Ulrich’s Monarch

Ulrich’s Monarch, aka “Papa,” showed the distinguishing leopard pattern without any face markings. Nor were his spots interrupted by leg markings. His vet chuckled, when she first pulled blood for his Coggins test, “You didn’t tell me it would take an hour to draw all his spots!” Easily noticed, however, is his left ear. The top half was apparently lost in a fight with another horse. It wasn’t until he had his first really good bath that I saw all of his scars.

Papa also bore the Ulrich brand on his right buttock, a “rocking U.”

Trotting, at Libertymonarchtrotting
One of the most fascinating aspects, for me, of the Foundation Appaloosa, is the scope of their movement. The basis of my riding experience and goals is dressage – not as a competitive endeavor, per se, but as a training program – my aim is to be able to ride the whole horse, to encourage correct movement and confidence for whatever further activity we pursue.

The photo of Papa trotting at liberty was taken while he showed off for Candy’s Wiyanna in April 2001. The power and expression in that trot, something that came to him naturally, meant that I would not have to look outside the breed for the athletic ability that I desire. He also demonstrated natural jumping style by clearing the fence of his paddock during one particularly exuberant display! And since I adore the Foundation Appaloosa personality, the balance, scope and agility completes the list of traits for which I breed!

Trotting Under Saddle  (photo credit, Wayne Dixon)
monarchandkaiteI always had to laugh, however, because obtaining that lofty, gravity-defying trot under saddle was a different story. That’s why this particular photo is of us at a walk.    That “wind in his hair” gives the impression of going faster than we were.  Papa, according to the brother of the young woman who started him under saddle, was ridden maybe two handfuls of times as a 2-year-old. Then he began his duties as a herd sire.

When he came into my life in November 1997, at 13 years old, he was still what I would consider green, though I don’t suppose I realized how truly inexperienced he was. If I had known, I might have been more cautious about “riding off into the sunset” as I did!

As it turned out, his years of range living turned him into a solid and sane trail companion. If he wasn’t adept at roll-backs or flying changes or 3-foot fences under saddle, the many hours of enjoyment on the trails was plenty of satisfaction. His was a trail-savvy outlook and all three of his gaits (he is not a shuffler) were comfortable for hours in the saddle. He prefered “riding shotgun,” as do I, and maybe for the same reasons. He will go in company or alone, along the highway or in uncharted rough, through water, etc., without much interference from me. Of course, I imagine that our Florida terrain doesn’t present much of a challenge for him.