This spring, Charlie of the Seven Lakes Equestrian Center celebrated his 20th birthday. Community members of all ages showered the horse with adoration and treats to show their love for their four legged friend.
“Charlie is very calm, patient, and is unlikely to run for any reason. This makes him great for beginners and nervous riders,” explained Crystal Fravel, Stable Master of Seven Lakes Stables. “Many of our residents know Charlie as the first horse they rode at our stables.”
Over the years, Charlie has become a champ at working with riders from all walks of life. According to Fravel, he can clear trot poles or achieve an extended trot for an advanced rider, but will faithfully ignore the four-year-old giving him incorrect cues and follow the verbal instructions that the instructor is giving instead.
“It takes a special kind of horse to be a good lesson horse. Our horses have to tolerate a constant flow of changing riders with different skill levels and different habits,” said Fravel. “A great lesson horse not only tolerates all these differences, but also knows how to respond to best accommodate their rider.”
Charlie arrived at the stables in 2009, over eleven years ago. Since then, Charlie has certainly seen his share of ups and downs.
“Charlie has faced a challenging past few years,” noted Fravel. “I never know whether to think he is extremely unlucky or extremely lucky.” Over the past few years, Charlie has grappled with infections, wounds, surgeries, sickness, and rehab. However, Charlie is a fighter, and has overcome every obstacle thrown at him.
In 2019, Charlie battled a rare infection known as Fistulous Withers. If left untreated, this infection can go into the bone and eventually kill the horse. Charlie underwent surgery to cut away all the infected tissue and has luckily almost fully recovered. All signs of infection are gone, and he is able to be ridden again.
Despite his age, Charlie isn’t quite the oldest horse at the stables. Charlie’s best friend, Fox, is his senior by four years. Fox has also been at the stables the longest, having resided in Seven Lakes for the past eighteen years. Nugget, the stables’ medium sized pony, is the youngest at only ten years old.
“Charlie is unquestionably one of the best,” noted Fravel. “For the kids who have grown up here, he is often the first ‘big horse’ they ever rode.”
For more information about the Seven Lakes Equestrian Center, please call 910-673-4738 or find the stables on Facebook under Seven Lakes Equestrian Center.