Priscilla Calvird
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Priscilla Calvird

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A Horse of a Different Color: Spirit

"A Horse of a Different Color" features horses and ponies that have been successful in the sport of eventing while representing a unique breed. This week, Priscilla Calvird shares the store of her Arabian Fox Trotter cross, Spirit. Do you have a horse that you think would be a great feature subject? If so, email [email protected]

Priscilla and Spirit. Photo courtesy of Priscilla Calvird Priscilla and Spirit. Photo courtesy of Priscilla Calvird

I was there when Spirit was born on June 4, 2004. As a filly, she would always be gallivanting about the paddock bucking and spinning, therefore she has respectfully earned her name. She is an Arabian Fox Trotter cross; her father was an unregistered Arabian and I owned her mother, who was a Spotted Saddle Horse Fox Trotter. I have completed every ounce of training she has ever had.

Baby Spirit and her mom. Photo courtesy of Priscilla Calvird

Baby Spirit and her mom. Photo courtesy of Priscilla Calvird

Spirit took to eventing right away.  She won her first Beginner Novice at the Queeny Park Horse Trails at the age of six. Spirit has shown through Novice and the plan is to attempt to run Training at some point this season.

Spirit has always been a go-getter when it comes to jumping and cross-country is where she really shines. She never says no to a fence, and sometimes thinks she knows the pace we should take regardless of what I have to say about it.

We ran Beginner Novice once at Hunter Oaks Horse Trails and there came a spot to jump a small, welcoming table and then proceed to go down a very steep hill. There was a Prelim fence placed at the peak of the steep hill and it took everything in me to steer her away from it.

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Calvird

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Calvird

She is an adorable little star in dressage, usually very consistent, and goes into the arena ready to work. Having a low dressage score is what is most important to me and has been both our biggest challenge and most rewarding accomplishment.

As Spirit is part Fox Trotter, her canter can fall into a more lateral movement rather than a true three-beat canter. She and I have worked extremely hard at figuring out how to make this better with years of practice. It is finally to the point where she travels uphill with her shoulder and is balanced and adjustable. This will also help improve our stadium rounds; it was always difficult to adjust her in stadium without losing the impulsion from behind.

In addition to eventing, we have also participated in recognized dressage shows and are members of the Bridlespur Hunt Club; Spirit is the perfect hunt horse! She has not only been a successful show horse, but also has been a wonderful lesson horse to a few children along the way. Spirit is very attentive to her kids.

Spirit bonds with a young friend. Photo by Kate Wilson Photography

Spirit bonds with a young friend. Photo by Kate Wilson Photography

Another trademark of hers is that she can be very sneaky. Spirit is a major treat hound! She once was put in a paddock with her friends that was separated from a luscious green pasture by an electric fence. Well, she realized that with her sheet on, she could go right under the electric fence without getting shocked and get to the grass.

She did that numerous times until we finally moved her to a paddock with wooden fencing. Also, when she was a baby she would step into the water trough, duck under the chain and jump out of the trough to get to the green lawn. Like I said, she is always looking for a way to get to food, and can be a very sneaky little thing.

Overall, my ten-year-old Arabian Fox Trotter cross is ready to go into the 2015 show season! Our goals for this season are to break into the 20s in dressage, qualify and compete at the AECs and possibly run Training.

Priscilla and Spirit will be outriding at Rolex 2015. Priscilla invites any cross-country spectators to come say hi and give her treat-loving wonder pony cookies! EN wants to wish Priscilla and Spirit the best of luck and lots of fun this season. Go Horses of a Different Color. Go Eventing.