All of our horses are as unique as we are. I want to share some of the things that make Bravo…well…Bravo! He is a plain bay gelding with few markings, completely unknown history, and no voice. At first glance, all of these characteristics might make him disappear in a crowd.
In no particular order, here is my top ten list of unique characteristics that make my Bravo unforgettable.
10. He’s a shameless mudder
Some horses don’t like getting dirty, other horses seek out low-lying, poorly-draining areas of the paddock to construct a personal mud wallow.
9. He has HUGE ears and loves having them scratched and rubbed
This was a selling point for me when I bought him- I love big-eared horses. It is also a plus that he permits me to mess with them and actually enjoys it. He will press his face into my chest and close his eyes for as long as I will scratch and massage his ears.
8. He’s a mild roarer so he has no voice
I may have to deal with this at some point down the road, but it is a non-issue with everyday work. He lightly whistles when he breathes as he starts to get tired and he does not call or whinny to other horses. I miss the nickering a little, but he still does it, it’s just whispery. He can still grunt with the best of them and does quite often. Overall, (excepting legitimate breathing issues) it’s actually quite nice to have a horse that is seen but not heard.
7. He LOVES food and all horse treats but is particular about human foods and certain textures
I tried to test a few theories to see if I could sneakily use treats to deliver meds. My experiments always started with a dry run (no meds) and nearly every human food I tried was promptly rejected. Oatmeal creme pies, nutri-grain bars, fruit roll-ups, bananas, granola… he says no thank you!
6. He is the Alpha in his gelding herd
This surprised me a little when I first got him because he is so mild mannered in general. But you never know how herd dynamics will shake out- I do love watching that process, though! It fascinates me how their instincts take over and I love watching him puff up and prance around. So fancy!
5. No chrome, only two white markings
His only white markings are a Harry Potter-esque lightning bolt star and a leaf shaped snip which I took as a sign because my last name has the word leaf in it so I always say he was meant to be with me. The stem on the leaf disappears in the summer but comes back in the fall. It gets kissed literally ALL the time.
4. He is a social butterfly and just the friendliest boy
Bravo is a favorite at the barn because he spends all day (while they are turned out at night in the summer) with his head hanging out of his stall watching everything that’s going on, greeting everyone who walks by, and begging for snacks and snuggles. He’s very much a people horse. Seeing those giant ears prick right on me when I arrive at the barn is everything to me. May I never take for granted that he comes to me when called in the field and eagerly drops his nose into his halter when I come into his stall. He is the friendliest horse greeter- never bites or squeals. I can ride with anyone because he never even pins his ears around other horses.
3. He’s number 211
I have no idea why anyone did this to him, but he has a large numerical hot brand on his high hip. I have heard varying stories on his history. The people I got him from said he was rescued from a warmblood hoarding situation in New Jersey and they branded him in the rescue process. I tracked down the person they bought him from in New Jersey and she said he was from Texas originally and the video she posted of him as a three year old on youtube looks pretty great and not at all like a hoarding situation- so who really knows. My farrier took one look at him and laughed at me and asked why I bought a bucking horse. He’s been branded high- like rough stock often is- so you can see their hip numbers when they’re in the chute. Bottom line, I own a branded warmblood- just not at all in the traditional sense lol. For some, this is a huge turnoff. The numbers burned into his skin are large, unsightly, and leave his rider with no way to seamlessly blend him into the group of high-bred warmbloods that dominate her chosen discipline. His brand offers no elite club, no special sense of identity, nothing. There’s no “demand the brand” situation happening here. All we have are scars. Lucky for him, I am damn proud to show off number 211!
2. He is a total goofball and loves to be silly and play tricks
He gets into everything! If I leave a lunge whip with him in the round pen and leave to go grab something, I will come back to him swinging the whip around with his mouth. He dumps my grooming bag every chance he gets. If someone loses a flymask or halter in the field it becomes his toy. He chases the killdeer around the pasture for sport. Sometimes when I pick out his feet he will pick up his foot and place it back down slightly forward. I’ll ask again and he’ll move it a little to the side. Again, and he’ll cross it over his other leg and stand that way. It’s a game for him! Sometimes he’ll lift the opposite leg and hold it up. He snatched my friend’s riding glove from her breeches pocket the other day and shook it around in the air before trying to eat it. He’s undone snaps and zipped zippers on clothing. And last night he got to second base with a fellow boarder without even taking her on a date first…
1. He’s a Holsteiner, Quarter Horse, …Missouri Fox Trotter cross?!?!
Many of you know your horse’s background, maybe even their entire lineage. I know nothing. The only thing I have to go on is the DNA ancestral breed testing that is currently being offered by the animal genetics lab at Texas A&M. I submitted a hair follicle sample for Bravo and these were his results. I definitely see his number one result: Holsteiner- he seems built for jumping in a lot of ways, he’s 17.1 hh of hugeness without being draft bulky. I don’t really see any Quarter Horse, per se, but QHs are so varied and versatile that it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Missouri Foxtrotter though?!!?!? WTF!?!!? That came out of left field. I thought sure he would be part draft because of his size, so it was a surprise to not see that in his main results. That does not mean he doesn’t have any draft in him, it just doesn’t make up a significant portion of his breeding. I take these results with a grain (or maybe a handful) of salt, but the reality is, they are all I have. It seems plausible that these results support the story of him being rescued from a janky “warmblood” breeding turned hoarding scenario. I definitely think they disprove the idea that he was ever bred for bucking- rodeo folks using much Holsteiner blood these days in their rough stock? lol Whatever kind of backyard breeding produced my beautiful monstrosity, I’ll never know, but he sure is unique.
To me, he’s very special and definitely one of a kind! Blog hop this if you’d like, I’d love to see your horse’s top ten list!!!