Around 2001, when she was about four years old, she was started under saddle by a friend of her owners. Ground work seemed to progress well but a falling out between the woman starting her and the owners stalled her training for a bit so I was asked to step in and finish her. I was in my early twenties at the time and was hesitant to take the job because I knew the owners weren't great with actually paying on time. I agreed to work with her in trade for a sidesaddle and cash. I got the saddle but never saw any money from the deal. Angry Miss A turned out to be surprisingly easy to work with as long as the owners were not present. She never offered to buck when I started riding her and had a very willing attitude under saddle. I could do just about anything to her, including handle her feet but she still had to be sedated for the vet or farrier to work on her. I wish I had photos from back then but there are none that I am aware of.
When the owners could not pay, I quit training her. She was green broke at the time. I believe the woman rode her less than a dozen times and only at the walk. I would see them take her out of her stall on occasion to turn her out with their other horse, or watch the husband "work" with her on her manners (this involved mostly screaming at her and trying to hit her while she tried to stomp him into the ground). I was pleased every time she managed to kick him successfully. At some point during this time, Miss A foundered. Her owner's dreams of show ring glory seemed unlikely now, so she was mostly ignored in her stall. The pain in her feet made her attitude worse, but it slowed her down a bit when it came to attacking horses or people walking past her stall.
A few years later, my family moved our horses away from the boarding stable when my mom finally fulfilled her dream of owning property to keep them on. In 2008 Miss A showed back up in my life unexpectedly. Her owners were several months behind on their boarding fees and asked to move their three horses out to our property. I was against the idea since I knew they would not pay but my mom felt sorry for them and allowed them to bring the horses out. The three horses (a gelding, Miss A, and an old appaloosa mare) were thin, lacking in vet or farrier care, and the old mare was crippled from an injury. Miss A was sound but her feet were in bad shape. They arrived on May 21, 2008. The check for their board bounced as soon as it was deposited and the woman who owned them promptly died unexpectedly the next day. We paid to have them updated on everything and after several months of non payment, the three horses became ours through a stableman's lien. I started training Miss A to drive with the plan of selling her to recoup some of the expenses from rehabbing all three horses.
Photos by Georges Schemagin 2018
This was Strega's first time being asked to ride anywhere aside from home and she performed beautifully. She is about 19 or 20 now, swaybacked, still cranky and once foundered but has finally found her calling as an archery horse. As long as she is sound and happy, she will continue on her adventure but no one else gets to ride her since she and John have formed such a great team. Some day she will go back to her life of leisure as a pretty pasture ornament but she will always be the jewel of the Khanate.
John's velvet bow case was made by Rob of The Flying Hun Archery and Leather. Strega's bridle was custom made for her by John. He rides her bitless with an Australian saddle with a built up keyhole pad and is shooting a fiberglass Turkish bow by Alibow with bamboo arrows.