Sunday, April 11, 2021

Remembering Meho (1990-2021)

by Mary Gallagher

I admired Meho from the moment I saw him, a handsome weanling owned by the mother of one of my students. They raised racehorses, and Meho was a good one, earning well over $50,000 at the track before being sidelined with a bowed tendon. I couldn't believe my good luck when he came up for sale and I was able to buy him for Freedom Farm. I began training him as a hunter/jumper, and one of my boldest young students, Chelsea Crabb, rode him at a number of shows. Meho did well, and, I realized he could benefit from more focused time with me.

At the time, I was deep into the Parelli training, spending weeks at a time at the Parelli center in Florida. My Parelli horse, William, began having lameness issues and needed time off. Enter Meho, the speedy OTB with a big personality. He made the trip with me to Florida and boy, did we ever learn a lot--quite a bit through mutual struggle, which I have shared in many a ground work class since. How we came around to our lasting partnership is a tale of its own, but suffice it to say, I had to let go of what I thought I knew and allow him to show me who he was and begin to really understand him. I've never forgotten that time with him.  He in turn learned to be present, accept contact, and slow the heck down (early round pen sessions with him at the "canter" wore quite a groove in the sand, shall we say...).

So after we returned from Florida, we got down to work at home, and Meho got some experience in our hunter/jumper training program. Over the years many other advanced students followed, thrilled with Meho's work ethic, rocking horse canter and big moves. He loved being in the ring and could do flat or jump patterns all day!

Meho and me, jumping at liberty
But that's not all, as they say in advertising--Meho loved working cows and was my mainstay during our cow working classes for many years. And at our Hoof Beats student beach camp every summer, he was my main support and teaching assistant. 

I credit Meho with helping me develop my teaching approach to many aspects of horsemanship. He had a special love for being groomed, and over the course of our sessions I began to develop my Grooming Game, where the rider stands in one spot, and moves the horse around in small increments, pausing for grooming. It turns into quite the conversation and learning opportunity, which Meho mastered quickly, being a sponge for attention and grooming in favorite scritchy places.

Meho aged quite gracefully, and late in his twenties was still carrying Hoof Beats students and the occasional visiting equestrian, always with enthusiasm and class. His final ground class was this past January, with a very special visiting equestrian, his first student rider, Chelsea Crabb! She was on a long pandemic break from college, and was taking some refresher ground lessons before working with her new young thoroughbred, Prince. It was a sweet reunion and Meho was in his element.

Following are some favorite photos from over the years. I truly can't say enough about what a teacher, partner and friend Meho has been to me. He has been a beloved figure at Freedom Farm.

So long dear friend, wishing you blue skies and endless pastures...


Young Chelsea Crabb and Meho at a schooling show, back in the day

2004, with me at Larry Stewart's Level 3 Clinic, Canada

Bonding at Parelli Ranch in Florida, 2005

It didn't hurt that they had a professional photographer take these!

Feeling herd bound, calling for his pal Flanders, Florida

Road home from Florida w/Meho and Flanders

Isolde Lawrence and Meho, Bainbridge Island Saddle Club, 2012

Flanders, Laredo, Mary & Meho, Reagan, 2012

Cued up for cow work, 2014

Ride to Robin Hill Park, 2017

Together again, with Chelsea Crabb, January 2021

Meeting the next generation: Chelsea's new horse Prince greets Meho, January 2021


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