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"Herc" - "Beach Boy Horse" - 1997 Haflinger Gelding
Hercules was born in the Midwest and originally trained to be a dressage mount. By the time he was purchased by Sandra Boe, he had already had several different owners. Sandra discovered that Hercules was much happier interacting with many different people than he was training for dressage. With this revelation, Sandra leased him to be a therapeutic riding mount, where he excelled. Hercules would greet his riders, adjust his position when necessary, and wait patiently for riders who needed a long time to mount from the mounting ramp. Hercules is very sensitive to his rider’s needs and abilities and will change his strides to assist his riders without being asked. In 2011, Herc was chosen as PATH Intl Region 9 Horse of the Year--an accolade he much deserved.
Now 21, Hercules is no longer doing therapeutic riding for very disabled riders, as he started to experience pain and discomfort. He still teaches able-bodied riders and riders with disabilities who can sit up without assistance in the saddle. He also is enjoying himself as an equine partner in equine assisted learning. He has been known to affectionately nuzzle his human partners and lightly rest his chin on their shoulders.
Hercules loves being part of any circle or discussion, human or equine. He views himself as the herd monitor, keeping track of where everyone is, intervening when he thinks a horse needs to be disciplined, and driving bullies away from harassed horses. He has been known to let himself out of his stall to introduce himself to new herd members. We have learned it is better to bring Herc over to meet new equines (or goats!) before he finds a way to do so himself!