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.
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.
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.