Jasper – The Monkey


Jasper, my youngest horse at 5, is the kid around here. Jasper was sent to me by a client when he was a year and a half. I was going to care for him, get him started and help the owner sell him. At the time I had 3 horses, Mic, Prima and Pizano, so I didn’t want another one.

Jasper looks like a mini version of Pizano so I nicknamed him Pi Squared. Lesson learned – don’t nickname any horse that is for sale!

When Pizano died it was gut wrenching. My plan was to just have two horses and move on. But Jasper’s owner had other plans. She knew I adored Jasper and made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. Long story short – I have 3 horses again.

Now I can’t imagine my life without Jasper. He is an old soul in a young body and he makes me laugh daily!

His nickname rapidly changed to “the monkey” and when I finally moved him onto my tiny place with Mic and Prima. The other horses immediately put Jasper in training. Jasper, the monkey, wreaked havoc his first month at home but with daily lessons from me, Mic and Prima he finally settled in and finally began to mature. The daily bite marks tell me that Jasper is still not up to snuff in Mic’s opinion.

Jasper has been a late bloomer. He has always looked about a year or two younger than his actual age and so I have been very slow to get him started under saddle. At 5 he has only carried me for a few rides so far. But I didn’t start Prima under saddle until she was 6 and she seems better for it. For all the mistakes I made with Prima, she has never taken a lame step. So I am in no hurry with Jasper.

Just letting Jasper grow and training him on the ground has proven very valuable. Not only is Jasper a confident young lad now, he finally decided to grow more. Giving his body time to grow has allowed him to turn into a beautiful, strong horse. Just because most horses are started under saddle at 3 does not mean they have to be started at that age. Giving a horse’s body time to mature before riding is part of what keeps them sound for life. There is no real reason we have to get them ridden by 3. Starting a 5 or 6 year old is exactly the same as starting a 3 year old. If the body simply does not mature by 3 then we can set up challenges and patterns in the body that also last a lifetime and become difficult to correct later. Waiting for a horse to look strong enough to carry a rider does not make them more difficult to start under saddle, it makes the job easier on both of us.

Balance is an integration of opposites

How is it that a new problem can help overcome an old problem? Ironically, the solution for many problems we face with horses, often lies in cultivating the opposite problem; one that is uncharacteristic or not normal for the horse. The process of finding balance...

read more

Change at Any Age: The Story of Grace

During certain stages of my life, I remember thinking, am I am too old to make this big of a change. This thought has crossed my mind every decade from teens, twenties, thirties and even in my forties. At least now I can recognize that self-defeating thought and have...

read more

Horse Structure-Function Lecture by Dr. Gavin Scofield, D.O.

Instead of going over my version of the Gavin Scofield clinic, I thought you might enjoy some direct quotes.  Below is a transcript from Gavin's lecture in Kentucky, October 2009. Enjoy! We know what correct is don't we? We have been riding horses for thousands of...

read more


  1. Diane Ayers

    My Jasper likes his snacks in bed too! Does that mean he is spoiled or just well loved?

    • admin

      Well if you ask me, I would say well-loved. If you asked Kirsten, she might say “spoiled” as she does with me over the nightly mints….:-)

  2. small business grants

    Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

Submit a Comment

error: Content is protected !!