A 1700 pound puppy dog! Maverick is a Clydesdale with so much love for life it is a real pleasure to watch him play.
Rick: This is September 7th and we're at Riley's Farm in Epping, New Hampshire. We're talking with Jennifer Seuss, owner of Spartans Maverick, a 5 year old Clydesdale. Jen, how did you first get bitten by the love of horses?
Jennifer: I have been around horses since I was two and I have my mother to thank for that. She had ridden her whole life, so I started lessons at two.
Rick: Do you remember being on the horse at that age?
Jennifer: I do. And I remember they used to put me on this little pony named Spice and I hated riding the ponies. I always wanted to pick the biggest horse they had, that was Midnight.
Rick: Please, fill us in from two years old to where you are today.
Jennifer: Sure. I started at two and took lessons, and when I was about six, we got our own first horse. She was a quarter horse, Morgan mix, Molly. And then when I was 16, I got my first very own horse. She was off-the-track thoroughbred named Bridle Dreams. I had to sell her when I went off to college, which was really sad.
I took some lessons while I was in college and then I took some time off to get married and have kids. And then I got Corey, who is an elderly warmblood whose owner had passed away of cancer. I had him for three years. They were a wonderful three years. He taught me a lot about horses. And then after he passed away, I didn't think I was going be into horses any longer.
Shortly after my elderly gelding passed away an ad kept popping up in my news feed on Facebook for a two year old Clydesdale. A Clydesdale was never a breed that I thought I wanted, but the ad just kept popping up every time I turned my phone on.
My best friend called me and said, “Hey, we want to go look at this Clydesdale for my husband.” It happened to be the same ad. So I was like, what the heck? We'll go take a look. And worst that happens is I get to go visit some horses today.
When I got there, the horse we were looking at was super duper quiet and not very personable. But there was another horse that just kept nickering and running up and down the field, trying to get our attention. I asked the woman, "Well, who is that horse?" And she said, "Oh, that’s Jake, you know, he's very special to me. Jake is not for sale." And I said, "Okay, no problem."
So we spent some more time with the other horse and left to think about it. The owner asked us to come back and see him again. So we did. And when we got back there, the same thing happened. Jake was jogging up and down the fence and nickering. And finally, she asked me if I wanted to go say hi to him? And I was like, sure. So I went over and we just fell in love. And she decided she'd sell him just because he was so attached to me. And that's how I ended up with a Clydesdale, not the one we went to look at, but the one that picked me.
Rick: Is my second visit to see this horse, and I have to say that he's the biggest puppy dog I've ever seen. I mean, he's just so much fun to watch. For the readers, please tell us what he does that makes you laugh out loud.
Jennifer: I would say playing with his ball is definitely the funniest thing once when he gets going. He will play with that ball up and down the field or in the ring. He throws it up in the air. He'll grab it in his teeth and shake it in the air above his head. And he just literally plays like a dog. He does make me laugh every time.
Rick: Would he do it today for the camera?
Jennifer: Of course he wouldn't. If we put him in the indoor ring he might have. But he's a funny horse.
Rick: Please tell us about how he likes to kick up his heels.
Jennifer: He is the most agile horse for his size I've ever met. He can get his hind feet a good three feet above his head at a gallup. He is 17-2 hands, weighing seventeen hundred and thirty two pounds. But he can get all four feet off the ground like you've ever seen.
He definitely loves doing liberty. Which is really cool because he acts like a puppy dog and takes direction off-line really well, which is really cool to watch.
Kicking up those heels at a gallop is so fun to watch!
Rick: He does love liberty. We spend from 45 minutes to an hour photographing him doing liberty and that was really fun.
Thank you very much for this interview. Eloise is here so let's go do our last session with Maverick.
To finish the day's session I invited an old friend, Eloise, to join us for a meet'n greet photograph. Eloise is now 8. We first photographed this amazingly talented child at the age of 5 and again at 7. Feeling the contrast in sizes would make for interesting images, I wanted to illustrate Jen's story of a small child wishing to ride the biggest horse in the barn. The concept seemed to be a natural candidate for the 2021 equine calendar. Of course, Maverick loves children and could not have behaved better with Eloise.
Many thanks to Deb Hamilton for her expert help during the session. Jamie Johnson, Children's Orchard in Rowley and her two lovely nieces Eloise and Beatrice. Without their help our final session could not have happened.
Sharon and Richard Hydren started the calendar project with two goals:
The primary objective has been to celebrate the relationships between owners and their equine friends in fine art equine portraits.
The second objective has been to explore the equine world in greater depth by visiting with owners and recording their stories.
To start the project we ran ads on Facebook asking for great looking horses, offering to not just take photos of their horses, but to create really fine art equine portraits.
There would be no cost for the portrait session. No obligation to purchase any art. And everyone who stepped forward and allow us to capture images of them and/or their horses would receive a free calendar. We also offered a selection of fine art metal prints at substantial savings.
The Facebook ad brought a flood of registrations. We connected with nearly all of them and produced more amazing images than we had ever hoped to create.
If you should wish to talk with us about the possibility of having us do a portrait of your horse, for the calendar project or just for yourself, please click on the Facebook ad on the home page of this website and fill out our form.