Like many horse owners, my sister Jill and I are in the habit of assigning our last names to our horses. Hence, Wally becomes "Wally Hale." And my sister's horse becomes "Topper Jones."
Today I hauled Topper Jones over to Sue's so that I could put him to use as a school horse for one of my lesson kids. Sue and I are still shopping for another school horse since saintly Cassie died, but we haven't found a suitable replacement yet. So when duty calls, Topper answers. Topper has the perfect personality to be a lesson horse understudy. He's extremely tolerant. Physically he's blessed with smooth gaits and a soft jumping style (the kids don't get tossed out of the tack). He doesn't intimidate the kids because he's not in any big hurry to go anywhere. And he's had nothing but good rides since he came off the racetrack, so he's dependable and safe.
It would never occur to Topper to do anything bad or naughty. Mischievous? Yes. But never naughty. He'll flap his lips when he's bored. If you're not watching he'll grab his reins in his teeth. And once in a while he'll simply walk right up to whichever human is standing in the center of the arena and make a pest of himself, but he's never truly naughty.
Topper pauses between jumps to have his photo taken. His rider, Cameron, is about the size of a twig. That doesn't matter to Topper. He explains it this way: "As a former racehorse, I am quite used to being piloted by short, wispy riders."
Here Topper and Cameron stand alongside one of my other students, Siegen, and her pony Amanda. As you can tell, there's a contentious relationship between Amanda Pony and Topper. Amanda doesn't seem to appreciate Topper's flirtatious behavior. "How many times do I have to tell you," Amanda says, "I'm not interested in having a carrot juice cocktail with you!"
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