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Before Merlin…Tabor

John Strassburger

I believe Tabor came in to my life to prepare me for Merlin.  The same friend who gave me Merlin gave me Tabor Dance, then seven, about two years earlier. Tabor had bowed a tendon twice and recovered.  He was a beautifully built gray gelding, possessing exceptional physical gifts and jumping scope, like Merlin. But he had a history of dodgy jumping, frequently refusing or running out and depositing his riders. He was clearly a worrier—he wasn’t even a fan of being turned out and would often walk back and forth along the fence like a caged tiger until read more

Media Critique: The Last Daughter of Prussia

John Strassburger

The Last Daughter of Prussia isn’t a book about horses. But it is an excellent work of historical fiction, in which horses—Trakehner horses, to be specific—play an important supporting role, a role that author Marina Gottlieb Sarles uses effectively to enrich the story. The book follows the Great Trek, the barely discussed westward flight of Prussian civilians from their Russian invaders in the winter of 1944-45. East Prussia was the eastern-most province of Germany, lying directly north of Poland (of which it’s now a part), with a coastline along the read more

Merlin Was Afraid of Life—and Jumping

John Strassburger

Nearly 20 years ago, a steeplechase trainer who is a good friend gave me a three-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, a horse with whom I would develop an unforgettably rewarding relationship, despite the many challenges that he presented.  We would enjoy Master Merlin’s company for 13 years, from foxhunting through eventing at the CCI2* level, winning numerous events at training, preliminary and intermediate levels. But it was far from an easy start. Self-Confidence Issues. Merlin, at 17.2 hands, was a big-moving horse, blessed with physical gifts that should have made read more

Equine Microchips And Me

John Strassburger

The lead article in the February issue of the Horse Journal discusses an issue that I'm dealing with right now. The page 1 article "Who Is That Horse?" describes several methods of equine identification, some old and some modern, that readers can use to assure they can prove their horse is theirs. read more

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