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"Adagio" - Slowly, Softly
You are here: Success Stories > "Adagio" - Slowly, Softly
by Judy Hofmann
“Adagio” – definition from the Italian: slowly; softly. It’s a lovely name, but it doesn’t exactly describe this beautiful 14-year-old Thoroughbred-Trahkener cross chestnut gelding. He has been extensively trained for the hunt and dressage and trots and canters like a dream. However, there’s not much that’s soft about him but his nature. He’s a gentleman in the barn, but high-spirited and built for speed. As with some other horses in the rescue, he has a physical problem: arthritis in his front legs. And then there’s that fear of being locked in the barn and having the key thrown away. He does not want to be left in there alone.

When I first put forth the idea of fostering Adagio, I was doubtful it would happen. I had been at Rendezvous Farm for four years volunteering and riding. Before that, although I had always loved to ride, my riding had been inconsistent because of children, work, etc. I was aware that he needed a good rider and perhaps couldn’t be ridden much except for flat work. And Adagio is more talented than I am. In the past two months though, we’ve learned a lot about each other and it’s been thrilling. He works with me and I give him the attention and affection from one specific person that he’s been craving. (At least, I like to think so.) Wonderful things have happened. He has become affectionate and calmer and the farrier has recently fitted him with a set of aluminum shoes that make riding him three or four times a week possible, even when the ground is a bit unforgiving.

Every “farm” day, I look forward to seeing “Dodger.” When visitors pass his stall, they comment on his looks and ask if he’s mine. In my heart, he is. That’s the beauty of ERRI. With Debbie Frank and Rhonda Rollins, the horses come first – their care, their adjustment, their rehabilitation, and their contentment. Your love and commitment is what they want to see. This unselfishness on their part has given me the opportunity to ride and care for a fantastic horse.

When I lead Adagio out into the field for the day (no easy task I can tell you), and see him run off, it takes my breath away. Did I mention that coupled with his barn fear there’s this problem of perceiving the pasture gate as a starting gate? Running off at full speed he’s so gorgeous that you don’t doubt for a minute that love and those new shoes will take him a long way.

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