35 year old horse passes Level 4 On Line & Liberty!

35 year old horse passes Level 4 On Line & Liberty!
Sent to us from Parelli student Diane Childs…

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!

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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.

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Jordan and I have not been to any clinics for well over 5 years. We are pretty secluded here up north, 5 hours from the closest Parelli instructor.   No indoor facility, just a sod outdoor arena.  Parelli DVDs & Facebook group We are Minnesota Parelli is our only support. I did find out that there are Parelli Instructors on Facebook willing to help also, like Parelli Professionals Kristi Smith and Anna Hill who helped with my re-submitts.  You don’t need a lot of money, or a fancy trailer, or expensive facility, and an expensive, athletic horse to do this program.  You just need time, a great relationship with your horse, DVDs, and some Parelli friends and mentors who are wiser than you.

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  1. How much you have grown since you first started. you have become more self assured, and your self esteem have grown mountain. this is an amazing accomplishment for you and Jordan. I feel Jordan has be stilled this in you. absolutely amazing, so proud of you and your commitment.

  2. This is wonderful – so inspiring! Older horses are so great and you’ve obviously enriched his life and he yours. Thanks so much for sharing your story, it will touch people all over the world.

  3. Thank you Ann! Older horses have so much potential! I truly hope it inspires and possibly gets some horses out of retirement!

  4. Diane and Jordan,
    You both are and always have been an inspiration to me and Izzie… we love you both so much! Happy retirement Sir River Jordan!!! <3

  5. Awesome Diane! I assume this is the same guy you had when we were talking about diet stuff many years ago. I still have my 35 year old but he isn’t doing nearly as well as Jordan. Great work!

  6. Diane, this is fabulous! Not only excellent but lovely and sweet. :) Congratulations to you and Jordan–you have come so, so far, a true labor of love and devotion.

  7. Great Story, photos and video Diane. I know your have enjoyed the training and what a great achievement for you and Jordan. I hope I can show Sophie this as as sure enjoyed the time you spend with her doing some of the maneuvers with her when she visited MN in Dec.

  8. Thank you for sharing…I have a 30+ TBCross mare that is unable to be ridden anymore due to arthritis, however, I hope to continue enriching her life with the ground games and undemanding time. She should go to 35+ based on my other horses. Thank you for your story.

  9. You are welcome Jody! Your 30+ TB cross will live longer with on line games! So encouraging that you’ve had so many oldies!

  10. Thank you Nita Jo! So glad you were a big part of all this! Thanks for being an example of “laboring in love & devotion.”

  11. Dearest Cheryl! Jordan & I send love to you & Izzie! Thank you for all the love & support you have poured out to me!

  12. Hello

    So beautifully done….!!! Congratulations to you both.
    If I might offer there is a lot of “Canadian” in your horse. I encourage you to look
    the breed up.
    They think now the initial mare for the Morgan horse was a Canadian.
    I have one; “Iko” is his name. Amazing how I see and FEEL really the similar temperament and intelligence as Iko in Jordon…… (thinkers they seem to be….it has been misunderstood as “stubborn” or “resistant”……. just us direct-line thinkers not giving the horse enough time to figure it out and chose it……….Yay!! for Parelli!! )
    I also experienced and see the deep, calm willingness to please but a power in him that I have seen come out a couple of times in Iko. I get and respect he could kill me but chooses to be with me……..quite a remarkable experience. I felt that power in Jordon too. If I may say so, in my opinion it’s the Canadian in Jordon that enables him to do and be as he is at 35…….:-)) I understand “Canadians” are late bloomers. Iko is 15 this year and just this year, naturally it seems, he became much more of a gent.
    And finally, One of my favorite things I saw and relate to is that he’ll do what he can with the least amount of energy to get a treat!!! Its a hoot to watch Iko thinking about it, figuring it out and then doing it quietly and then that look of…..”There….and now the treat?” Very Smart…..LOL. Turns out its the path of least resistance. What I am learning from him is incredible too……:-))
    We are working on Level 2-3 and you both give me and Iko much hope that I will have,work, and be with my amazing horse for many more years!!!

  13. M. Peck. I have always loved the Candian! Now I know why! Thank you for telling me this. You have described him well. If we didn’t laugh about the energy conservation, we could never get anywhere with these types. Linda did a demonstration in Wisconsin years ago with her LBI Remmer. She started very slow & intense(mirroring Remmer of course) & didn’t go any faster until she knew he would be willing to offer it. I thought about her patience. I will never forget that demo & how it has helped me with Jordan. You have a bright future with Iko! Wish I could see a pic of him!

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