Sometimes You Simply Don’t Know


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This spring I began teaching intermediate-level lessons to a rider who pilots an enormous dark bay draft horse. When I met this gelding, his rider told me he had a barn-wide reputation for being clumsy. For example, they said, “When you are leading him to the paddock, if he turns his head, his entire body swings and follows.”

Here’s the draft gelding this spring, before his EPM diagnosis. His weight was fine, but to me he just didn’t look right. Photo: Courtesy Brian King/

Equal parts long, lanky, and imposing, what this gelding seemed to lack in self-awarenessÑI tried to feed him a peppermint from my palm and my entire arm disappeared in his cavernous mouthÑhe made up for in his charming personality and willingness to try

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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