The Perfect Horse: Silver Bouquet
The Perfect Horse: Silver Bouquet
By: Alexis Arbaugh
In 2019, at The Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, PA, Carmel discovered her perfect horse through New Beginnings Thoroughbreds. Silver Bouquet was the featured horse from their farm during the Thoroughbred showcases. Although Carmel didn’t get a chance to see Silver Bouquet in person at the expo, she researched the horse online after returning home. She was deeply impressed by the composure of this young horse in the midst of a bustling arena with so many people and other horses.
Carmel reached out to New Beginnings Thoroughbreds via email to express her interest in Silver Bouquet and to initiate the adoption application process. Upon receiving approval, she made a visit to the farm to meet Silver Bouquet in person. An immediate bond and sense of ease developed between them. Following this visit, Carmel decided to bring Silver Bouquet home the following week. Their friendship has flourished ever since.
Carmel was in search of a new horse to replace her retired off-the-track Thoroughbred mare, Carey. At the age of 60, she sought a horse slightly older than a freshly retired 3- or 4-year-old Thoroughbred.
Silva was 7 years old and from the way she acted at The World Horse Expo she seemed to have a good mind to help put Carmel at ease when riding. She stood at 16.2 hh, had a lovely head, and a great attitude.
Carmel was highly impressed with the excellent training that New Beginnings Thoroughbreds had given to Silva. Silva had a solid foundation in the fundamentals, including walking, trotting, cantering, and even some introductory jumping. Carmel’s future plans with Silva involved further developing her skills, focusing on teaching her correct bending and helping her learn how to use her body in various ways.
Carmel’s primary focus with Silva was dressage, as it was her main discipline. Silva now knows the ins and outs of all lateral movements, including shoulder in, haunches in, leg yielding, etc. She is so happy with how soft and supple Silva has gotten through their training sessions.
Silva also proved to be an excellent trail horse, and she enjoyed leisurely walks through the woods with friends. Carmel had a memorable experience during one of their outings when a family of turkeys crossed their path. The mother turkey flew right beneath Silva’s nose, and the baby turkeys made a commotion as they hurried away. This unexpected encounter startled both Carmel and Silva, but what stood out was that Silva didn’t bolt or get overly spooked. This incident reinforced Carmel’s belief that Silva was the ideal adult horse for her due to her calm and composed nature.
Carmel and Silva also dedicated time to Positive Reinforcement training (R+), a method that involves using rewards such as treats, clicks, pats, and praise to encourage desired behaviors in the horse. This approach helps shape a horse’s behavior by making them want to perform the desired actions due to the rewards they receive. Silva’s proficiency in this training method was showcased when she recently served as a demonstration horse at a local horse show club event, led by the renowned trainer Shawna Karrasch, who specializes in R+ training.
In 2023, Carmel and Silva participated in some Working Equitation Playdays, which included dressage tests and obstacle courses. This was Silva’s first experience with such events outside of their home environment, and she handled it with ease, delivering a flawless performance. Carmel observed that Silva seemed to like engaging her mind as well as her body during their work.
Carmel’s goals with Silva do not revolve around horse shows or climbing the ranks in any specific discipline. Instead, her primary focus is on enhancing their partnership each day and getting enjoyment from their rides. Whether they’re exploring trails or working in the arena, Carmel’s objective is to ride skillfully and continuously enhance their teamwork, prioritizing the joy and connection they share in their equestrian endeavors.
At home, Silva can often be seen alongside her best friend, Carey, who is Carmel’s retired off-the-track Thoroughbred mare. These two horses bear a striking resemblance and are inseparable in the field, affectionately referred to as the “bay girls”. Carmel loves Silva’s youthful spirit, as she often runs, buck, and plays in the field.
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