Shannon Eire * July 1994
Rantzau VB. *1946
Cor de la Bryere. SF *68
Quenotte SF *1960
Coriall Holst. *87
Capitol Holst. *1975
Vera II Holst. * 83
Ladykind Holst. *1974
Farnese Holst. *1960
Reizvolle Holst. *1957
Zylla Holst. *1985
Thuswin VB. *1957
Muta Holst. *1975
Cetta Holst *1966
With respect to my modest career in equestrian sports Shannon most certainly is the one horse I owe everything to. Having made some very sad experiences with my first two horses before while I still lived in Frankfurt I actually wanted to quit equestrian sports and horse riding completely. Up until Shannon came - from the "rummage table" so to speak. As one of more than 140 horses at a big horsedealer's barn he looked at me with his big round eyes out of his dark stall - I guess it was love at first sight. And i couldn't care less about the fact that this 4 year old huge and immature Holsteiner didn't meet any requirements with respect to "an ideally conformed" horse at all. The sarcastic comment of a close friend of mine when he saw Shannon the very first time really hit the nail on the head: "What the hell do you wanna do with this big-headed Holsteiner? Oh well, the more even-tempered of the two of you is most certainly not you...." And so Shannon stepped into my life, not meant to meet any ambitious demands and expectations whatsoever - but going to exceed any potential goals i could have dreamed of - by far. Shannon became the horse everybody is dreaming of: the most reliable and potential 4-legged friend and partner within any aspect.
With Shannon I won my first jumping-horses competitions, though I only had wanted to ride out for walks anymore after all the frustrations before. With Shannon I took the first steps to sniff into the world of eventing - more out of curiousity rather then actually intending to go for it - wasn't i usually sh....ing my pants when i stood in front of these massive obstacles and fences? Today, our common victories and high rankings in eventing classes belong to the most beautiful experiences in the saddle of all my personal riding history.
Shannon, my heroe, took me everywhere, no matter where and what it was.
And Shannon was the one who later on, when I trained with Michael Farwick, provided me with a distinct conciliation about what dressage riding actually means to be. What it really means to be sitting on a well swung-through horse, what suppleness means and what is actually meant when people tend to say: trott is the only gaite you can elaborate and improve by training.... Shannon, by nature, is given no trott-potential at all. And Michael used to put us through the hoops of classic riding education always obeying the "classic training and educational scale" for young horses - again and again, employing endless patience. So that - next to all our future successes in competing in all three disciplines, jumping, eventing and dressage - even today the most impressive and delightful "tiny-big thing" remains to be the day in our first summer in Muenster when I was riding in our dressage arena, taking the diagonal in enhanced trott and all of a sudden one of my fellow rider friends shouted from outside the arene: "oh my God! that really is a trott-extention for an "8" in the big arena!" and that really was my largest pride. Since trotting - well, that really is none of Shannon's strong points.
So Shannon turned out to become my teaching-horse within any aspect, and that most certainly was the best experience that ever could have happened to me: as each of us has already dreamed of the "perfect" dressage horse trained up to Grand Prix to simply put one's butt on and let it carry you through the misteries of classic dressage lessons - and who whould not already have stood beside some dressage arenas watching sucessfull competitors thinking: had i only been given the "appropriate" horse I could do that, too... - but this way it turned out to be the most effortfull and hardest elaborated tiny little steps of success on a horse that usually was considered to be "not good enough" for this which provided me with the greatest little pleasures of all - and it still does today.
Specially with respect to my later riding on Fabrice I cannot express my gratitude to Shannon loud enough - since i doubt i ever had had the gutts and necessary selfconfidence to ride Fabrice against a fence or even dare to compete her in an eventing class - hadn't it been for my "rummage table horse" to have equipped me with the necessary confidence to do so. Shannon is the alive prove that you can do almost anything with a horse - you only have to go for it!
So I took Fabrice - once I had taken her into our barn after having had her first foal - on a simple halter right next to Shannon and she would walk along on our race-track as a near-horse from the first day on. And what used to be a time-saving and most of all appropriate to the species training alternative to both horses (since other than lounging them around and around on innatural tiny circles this kind of movement is a natural straight-out forward move) developed into a serious conditioning training for both of them in one go: Shannon would gallop his 2000 to 3000 meters of conditioning training completely unimpressed in a fresh forward speed while mainting a solid rein connection - and Fabrice would come along in the same manner - simply on a halter. How hadn't seen it with his own eyes barely ever wanted to believe it.
After all, Shannon is the most sensitive horse. Changes in his every-day surrounding simply make him freak out. Stronger physical efforts, sometimes at tricky dressage lessons but mainly when jumping, are usually being accompanied by loud moaning. He does that best whenever I screw up distances while measuring our canter-jumps heading for a jump and just having brought us right in front of a fence at a completely unsuitable distance again - usually Shannon then even bends over backwards to still make it a felicitous jump - while his moaning is providing me with the most guilty conscience. ... and even others would sometimes look at us asking themselves why on earth this horse is still giving it's very best while constantly being ridden so poorly...
who even today still entertains doubts when having to enter foreign water at
various eventing courses, this very Shannon obliviously steered us throw
highest North Sea tide-ways which i had simply underestimated in my naive
flippancy heading for the rescuing coast ... this very Shannon who
on the occasion of a couple of days eventing clinic held in Luhmühlen would
rather turn on his heels than enter a running water creek to cross the course.
Three days of freaking escape prior to finally let himself be convinced that
this creek couldn't be any worse than those North Sea tide-ways. ... all these
efforts just to nearly get blown off by the current of the creek which neither
one of us had expected to be so strong - Jeeh, how did i feel weakness creeping
up my spine facing the full awareness that the Lord had given him four
legs as opposed to only two to me, thus, it would have to be Shannon's job again
to get us out of the current leaving me completely useless in the saddle - again.
And he did it. Of course. Later on this creek became both our most favourable
recreation ground when returning home to the stall from our daily training.
Shannon is -and will always be- my big hero. So let this page be dedicated to him as a sincere gratitude for all the up's and down's he went through with me in the past years and hopefully will do so in many coming years!
An hommage to grand horse!
Thank you, Shannon.
more pictures of Shannon