By Courtney Haubach
When I was growing up, my mom and her business partner started a Friesian buying/flipping business. They would look for Friesians in the US, buy them, train them with our trainer, and sell them to new homes. Romeo was bought with his brother, Star (who we sold), from Washington. They both came from a pasture, and sold as a pair. Romeo was the younger stallion brother, while Star was a few years older, and a gelding. Our trainer at the time did a beautiful job with both, but Romeo in particular took to the dressage work. Every show they entered in, he won High Point. He is an absolute natural, and has an extremely competitive edge. Naturally, we had numerous people want to buy Romeo, but my mom always had a special connection to him and never wanted to sell him; she didn’t openly admit this, but it was obvious from her actions. At the time, the owner of Dove Hollow in Rancho Santa Fe, really wanted to purchase him but she just couldn’t do it.
Fast forward a number of years and after my time at college, I moved home to start my real estate career. I wanted to get back into riding competitively, and begged my mom to let me have Romeo. She mentioned he was too much horse for me, but I assured her I could handle it, and would pay for him to be in full training. She called me one day, a few days before Christmas, mentioning that she had sold him. Little did I know, come Christmas morning, I opened an envelope with his papers. She had sold him to me for $1, and ever since Christmas 2019, he has been mine!
My greatest accomplishment with Romeo is definitely how much he has blossomed in his personality. Because he was always a sales horse, he never had his own “person”, and when I first got him he wasn’t very trusting of me. I have since gained his trust and love, and he has absolutely blossomed into the most hilarious, opinionated, competitive, quirky, talented, loving horse.
When you gain a horse’s love and trust (as any horse owner can tell you), it is an indescribable feeling. He has influenced me in so many ways, but mainly acts as the happiest part of my week and helps me unplug from my stressful work weeks. He has also made me become a more skillful rider, as he takes a lot of finesse and gentle aids, and can be reactive to sounds. I feel very lucky to have him, and am so excited to love him for the rest of his days.
In the ring, we have only competed a handful of times (due to COVID shutting all shows down), but every time we enter a show, we win. Both of us are very competitive, and I swear he turns on to his best self when it’s showtime. He is a very, very hot-blooded Friesian, and can be silly and reactive under saddle to big crowds, noises, etc. But once we enter the ring, he focuses and gives me his all.
What I can tell you is that he might have the most personality out of any horse I have encountered. My trainer, our grooms, and everyone that knows him says the same thing. He is spicy, opinionated, hard-working, silly, loving, and loyal. He is such a good boy, he loves to call out to you if you say his name, and obviously knows he is the best looking horse in the barn. We always joke that he has a massive ego, but in the best way!
I am so lucky to call him my equine partner, but more importantly, to be one of my family members. He will always have a loving home with me, and he has made me a better person and equestrian.