Horse of the Week
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Our 'Horse of the Week' is a lovely Friesian mare named Neko who belongs to our newest customer, Johanna Neuteboom of Huntsville, Ontario. We have just completed her website, and she has lots of great info to share on barefoot hoof care, equine massage and carriage and sleigh services.

Johanna has this to say of the lovely Neko:

"Coming from an old line of the baroque style Dutch-bred Friesians, my mare Neko is a tribute to my late father, who immigrated from Holland in the 1950’s, and often spoke to me of the stunningly beautiful black horses of his homeland.

And sure enough Neko is - for me - the embodiment of all that is beautiful in a horse: presence, personality, an engaging spirit and an innate intelligence. She has an endearing curiosity and an unassuming approach to life; she’s my inspiration to remain focused on the beauty and simplicity in all our lives. She is the signature horse of my own equine business, and represents the essence of our basic philosophy: a natural, holistic approach to horse care and training, where our long-term relationship and mutual development takes precedence over any short term goals that either she, or I may have.

Friesian PortraitNeko stands just a little over 15h3, and will just this year (as a 5 year old) begin to fill out into her full Friesian form and presence. She has been brought up in a very “liberal” lifestyle, and I jokingly call her my "Waldorf Child". While I certainly try to remain the alpha mare in our relationship, she has a say in all of our activities together, and will always share her opinion! With a spirited toss of her glorious mane and an extra spring in her step, she'll let me know that she's ready for the games we play and adventures we take.

She's been taught largely at liberty, through the judicious use of agility-type games more commonly seen in the dog world: obstacle courses similar to western trail classes and an assortment of tarps, tires, bridges, tunnels… indeed anything that we come across or create, we play with! From the ground and without contact, she will side pass, perform a perfect shoulder-in, back-up in a straight line in a collected 4-beat walk, trailer-load at the point of a finger, and perform a perfectly balanced 20 metre circle, perfectly collected, both ways. On a good day, that is…

On her more… uhmm… playful days, she will kick up her heels, execute a perfect 180 degree spin and canter gleefully away. Only to turn back and face me, 40 metres away and give me a look of "OK, I didn’t feel like doing that… so now what’s next?"

Although not yet really trained under saddle, she has recently begun her education in harness, and just loves to go exploring along our roads. That’s where her curiosity really kicks in. I do plan to start riding her lightly this year, and will continue her training from a non-resistance, minimal contact approach. If all goes well, she will be my first horse that will be trained bridle-less right from the beginning.

Equine WellnessHer sire, Wander, is no stranger to "the silver screen" (Beddazled, Zorro) and has been the poster boy for many calendars and product promotions over the years. And just recently, Neko herself has made her debut into the modeling world. Thanks to the magnificent photography of Leslie Town, Neko has been chosen to represent the rare Friesian breed on the cover of this month’s Equine Wellness Magazine. I'm still debating whether I should tell her or not… she’s already quite full of herself and this may be just enough to make her unbearably self-aware!"

Congratulations to Neko for being our May 11th, 2009 'Horse of the Week'!

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