Not a Pony or an Arabian but an ex-Amish plow horse, Jordan is a Percheron/Morgan, and at the ripe old age of 35 is in excellent health! Jordan passed Parelli Level 4 Liberty in July 2015 and just last week passed Level 4 On Line! Other than a slight heart murmur, no occlusion with any back teeth, and some grey facial hair he is the bomb!
I found Jordan in a local newspaper ad the day my dad died. Dad grew up farming and had plow horses; I know he would have been excited to see me buy one. I bought “Prince” from a knife maker who had bought him from the Amish a few months before “it wasn’t working out.” The knife maker had little history on him except that “Prince” was an Amish plow horse who worked with a team in the field and he didn’t know his age. Since the Amish retire their horses in their early teens, I thought he was around 15. However, he was unusual in that he did not have a galvayne’s groove, so he probably was 20! But at the time I thought he was in his mid-teens.
Prince, now River Jordan, was not broke to ride but he was to be my next dressage horse. After getting bucked off on my first ride, during many lessons and dressage shows later, I realized I could not make this horse be my dressage horse. He was not forward, he was stubborn, very resistant, stiff necked, and he seemed to hate to canter. Someone suggested that since he was a plow horse he was probably punished if he thought about canter. After three years, I sold him to a cattle farmer who wanted to ride and drive him. I always regretted that decision and even called the farmer to ask for him back. I got discouraged with dressage after a few more horses that I could not get along with so I left that scene without any horse. One blessed day when I was just about to leave to look at another horse, the cattle farmer called. After 3 years, he had enough of Jordan. “My girlfriend said she can’t get him to go down the driveway and he is so possessive of the cattle that he won’t let the bull get near to breed!” He bought some bred cows and when they started calving, Jordan stomped one to death thinking it was an intruder! “COME GET YOUR HORSE NOW!”
That was the best news ever as I was just starting Parelli and I needed a horse just like Jordan. In 2004 I began Level 1 and in 6 months passed, then passed Level 2 in 2007, and Level 3 in 2010.
I even did a dressage show with Jordan in 2009! I knew it would be totally different from what I was used to. Many left the class I was in because of monsoon rains and mud. The dressage ring with a swimming pool and we got a decent score! The judge was impressed with his unflappable constitution.
We put a lot of clinics under our belt with Nita Jo Rush, Theresa Zenner, Kevin Bolf, Karen Rohlf, and Anna Hill in those 11 years.
Jordan and I have put on many trail miles since Parelli including two ACTHA rides 3 years ago. He was the oldest horse of course and placed both times. He has taught a lot of kids to ride and just this summer was used twice at an Equine Therapy Facility.
When Jordan was 30 and we had passed our Level 3, I felt ready to develop another horse so I bought a 6 month old Gypsy Vanner filly. For 4 years I was deeply involved with her training almost everyday doing something with her. I “retired” Jordan from the Levels and put my heart and soul into this filly. Jordan was only trail ridden and put aside to enjoy his retirement. Eventually the filly was sold to a Parelli person and I realized that I had stretched myself so far and so hard that when I started playing the Seven Games with Jordan again he was a whole new horse! I was better and he liked that!
So after a Minnesota winter with -30 temps I signed up Jordan and I to a 12-Week Northwood Farm Challenge. From January to March our challenge was to do something with your horse to equate 40 hours and 30 rides together. That challenge solidified my decision to start Level 4. Jordan was healthy, strong, and willing! Our bond is incredibly deep.
July 17th, 2015 we passed our Level 4 Liberty. 4-Star Senior Parelli Professional and Auditions Assessor Michael Grohmann congratulated us and told us I can now retire River Jordan! Well, I thought that was a good thought but saw the potential for On Line so played with it a while. On October 30th, 2015 we passed Level 4 On Line! I promised Michael Grohmann this was it. Jordan is now retired from the Levels program. He said it was the right decision.