30 Years Young

Somehow I got stuck in the new block editor and can’t caption anything, so all the pictures of Pete not tacked up were taken last week to celebrate his 30th birthday. He is looking amazing this spring!!! The others are from Dusty and Pete’s riding time together from 2010 – 2015.

“10 year old Haflinger gelding. 16H $800”

Moments before Dusty had been sitting next to me on the couch and leaned over asking “When are you finding me a haflinger?” He had fallen for one at the barn Gem was in training at and wanted one of his own.

Mere minutes later I found that ad on Craigslist and had contacted the seller. Two days later we went to meet him. It was obvious from the moment we saw him that he was a) not a haflinger and b) not 10 years old, but it was also obvious we weren’t going to leave him in the dark and damp 8×8 stall with overgrown hooves and ribs showing.

So we brought him to Gem’s barn and quickly got to know him.

We still have no idea what his real breeding is. Likely a Belgian cross or some such draft breed with his coloring. Doesn’t really matter in the end. His exact birthday is also unknown but Gem’s is May 10th, so we chose to celebrate his then as well.

Pete has been an amazing horse to have around. He is scared to death on the ground and Wyatt still has to move very slowly and quietly around him and there are days where he shies even from me if I have a different hat on or a rain coat. I don’t know if that’s inherent to him or if someone beat the snot out of him, but nearly a decade later it hasn’t changed.

Under saddle though is a different story. The only other time Dusty had even ridden was 5 years earlier on our honeymoon trip in France. He got Pete and the world opened up for him. The two were a great pair together as Dusty is naturally athletic, doesn’t scare easily and has a great sense of humor. He goes with the flow even when that flow was Pete cantering sideways into a tree or nearly off a cliff. Pete needed someone who would laugh off his antics and Dusty provided that for him. Dusty needed a partner who was up for anything and always ready to go and that was Pete. I don’t think Dusty will ever find a better horse.

Pete is a trail boss and will go over, under and through anything without a second thought. He loves a good gallop and never puts a hoof wrong. What always really lit him up was jumping. Our barn in WI had a small xc course and those two would do banks, ditches and corners without batting an eye. Had we known Eventing was a thing back then (we were at a dressage barn and everything else within 2 hours was western) those two would have eaten it up. Had they been able to stay in the dressage court.

Dusty mostly retired Pete once Wyatt came around. He was 24 at the time and there just wanted enough hours with work and Wyatt. He stayed mostly retired until we moved to the rental farm in 2017 and Dusty tried bringing him out again. We trailered to Trainer’s facility for a fun ride and he went but then refused to be caught or come near us in the pasture for a week after.


He was done being a riding horse and that was fine with us. He was 28 after all and deserved to be retired if he wanted to be.


Now he gets to enjoy life with no pressures. He grazes and naps in the sun and gets his balancer twice a day in his stall. Two years ago I switched to Tribute feed and he has really blossomed on it. This is the best he has ever looked coming out of winter.


Summer makes me worry a bit as he doesn’t handle the heat well, but evening cool down showers and access to plenty of shade helps.

Happy Birthday Old Man Winter!! I have we have another 10 years with you.

12 thoughts on “30 Years Young”

  1. He looks great, and so shiny! Happy birthday to Pete (and Gem)! It is Major’s birthday today too, so May is just a good month for good horses.


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