Alissa & Hizzy are the second to last pair from The Senior Horse Project! Alissa and her family own and run Laurel Nobilis Arabians in Newtown, PA, and I was so excited to tour their gorgeous farm and meet their Arabians. As someone who has owned and loved an Arabian, I know it takes a special sort of person to train and work with this incredible breed. Ollie was smarter than me – imagine having a whole barn full of these horses! But Laurel Nobilis is truly an incredible facility and Hizzy and the rest of the LaBold’s horses are lucky ponies!
Alissa asked for some of her portraits to be done in her sidesaddle outfit, which features a long dress and hat. It was such a cool opportunity to learn a bit more about a discipline I knew little to nothing about.
If anything in particular stood out from our time together, it’s that Hizzy has his own song, which just so happens to be a Tina Turner song, Simply the Best, and if you play it for him, he knows it’s for him. Also he looks incredible draped in red roses, does he not?!
Horse: Hizzy (Registered Name: Hizberry Best +//), 26 years old, Arabian, photographed at Laurel Nobilis Arabians in Newtown, PA
My mother purchased Hizzy for me, as I was only 13 at the time. Hizzy had been a saddleseat horse and driving horse with another owner. He had been in a driving/cart accident and the owner was going to retire him. He was about six.
[Hizzy] came with all of his papers, baby pictures, awards, etc. His previous owners were amazing people. I met them at shows afterwards, and we [keep] in touch. My trainer at the time saw Hizzy and thought he would be perfect for me. She convinced the previous owners to sell him to my family instead.
Hizzy was my second horse. I owned a western half Arabian/quarter horse prior. But I was not an experienced owner [at the time]. I purchased Hizzy with a desired discipline in mind. He was a saddle seat horse, which was the discipline that I had an interest in learning. Hizzy was already successful in this area, and he taught me a lot.
We had a general idea of how much it would cost [to own a horse]. We were very fortunate that Hizzy was a healthy boy for the majority of his life. He had a few impaction colics, but that was all. It wasn’t until about five years ago that he started needing more expensive care, which we did not count on having to do. Two visits to Mid Atlantic for colic, a colic surgery, and an infected catheter site from the IV [during] the colic which caused an infected jugular vein, and a founder.
I did not start out with in-depth knowledge [of how to care for a horse]. I relied on my trainers at the time. They gave me a lot of information on riding and training, but not much on care. I learned [that] from friends in the industry.
[I viewed Hizzy as an investment and also as a lifelong companion.] When I purchased him, I was just starting saddle seat. I purchased him with the hopes of [us] moving up together, and we did. We won many National titles together.
He was also a lifetime investment as I knew I could never sell him. I have never considered selling [him]. He has a [forever] home with me. I did have an idea for his retirement, as we retired a horse before Hizzy retired.
Obviously, winning all of the National titles were the highlights, especially the first. It was the first title that I had ever won, but not Hizzy’s [first].
Our lowest point was definitely his colic surgery. He had a lipoma on his intestine and the surgeon did not give him very good odds of recovery. I waited in the hospital through his surgery, through the night. Despite all odds, he did recover!
My best memory with Hizzy was our first National title win. We did not have a perfect class. I had missed a canter lead, and my trainer at the time was not very happy. She scolded me in the holding area prior to the winners announcement. When the announcement came, we were both shocked! They played Hizzy’s favorite song, “Simply the Best” and we took our victory lap. It was absolutely the best feeling in the world.
Thanks again to Alissa and the LaBold family for introducing me to all of your incredible Arabians, and for the opportunity to work with Hizzy!