This post is the one that we have all been for since February: Faith's true identity and an insight into her past. Sit down and make yourself comfortable, because this is quite surprising...
Last Saturday, while watching my horses warm up at a show, I received a phone call by a very nice lady who had a story she wanted to share with me. I leaned against the fence rail and took a deep breath. I knew where this phone call was going; I have been waiting for it for over 6 months...
She began the conversation by saying that her name was Katherine and she used to own one of my horses. She said that it took her a while to contact me, due in part because she felt guilty about the path that this horse's life took. My heart sank when she muttered the name, Capri.
I stood motionless against the fence, ignoring the horses schooling in front of me and the announcer's broadcasts. She then began the story that I have been waiting patiently to hear...
Back in 1991, she bought a Trakehner mare named Capri from Fox Horn Farm in Charlotte, Vermont. The mare had been shown on the Hunter Jumper circuit and was one of the top equitation horses in New England. She was spunky, had quite the attitude, and an even bigger buck to her. But she was elegant and refined, had a work ethic to die for, and she was beautiful. Katherine brought her home and taught the mare a new discipline: the art of dressage.
They worked as a team for over eleven years, through the thick and thin. Over a decade and three children later, Katherine could no longer keep the mare. She gave her away to a humane society in hopes that they would place her in good hands. Obviously her wish did not come true.
She told me about her personality and that she has always been considered a "grouch" in her stall. But that she was lovely to ride and was eager to work each day. They spent their time schooling in the arena and enjoying the trails together.
Katherine then told me that I had been wrong about a specific piece of information. "Faith" was not 17 years old as we suspected. She was not born in 1992. In fact, she was born the same year I was, in 1982. Yes, you read that correct...
This mare is twenty-seven years old.
I contacted the Trakehner registry yesterday and they confirmed that yes indeed, this is the same mare. Born in 1982, she is a daughter of the legendary stallion "Tannenberg" and out of a mare named "Carina". Her bloodlines are impeccable, her family is considered royalty; the more I read about them, the more I learn how valuable her lineage is to the Trakehner breed.
This is what has been said her sire:
Bred in 1966 by Dr Hans Dietrich of Wagner, Germany, Tannenberg was Reserve Champion of the 1968 Neumünster approvals. He was a popular sire in Germany until being imported to Canada in 1975. He has more approved Trakehner sons than any other ATA stallion, 10 German-bred and 1 American-bred. Among his German-bred sons were the well regarded Schiwago, Herztrumpf and Morgenstrahl. His American son Meistersinger *Ps* is a well respected FEI dressage horse and sire of FEI dressage horses.
The German Stallion Book provides the following comments:
Excellent in the type of the Trakehner horse with beautiful, masculine head; best position, length and carriage of the neck; good shoulder and good withers; harmonious body overall that is carried on four good, correct, sufficiently strong but a bit long legs; the midsection of the body is well-coupled to the forehand and hindquarters; particularly emphasized should be the broadly set hocks; his way of going is elevated and impulsive, very slightly paddling in front; in spite of his size he is very uniform overall and significant in his overall impression. His magnificent type is usually passed to his get, and so is the harmonious overall figure, with a rather good way of moving; good medium size is predominant.
Here is a picture of Faith's sire, the legendary Tannenberg:
I am glad to find out her true identity, but the phrase that keeps popping into my mind is, "if I knew then when I know now..."
Would the events of last February have been different if at the time I knew her real age? Would I have made the same decisions? I'm not certain I would have.
Granted, I'll never know for sure, but I do not think this story would have unfolded the way it did. If I had found her in that condition and knew she was 27 years old, I think I probably would have had her humanely euthanized.
Never in a million years would I think that a horse of that age, in that condition, would have been able to recover from being nearly starved to death. I would have thought that her condition would have been impossible for her to overcome. It is impossible, right?
What would you have done?
Thankfully, Faith kept quiet about her age, as any true lady does, and has made a miraculous recovery. Her story has continued to inspire, and does even more now that we know the real story behind this impressive, magical mare.