I started taking riding lessons on a weekly basis as an eight year old at the Portland Riding Club in Portland, Oregon. Soon, thereafter, I switched stables to Highlands Hunt Club located by the Portland Zoo. Sadly, it isn't there any more. Anyway, my trainer was named Johnny Johnson and I rode under his tutelage until he got married and moved up to Seattle. At that time, another man named Gary began training there and changed the stable from a hunter/jumper barn to a saddle seat barn. I have vivid memories of gazing over the stall doors at his horses in all their artificial braces for necks and tails and their long, weighted hooves. It made me very sad to look in their hollow eyes. One of the things that attracks me to Dressage is the emphasis on working with the horse's natural movement and biomechanics. Very little artificial equipment is used by most trainers. (We could get into a discussion about "Rollkur" at this point but I won't.) However, with all of that said, I am sure that the training techniques for Saddle Seat and Park Harness showing have improved. I want to tell you about one of the most famous Park Harness horses. He was a Morgan Stallion by the name of Noble Flair. Noble Flair was foaled in 1984. He was sired by Noble Command out of Lost River. He was bred by Bob and Judy Whitney. This beautiful horse with obvious potential was purchased as a yearling by Herbert V. Kohler of Kohler Stables and lived there for the rest of his life. Noble Flair won numerous world Championships in Park Harness Driving. His first big win was in 1986 when he was the champion two year old Park Harness driving horse. His three time world championships in 1988, 1989 and 1991 are unprecidented. Noble Flair retired from showing in 1991 and became an outstanding stud. PARK HARNESS DRIVING: This is something that I know VERY little about. I do know that the horses are judged on action and animation. They are shown at the park walk, park trot and "Show Your Horse" which is the show-off time where you want an even more active trot without excessive speed. The horses are driven to a four wheel buggy. The following video shows the 1986 championships but not the 2 year olds so I don't have a video of Noble Flair but you can see what goes on at a show. Noble Flair is surely one of the Noble and Great horses that will become a unicorn in the animal heaven. I can just see him prancing across the fields of Celestia with the other unicorns galloping beside him. Read about the unicorns in "Behind The Mist," the horse lover's fantasy story for teens and adults alike!
Tell me the story of your Noble and Great horse! He doesn't have to be famous, just loved! Write to me at my email: