and Regalo must be told together! Regalo came first, in 2006. He was to be a surprise birthday present to my husband, Malcolm, but a month before his birthday, the seller withdrew from the sale. They offered another horse named “Until,” a grey, six-year-old gelding brought in from Brazil, fully third level dressage trained.. He was tall, his long, black mane covered his face and neck, and his color was “stones under water.” Beautiful. After the birthday, when I brought him home, it didn’t take much time for me to absolutely fall in love with him. He turned out to be a challenging horse and we decided, he was not the horse for Malcolm. I nicknamed him Regalito and he became my horse! I had gotten myself my own present! The same year, Malcolm got a Friesian, Guapo, another stunning creature with the biggest heart one could imagine. Unfortunately, we lost him too soon to colic. The loss took away Malcolm’s fun in coming to the barn to ride another horse. I made another call to my friend, who sold Regalo to me and, Surprise! “Until” was still with him and for sale, now at 11 years old. Can you believe it? Buying the same horse twice, first when he was five, then again when he had just turned 11? I decided to call him Dominio. He is a true Alpha horse, a wonderful, loving and caring friend, and the leader of our small herd. He had to be gelded before bringing him to our barn and all the horses now live a peaceful herd life together. —Sabine Niederberghaus Founder of Equine Leadership Program
The Canyon Chronicle

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