Monday, August 31, 2009

The elder statesman of Hilltop Farm

While it was fun looking at the babies at the Hilltop Farm GOV/ISR inspection, the highlight of the day was not in the nursery, but with the tribal elders of HTF. Over lunch the stallion barns were open for visitors, so I went looking for Parabol. If you're not familiar with him, Parabol was among the first wave of dressage stallions of real quality brought to the U.S. He is also Riley's grandfather, maternal side, so of course I'm biased in my assessment.

A staff member led me to his stall-- the best stall in the barn, on the end, overlooking the dressage ring and spectacular landscape. Two sides of his stall have windows so he can stick his head out and watch the glorious world go by. I was honored to be able to spend time with an elder statesman of Westphalian stallions. He came right over to us, and the HTF staff member kindly opened his door and let me say hello to him. And I got to meet him, and took some video footage of Parabol with another visitor. Please ignore my blabbing and fawning (would've deleted the audio but the HTF lady had many interesting things to say...)

Born in 1983, Parabol is four years older than Harv, but he is still physically impressive, strong-backed, and beautifully muscled. He is moving a little slow, but apparently he is still taken on hacks occasionally. Even at his advanced age, he has a presence -- regal, gracious, kind, wise -- it's hard to describe. Parabol is truly an old soul and I can imagine how beloved he is to those who know him. Thank you Hilltop Farm for sharing him with us.


  1. What a handsome boy, and so well mannered. I can see he's been well handled.

    I like the comment about not hand feeding treats. (Except of course to the elder statesman.) Nothing like seeing horses in a well-managed barn!

  2. Very nice to see an elderly horse look so well, and behave himself.

  3. This was such a treat. I've decided to get rid of a decades worth of Practical Horseman mags, many from the 90's, and of course, Parabol was featured during that time. It's quite nastalgic looking at the stallions in those magazines.


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