OUR HORSES

TICA is an Andalusian mare Ainslie has had since she was a yearling. The Andalusian is a Spanish breed known for its intelligence, trainability and courage. It was the original “dressage” horse demonstrating an incredible ability to collect as well as perform “airs above the ground.” The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is so-named because it bred Andalusians to their own horses to produce the Lipizzans of today.
FIREFLY is a Halflinger mare. She is sensitive, very willing to please, and loves people. She is an expert at advanced groundwork and is learning basic dressage.
ELEMENTA is an Andalusian-Saddlebred cross who came to Windlfower from Florida. She is doing basic groundwork to prepare her for a career primarily in dressage. She has beautiful gaits and seems to float above the ground.
SKYHEART is our miniature horse who was rescued from a neglectful situation. But you would never know it. His gentle sweetness makes him an excellent partner for the smaller children in our Kidz Korral program. Sky stands 34 inches at the shoulder.
KIP is a Shetland pony cross mare, and is 10 hands tall. She is the star of our Kidz Korral program as well as the equine hero in Ainslie’s book The Kaleidoscope Pony. Everyone---no matter what level—start’s their first lesson with 10-20 minutes with Kip in the round pen.
QUILLY is a Welsh cross who does it all. She is a great pony to learn to post and sit the canter because she is so balanced and rhythmical. She has lovely gaits and is very comfortable to sit on. She is very intelligent so we keep her happy with lots of trail rides, trips to the beach and the occasional horse show.
NITELITE is an 11.3 hand pinto pony who came to us from down Maine. We are guessing he is a Shetland - Welsh cross. One thing we do know he is a wonderful little guy with great spirit and a tremendous desire to please. He hasn’t had a whole lot of training but is a quick study. We took him to the beach and he loved it—trotting through the tide pools and galloping along the strand. He also loves to jump and shows great potential.
BRIT is a rescue molly (female) mule. A mule is a cross between a male donkey or a jack and female horse which is, of course, a mare. (When a donkey or “jenny” is bred to a male horse or stallion the offspring is called a “hinny.) Because of their looks and their independent nature, mules—as well as donkeys—are commonly misunderstood. Donkeys began their evolutionary journey in Africa. (Didn’t we all?) Eventually domesticated, they bred with horses. This resulted in the hybrid “mule” which is not only stronger than horses and donkeys, but smarter as well. When they have a human friend who loves and understands them they become very attached.

Are mules stubborn and stupid? That question can best be answered by first understanding their parents--horses who are animal of the plains, and donkeys who creatures in the mountains. When horses perceive danger they flee. But if donkeys did this they might easily fall off a cliff! So donkeys initially freeze to conceal themselves and evaluate their situation. They also don’t form herds in the sense that horses do. They, therefore, must rely on their own judgment. Now you know-- just because we cannot get a donkey or mule to do what we want is actually a mark of how intelligent and independent they are.

The “bray” or call of a donkey is loud so enabling them to communicate with other donkeys throughout the mountains. Mules have characteristics of both parents so their bray is slightly more horse-like. Their ears are somewhat shorter than a donkey but longer than a horse. They are also somewhat less inclined to freeze than a donkey. They do trust but there is always that inclination to “verify” as well. As their training and trust in their humans develops, the need to verify decreases but it is always there. Mules are super-athletic but, of course, the degree of athleticism depends on the quality of their parents. They are not allowed in jumper shows because they can out-jump the competition—horses. They are permitted in low-level dressage shows and two and three phase events— shows with a combination of dressage, stadium jumping and cross country.

We know little of Brit’s history. Before being passed on to the rescue she was at a nearby farm for three weeks. They couldn’t cope with her behavior. Before that she seems to have been at a farm that had minis as well. She does not appear to have been mistreated, just misunderstood. That is, until the rescue farm that has had a number of mules and competed them took her in. We have named her Brit which is short for “Britomaris”, the Greek goddess of the mountains.

A quote that all knowledgeable mule owners know: “You gotta treat a mule like you oughta treat a horse.”

Contact: Ainslie Sheridan, 978 884 6787, sheridanstudio@gmail.com