Lad's Black Buster walking under
side-saddle, rider Maryan Zyderveld
Year 1992 - place: Woudenberg, province Utrecht
This is my "old Hero"
Lad's Black Buster - who's 22 years old now and he's
been my horse for 19 years! Bred in Germany, and
imported to the Netherlands in 1986, Buster also has
Racking Horse papers (RHAA, Alabama), which I applied
for through an intermediate who saw him rack here in
Europe. Buster can rack and he can walk and I've got
pictures of him at three years old, not being ridden yet
(and unshod), showing him at a walk, at a rack and at a
trot. For him, a rack is obviously natural as
well - I just compare him with Roan Allen F-38, who is
described as executing a very fine rack as well as a
Please click on the
photos below to enlarge them.
1992 Utrecht with me up -
quite dark but still nice - no shoes again
I used to train him
regularly on the lunge line and then I let him trot, on
the Dutch command "draf" which he knows well, to let him
use those muscles and make himself long and relaxed
(with at times his nose reaching to the ground).
These are some pictures of Buster under side-saddle,
which I did quite a lot with him. Buster was also shown
under side-saddle and a friend of mine even showed him
jumping under side-saddle!
Now Buster is a very
spirited horse with lots of stamina but he can be lunged
with just a halter on, and and you can hold him
with just your little finger. Once a little girl of five
years old, asked me whether she could lunge my horse
too. I let her do it and even stepped out of the ring.
There was this child, lunging my stallion all on her
Lad's Black Buster with rider Linda
van der Horst in the year 1988 - background: Landgoed (=
estate) Vollenhove, province Utrecht, the Netherlands -
as you can see: no shoes! Buster has got a "ring-eye" on
the left, his right eye is more pigmented, and photos
from his left side often show white like here.
Things do change with
other horses around though, for he's mighty
interested in mares. He can be ridden within any group,
as I often did, but at a show or any occasion with
foreign horses, it's very difficult to let him relax
enough to do a walk, he'll be too tense for it and will
readily go off in a rack. Now I do enjoy a rack, but a
nice lofty rack covering lots of ground! When Buster
used to be trained and was well muscled, he surely could
do such a rack!
This is Buster with me up - my
"classic picture!" - Linda standing - Buster with ribbon
on headstall - seems to be happy with himself too!
Buster with Linda up - informal
so-called "rat-catchers" costume - no hat there, no face
net and hair not tucked-up! Buster was never
taught to park, but usually he put himself in a nice
stance, without being asked!
The photo below of
Buster in western gear was taken by Ellen Vierhaus,
Stephan's wife and partner in their horse-business. They
are well-known gaited-horse trainers. In 1991 Buster was
staying at their place for the breeding season. He was
mainly used to cover "German Trotters" (this registry is
built up of about 90% Standardbred blood). These
"Trotters" are often gaited, and that's exactly the main
activity of Ellen and Stephan Vierhaus: training and
selling German Trotters as gaited riding horses. The
crossbreds TWH with Trotter are registered with a German
Registry-Book (Rheinisches Pferdestammbuch). I still
have Trotters now and again to breed to Buster or Leroy.
Buster can be ridden
with virtually any type of bit or without bitting, also
on a halter with ropes attached. Seven years ago he had
an accident in his stable-box, he's usually quiet in the
stable but there was a mare in heat and probably at
night he had been rearing. I came there at four o'clock
p.m. and found him standing at the rear of his box (he
always came to the door normally), with a little saliva
with bubbles drooping from his lip and he hadn't touched
much of his hay and pallets. So I knew something to be
wrong (typically - nobody had noticed anything before -
I must admit here I'm a vet so I've got that advantage).
Lad's Black Buster with western saddle
and bosal, rider Stephan Vierhaus - location: Borken,
Germany - year 1991 - no shoes again!
Further I noticed a
little bit of swelling on his lower jaw, no blood or
open wound. Also, I saw scratches on the metal above his
stable door, and that was such a type of door running
over wheels with this (dangerous!) longitudinal opening
over the door. So, obviously, he had been rearing, got
stuck in that opening with his lower jaw, and had it
broken - my most probable diagnosis.
So I got a halter,
loose enough to let his lower jaw free, got Buster up
the horse trailer and drove him very carefully to
another vet with X-ray apparatus. He made the X-rays and
there it came out that his lower jaw was broken
threefold and complicated (several small fragments). We
decided to treat him "conservatively", that is, without
surgery (too much risk of bone infection and other
complications) and this turned out to be right.
Here's Buster playing (in front of the
- must have been at 20 years old.
Buster's jaw healed
very well. After healing he again ate everything, but
during his recovery, he was fed several buckets of
nourishing "porridge" a day, for several months. I
couldn't turn him out on grass (or anywhere) or feed him
any hay or give him straw in the stable! Any force on
his jaw should be avoided! Couldn't use a bit, didn't
have a bosal, just a hackamore - which of course
couldn't be used because of the strap under the jaw.
So I lunged him (with
the little finger!) and rode him out on a halter.
Couldn't stay in a riding pen as this really was not
enough for his high spirits (and both Buster and I quite
dislike it). Later I bought a side-pull, could put it on
loose, no pressure on the jaw but just on the nose-bone,
and rode him with this all the consecutive year. Then it
was Spring again and Buster was getting more interested
in the mares, so I started with a mouthpiece again as
passing other horse-riders in the woods with just a
side-pull on a stallion became a bit insecure.
Buster with Dunja