Big Money - Three Years of Success Stories!
September 10, 2006
Gertjan van Roekel riding Big Money at the GDCTA Kudzu Klinic with Imtiaz Anees - September 10, 2006
October 29, 2005
Big Money and Gertjan van Roekel were pirate
twins at our Halloween Costume Party. October 29, 2005
Big Money and Gertjan enjoy galloping and jumping at the poker ride.
October 1, 2005
Big Money and mom Marie finished second at a combined training competition.
October 7, 2005
Big Money and Gertjan in a grid lesson at the farm. September 2005
June 19, 2005
Trail riding at Dawson Forest - June 19, 2005.
It's a classic situation - I grew up with horses and dreamed of having
horses again, maybe even a farm if I played my cards right. I shared
this dream with Gertjan and he liked it. There was one problem though
- he'd never ridden horse before. Gertjan agreed to take a few lessons
to make sure he liked it enough to consider one day buying a farm
populated with several horses.
Gertjan had his first riding lesson in January of 2003. To say he
is a natural is a bit of an understatement. He never really liked
posting, or trotting for that matter, but he toughed it out to learn
the basics. There was only one "little" problem - Gertjan
is 6'6" and the lesson horses weren't really his size. After
a couple of months we had agreed that for him to really improve,
he needed his own horse.
He started researching the different breeds, mostly to find which
breeds would be large enough for him, but also to find the breeds
with the temperament and abilities more in line with the style of
riding he wanted to do - cross country, fox hunting, jumping - and
the type of relationship he wanted with his horse - a pet and partner
that would bond with him. He concluded that the Thoroughbred was probably
the best fit for him in personality, ability, and size if it was at
least 17 hands. So we started looking around.
We had our trainer start looking through her contacts while we went
to the Internet. We came across the Bits & Bytes farm Web site
with their mission, their dobermans, and the pictures of
Irish Morning Mist. Gertjan was in love. It turned out
that Irish was beyond of our skill set (and budget),
but there was Big Money - Barry's hunt horse - who they just might
consider selling to the right match. It was a match made in heaven.
It became clear at the Shakerag Hunter Pace in October of 2003 just
how well the two were matched. At one of the stops along the way,
Gertjan tried a Jello shooter. We continued walking along into a pasture
with a long rolling hill. Gertjan gave me a mischievous grin and took
off with Money - his first time to gallop and his first time riding
outside the arena in the open. As they disappeared over the hill,
Elizabeth more than a little concerned asked, "Should one of
us go make sure they're alright?" I knew the look Gertjan had
given me though.
Gertjan and Big Money try galloping in the
open for the first time. October 2003
A few moments later Big Money and Gertjan returned, both with huge
grins on their faces.We couldn't stop them after that. You can tell
"Money" loves Gertjan. He follows Gertjan around like a
puppy, on the lead rope or off. Gertjan rides him bareback in the
pastures, on the trails, and even in the arena for
Bareback Challenges. I've seen Money's confidence grow
as he gets to go out with Gertjan and "play." They've been
to hunter paces, poker rides, foxhunts, trail rides, jumper shows,
and cross country schooling. As long as they have a chance to gallop
off and jump,they're both happy. All the while I know just how lucky
I am to have a husband who has bonded with his very own Thoroughbred.
-- Marie Van Roekel
Marie and Big Money - August 2003
"Look Ma, No Hands".
Big Money and Gertjan in the Backback Challenge.
Sometime Gertjan lets Marie show Big Money.
June 2004. Now she has her own horse Two Thumbs Up.
Marie on Brew This (aka Brewster) and Gertjan
on Big Money at the Shakerag Hunter Pace in October 2003.