dressage, dressage barns, School Horses, Schoolmasters

Jaffa Heart of Gold

Jaffa is the 20-something schoolmaster in our barn. I took lessons on him for several months when I was a newcomer to the barn. It was a great way for me to get to know Natalie and, likewise, for her to assess my strengths and weaknesses.

Old man whiskers detract from Jaffa's noble head

Old man whiskers detract from Jaffa’s noble head

Jaffa is one of those worth-their-weight-in-gold horses, which is probably why his full name is Jaffa Gold. You can put a child on Jaffa and he’s happy to cart them around. Put an adult amateur on him and he’ll work just as hard as you make him. A professional can remind him of his former, show ring abilities and make him look downright fancy. Many of us in the barn have a soft spot for Jaffa.
This week I couldn’t help but notice Jaffa’s long, goat-like facial hairs. He has a noble head but it was hidden under too much of a good thing. As Jaffa advances in age, he’s slower to shed his winter coat than the rest of the horses, so he needed a little help.
I wasn’t ready to tackle a full body clipping, but I did give Jaffa a mini makeover this morning. As you can see from the photos, there’s still a lot to be done … but the next time a student goes to bridle Jaffa, I’ll bet she notices the difference.
Shorter whiskers and a tidier mane give Jaffa a wee bit tidier look.

Shorter whiskers and a tidier mane give Jaffa a wee bit tidier look.

The old guy was a saint for me, standing stock still for his makeover. He was a little worried when the lunch wagon went ’round, afraid that he’d be missing a meal. I assured him that everything would be alright and gave him a lump of sugar to help soothe his nerves.
There’s something lovely and rewarding about older horses who have paid their dues. I nearly always have an extra treat in my pocket for Jaffa, just to let him know I haven’t forgotten how kind he was to me during our lessons together.
Thank you, Jaffa heart of Gold.