In March 2021 our neighbor Rui presented us his young horse. He had started training him and also used him to plow his potato field. He told us that the horse´s father is a bull fighting horse, a Lusitano, which had run away one day and found a Garrano mare (an Iberian pony breed which they typically use in the Azores. Because of their small size they are easy to transport with ships).
I was still dealing with the heartbreak of selling my own horse in Germany, a half Arabian, who I had known for 10 years and made into a fantastic hacking horse. I was able to gallop with him bare back and free-handed over the fields! I had dreamed about bringing him to Graciosa, but this would have been not only a very complex and expensive undertaking, but also extremely stressful for the horse.
And now I met this little guy here who had remarkable similarities with my old „Kairo“!
We had just bought the pasture adjacent to our land in order to make a parking lot, a garage for Henrietta, to hinder anybody else to start building there of course and to plant some beautiful trees, and yes, I still dreamed of horses. I just offered Rui to have his horse graze on our land to keep the grass short and so I have something I can watch from house. I missed horses so much. I had already enjoyed tremendously to have Isidro´s horse on my land. Rui was happy that I volunteered to work with the horse, which I really missed.
And I was very sorry for this little guy who spend the first years of his life tied to a rope, how they use to do it here on this island! We wanted to make adjustments so he could run freely.
It happened what had to happen: Rui offered us to buy him! Jan called him „Lilla Gubben“, after Astrid Lindgren´s Pippi Långstrump. Tomcat Jacky, who likes to sit on our shoulders, represents monkey Herr Nilsson.
We quickly had to learn how to keep Lilla Gubben well in the garden and protect our plantings, but it didn´t go without accidents. But he loves to rich green herbal variety.
I started riding him, but I was hesitant for I was sure that the horse was younger than the former owner had told us. Also horse riding teacher Filipa saw it very critically, how early he was put to work and recommended dearly to wait for him to become stronger.
We also had to wait for half a year to get somebody from neighbor island Faial to take of the iron horseshoes! It was very clear that the horse had suffered from a trauma when they were put on him and I still have problems to have him give hooves without kicking. Still, the farrier was impressed by how much calmer the horse was now, half a year later, when took of the horseshoes.
We got many comments from neighbors how the horse had changed for the better since he is under our care.
Still, it stayed challenging because I was insecure about his age and background and how to start with him, for he is very nervous and often seems anxious and confused (I had already fallen off him several times, which is absolutely unusual for me; the only time when I ever fell from my last horse was when he accidentally slipped badly; from the horse before I only fell one time in 4 years), it is very hard to get good equipment for him here and we also unfortunately had very limited time, we were still in the main build-up phase of our new lives.