Big Al is one of our favorite horses. He is a Quarter/Percheron/Thoroughbred cross. He is 5 years old, very gentle and very sensitive. He stands 16 hands high and is stout. He can travel in big country or lope relaxed circles in the arena. He has roped every size of calf, cow and bull. He is not overly athletic, but feels like he can pull a freight train.
Big Al has been Randy's main mount for a few years now. He started him as a 2 year old when his mind was supple and ready to learn. (Randy likes to start horses when they are 2 because horses seem to learn faster, younger. No, we don't ride them a lot when they are that young, but introducing them young can get their minds engaged. It is similar to teaching a child: reading to them and talking to them as infants and toddlers can develop their language sooner.) Randy has used him in all aspects of ranch life: riding, roping, cutting, sorting and has even put an English saddle on him. He was started in the snaffle, progressed to a hackamore and is recently working in a 2-rein.
Last week, Al was given the opportunity to be a model in a styled wedding shoot at Bannack State Park! He was a trooper. He was very alert to the new place, but was a good sport. He got brushed and pampered from head-to-toe (literally), put on his normal gear with some big tapadero stirrups and stood for lots of pictures. I did learn exactly how sensitive he is though; he was not overly thrilled about having the model ride and handle him!
Al is so sensitive, that he got a little worked up when the model mounted him and gathered up his bridle. As the model admitted- he was used to horses that you had to muscle around, not one that moved and tried to please at every rider weight shift. Needless to say, we didn't get any photos of our groom racing to his bride on horseback, but Al did pose pretty well. Al's babyface is pretty photogenic.
Thank you Autumn Kozimer (www.eventsbyautumn.com), for the opportunity for Big Al's modeling debut! Autumn is an event planner in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana whose specialty is weddings. She does fantastic work and I have worked with her in the past.