Horse Spotlight: Herbert

Read all about the gentle giant who is helping owner/rider Kristin Spaulding overcome her showing nerves and making her adult equitation (and jumper!) dreams come true!

By HH Contributor Kristina McCombie


HH: Tell us about your horse (age, breeding, owner, barn name, etc).

KS: My horse is named Herbert aka Herbie or The Cookie Monster. He’s an eleven year old Holsteiner gelding who is 18.2 hands. I’m 5’10 and his legs come up past my waist. We train with Joanne Waring and Mark Molther at Three Pines Farm in Parker. His show name is just plain Herbert. It really fits his personality and makes me laugh when we enter the area at a show.



HH: How long have you and Herbert been a team? How did you find each other?

KS: Herbert and I have been together for almost two years now. Joanne Waring told me about a horse that was for lease over the summer. I first met him at a CHJA show at In Stride he was super cute, very sweet and holy cow, tall. Joanne encouraged me to try him during an upcoming clinic. I was really hesitant; the timing wasn’t great for me and I knew that if I tried him I’d love him.   Joanne offered encouragement that this would be both a great opportunity and fit for me. I tried him out at the clinic and he was lovely. Both Mark and Joanne, and even my parents said, “Kristin, this is your horse.” At the end of the lease there was an opportunity to purchase Herbert. Everyone pulled together to make it possible for me and I bought Herbert at the end of 2017.



HH: What do you currently show in?

KS: Most of the time you’ll find us in the Adult Equitation and Medal classes. I love how technical the Medal classes are and the more I learn the more I realize how much more there is to learn. Last year we had a lot of fun in the CHJA Adult Hunters. We just made our debut in the jumpers and it was a blast. I’m hoping to apply what I’m learning in the Equitation and Medals into the jumper ring.

HH: What makes Herbert such a great addition to your barn?

KS: Herbert is the quintessential gentle giant. His barn nickname is The Cookie Monster. At home or a show he will stretch his head out and turn it sideways when anyone passes him asking for cookies. At a recent show he reached out and grabbed a bag of peppermints out of my tack trunk and threw them at some people walking by in an effort to get a treat.



HH: Does Herbert have any quirks or goofy traits? How is he around the barn?

KS: Herbert is a friendly guy around the barn. For a large horse he has a very good understanding of how big he is and is careful in small spaces. As one would probably imagine, Herbert eats a lot of hay- chances are if you go check in on him he’s eating. Herbert isn’t allowed to be turned out in the outdoor arena anymore. On a couple of occasions I’ve turned him out to roll after working him and he’s very casually cantered out over the 5’ arena fence.

HH: What are your goals for the rest of the year and beyond with Herbert ?

KS: Throughout my life I’ve really struggled with show nerves to the point that I quit showing as a junior and didn’t start showing again until several years ago at the ripe old age of 47. I have been showing to work through my nerves and get them behind me. This year I’m looking forward to continuing my education in the Equitation arena and applying it to some jumper classes and hopefully Medal Finals this year. Long term, I want to continue to expand my horsemanship skills.



HH: What successes have you shared with Herbert? Anything in particular you are especially proud of?

KS: Last year Herbert and I won two year end awards and even a perpetual trophy. My parents even came out to celebrate with us at the awards banquet. It was my first ever trophy and I’m still excited!   I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to show. My family, and the CHJA community, have been exceptionally supportive.

HH: What do you enjoy most about riding Herbert?

KS: I love how Herbert rides like a smaller horse. He is exceptionally light off my aids and goes in a rubber straight bar snaffle. Herbert is a sensitive guy who really tries hard to do what you ask. He can worry and get caught up in his own head. I tend to do the same and overthink/overcomplicate things. I’m learning to stay in the moment and keep things simple and correct. Less is more is my riding mantra.



HH: If Herbert was a teenager, which table would he sit at in the cafeteria and why?

KS: Herbert would definitely be at the cool kids table. He would be the quiet cool kid with a sensitive side.

HH: What are Herbert’s favorite treats?

KS: Herbert loves Mr.s Pasture’s horse cookies, but will take any treat.


PC: Jerry Mahme Photography and Kristin Spaulding