new way to train him. Through the recommendation of my vet, I found one of the first John Lyons certified instructors, who actually lived in my town, to help me out. This was before hardly anyone knew what natural horsemanship was. I know I sure didn’t. He came out every week that summer to help teach me a way to work with horses from an entirely different perspective. One day I asked him if I was a slow learner or if Safarr was a really difficult horse. He laughed and said, “A little of both.” HIGHLAND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DARCIE
Safarr had a high level of herd instinct and a really high emotional level. That’s not a good combination. However, we worked on it continuously. The next summer, we worked some more and I started back in on dressage lessons. I had another horse Safarr’s age that I was applying the same principles to, and I showed both of them that year.
He had never ridden the championship test before; we had only
I would get high score of the show, I would get the two high-
worked on the test to qualify. I hadn’t even read that test before
est scores of the show with them, I would win 6 out of 6 classes, 5
he qualified. He won a Reserve Championship in Second Level at
out of 6, and 4 out of 6, showing them each in 3 classes. It used to
Canadian Nationals, and a Top Ten in Second Level at Sport Horse
be I’d win one or two classes a year. That year I’d sometimes win
all of my dressage classes at a show. It was an amazing year—the
I don’t even have a count of how many regional and national
kind of year every competitor dreams of. Safarr was seven years
titles Safarr has won. Safire’s 169 offspring have earned a total
old that year.
of 11,174 Legion Points. Safarr is the top
When Safarr was ten, we headed to
earner with 1, 116! Safarr is not an overly gifted, talented
a friend moved out there and wanted us to
horse with fabulous gaits—he realistically is
haul her weanling for her. Safarr earned Re-
only about a 6 ½ for gaits—but he’s got guts
serve High Score at First Level! I had only
and believes he’s as big, fancy and fabulous
been hoping to place in a couple of classes.
as those 17-hand, 9-for-gaits warmbloods.
It was our last show as an amateur. I was
For those who don’t know dressage, in dres-
spending so much time with the horses
sage, each movement starts with the quality
and had become so obsessed with this new method of training that I decided it was time to make it a full-time job. 2003 was an incredible year. Safarr won the Region 6 Champion First Level and Reserve Champion Second Level Dressage.
HIGHLAND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DARCIE
Scottsdale for the first time, mainly because
of the gaits the horse has. For instance, if you do a movement that would deduct two points for mistakes, a 9-gaited horse would earn a 7, and 6-gaited horse would earn a 4. Safarr always had to do everything at the top of his game to be able to compete with the