Frankie (USEF name To Be Frank) is a 16 year old, 17.1hh Oldenburg x TB who is probably the coolest horse I’ve ever worked with (totally not biased or anything). He has earned and re-earned his barn nickname of The Brown Unicorn.
Big Man is my first horse as an adult and he came home with me at the end of March 2016 – it was love at first jump and we clicked instantly. First trial on a Friday, second trial on a Monday, vet out on Tuesday, signed the check Wednesday. I hopped on for a lesson that night and he has been a steady Eddie from hour one.
He’s the kind of horse that can go win a speed class at an AA show one day, and hack around bareback in a halter the next. He will jump anything in front of him without blinking, doesn’t actually know how to spook, and will fall asleep in the crossties getting groomed.
He is an absolute jumping machine. Come hell or high water, he is jumping the jump I point him to. Fill, no fill, mounting block, traffic cone, yoga mat, triple bar, liverpool, brush, we’ve jumped everything in our path. Nothing phases him and he gallops up to all of it with ears pricked. We spent our 2016 season in the 1.0m Low Adults, moved up to the 1.10-1.15m Highs in 2017, he started exploring the 1.20m classes with my trainer in 2018, we played around in the eq and derby rings in 2019. We went back to the jumper ring in 2020 before the world shut down, and then he spent some time on lease with a junior rider while I birthed his future short-stirrup rider. He’s now back with me and we’re planning our triumphant return to the jumper ring for the 2022 season!
Frankie is truly the most forgiving horse I’ve ever met- he lets me make mistakes without holding a grudge and is always game to go back and try again. He’s such a relaxed and confident dude every time I pull him out of his stall, loves his job, and is happy to do it. We’ve yet to find anything that flusters him or gets him worked up. It’s been super cool to feel his progress at horse shows- while he’s always been willing to try, these days he is an absolute professional when he hears that buzzer.
While he’s been a Very Good Boy since day 1, he’s just gotten better and better with every passing day. He’s got a great work ethic, is super trainable, and is straight up fun to ride. My trainer and I joke that developing him over time has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears – minus the blood and tears. We knew he would be a solid citizen when we bought him, but he has developed into a more athletic, more talented, better trained, straight up fancier horse than we ever expected or could’ve hoped for.
Clearly I’m biased because he’s my sweet angel boy, but this horse is one of the most incredible creatures I could ever have the fortune of learning from. His steadiness and consistency has given me the confidence to dream bigger than I ever imagined I could. I’ll never stop being grateful for the patience he shows, the joy he shares, and the partnership we’ve grown. He’s the most goofy, affectionate, happy, reliable, playful source of light.
Horses that made me:
My beautiful girl Addy (often referred to here as Pretty Girl).
I half-leased this sweet girl for over a year and we had so many firsts together. She took me from juuust getting back in the saddle after several years off, to my first show in over 10 years, to my first 3′ division, to my first jumper show ever, to my first XC schooling, all sorts of firsts.
She wasn’t always the easiest ride- she had a habit of saying NOPE to unfamiliar jumps, and slowing down was a struggle for her- but I could always trust her to be sane and safe for me, no matter the setting. She taught me so much and helped mold me into the rider I am today!
My handsome boy Star.
After winning a Short Stirrup year-end final (impressive, I know), my parents decided that I was dedicated enough to warrant getting my own show pony. We got this big Holsteiner beefcake a few months later to take me from crossrails up to 3′. I fell off him more times than I can count and he was a bit of a handful on the ground, but he was my absolute best friend in high school and taught me SO much.
Star went on to teach some other kids the ropes, spent some time on the Dartmouth equestrian team, and now is happily semi-retired down in Florida with a family that dotes on him.