With a bit of luck, some equestrians have that one special horse that comes full-circle and back into their lives. For Claudia Brown of Liberty, Ohio, it is a horse named Levi. Brown began riding as a child. She took lessons throughout her adolescent years, but as college approached and she married, she left horses behind. In 2004, Claudia decided it was time to re-enter the horse world, and began her showing career as an AQHA Novice, and later as a Select.
Brown owned and showed a mare named Genuine Bo Pine (Cuppy). As time went on, Brown and her trainer decided her current show mare was ready to be retired. One day, as Claudia was scrolling through Facebook back in January 2013, she came across an advertisement for a beautiful yearling being sold by Marshall Shearer, a trainer located in West Virginia.
Guaranteed Good Bar (Levi) was the perfect replacement for Cuppy. Brown states, “He was such a beautiful mover for a yearling. He’s bred well with the Invester on top and bottom. And then, he’s just a sweetheart.”
By the time Levi reached five years old, he had still not let go of his headstrong ways. After going through three different trainers, a lot of frustration and a lot of funds, Claudia decided in the Spring of 2016 to trust a friend’s word and send Levi to a trainer in Woodsfield, Ohio.
Claudia adds, “I just wanted him retrained on trails and to find a good home that wanted to trail ride him. I wanted him to be happy, and he wasn’t at all happy doing what he was doing.”
A few months later when Marshall Shearer tried to buy him back, he was told that he was the trainer’s best trail horse, and she couldn’t possibly part with him, so it seemed Levi had found his place in life.
To her astonishment, Claudia received a phone call in early December of last year that a rescue had Levi. He had been confiscated from the same trainer’s property in Woodsfield, Ohio with many other animals that had been severely neglected.
Levi was a day away from being euthanized when a rescue stepped in and claimed four of the 13 horses that had been at the property. With an extreme case of rain rot and malnourishment, Levi began being nursed back to health. While still at the rescue, Claudia explains, “Feedings were required once an hour around the clock to save the neglected bodies.”
While at the rescue in early 2017, Levi had seemingly lost his personality and wasn’t the fun loving horse Brown had known. It was all about survival. With time, he is slowly returning to his original, playful self. Claudia says, “He was at my house from January to the beginning of March. At that point, I took him to Marshall Shearer’s place in West Virginia.”
Marshall is the horse trainer Claudia had originally bought Levi from as a yearling in 2013. She decided to bring Levi back to Marshall this year after the rescue, because as Claudia says, “He would be able to start the rebuilding of his muscle. He’s been there two months, and there’s been a dramatic change in his personality. It’s almost as though he fast forwarded to a 10-year-old gelding.”
His body condition is currently a large improvement from the malnourished horse he was coming from the rescue in December. He is becoming more healthy and is loved by not only Brown but a constant number of children who ride and play with him. Over the weekend of May 6 and 7, Marshall took Levi to the Beverly Show Grounds in West Virginia and as Claudia states, “Levi packed the kids around.”
She also says very happily, “The amazing thing is he just loves the kids playing with him. He’s got little kids riding him, and he just walks along and is content with life.”
When asked what her plans are for Levi, Claudia says, ”We don’t have any ‘plans’ for Levi because we want it to go at his own speed. But, he’s scheduled to go to the AQHA show over Memorial Day in Beverly, West Virginia. No pressure, just have fun and maybe do a showmanship class and a walk jog or western pleasure class. Beverly is super low stress, and he likes it there.”
About the Author: GoHorseShow intern, Cori Cansdale is a 15 year old sophomore from Laguna Beach, California. She currently shows Promotional Asset, her 14 year old bay gelding, in the all-around events at major AQHA shows across the country. When she is not riding, you can find her at the beach or on her family ocean boat.