AN UPDATE ON ‘HARLAN’ – One of the jousting horses from FULL METAL JOUSTING!

A while back, I wrote about 3 of the jousting horses from FULL METAL JOUSTING.  You can read that story here.

Today, I’d like to give you and update on HARLAN!

Below, I’ve attached the story of young Harlan, as he was in training at Full Metal Jousting…


Very STRIKING Harlan!

This is a report from Harlan’s trainer during the TV show, FULL METAL JOUSTING.

“Harlan is the gray/white Spotted Draft on the show. He has appeared in several shows during practices. He is a younger horse and was never finished as a driving/working horse. He was “english” born and raised and did have some riding time on him when we brought him home. He and Clyde got along fabulously and he seemed to prefer being a man’s horse. I still remember the day we went to look at him and how much Clyde liked him and his looks. I thought he looked like a rather large teenage boy who had just went through a growth spurt! He was all legs and head. But his personality was excellent and he turned out to be the clown of the group. I only rode him a few times myself as he seemed to gravitate to Clyde more, but watching him on rides it was always apparent that he was having a great time. My fondest memories of him are watching him pick up the rubber feed pans and hit himself in the head. He would work his way from one pan to the next and do the same thing over and over. I don’t know if he thought eventually food would fall out of them or if he just enjoyed being silly. Maybe a little of both?? The other horses would look at him like he was just so NOT COOL! He loved attention and whenever I would walk the fence line or be filling the water trough he would be there to supervise. I would be busy and turn around and there it was….the GIANT HEAD! I got to calling him Big Giant Head from 3rd Rock from the Sun. The first time I saw him on FMJ I was shocked at how much he has matured. He looks like a real big boy now having filled out and gained adult muscling. Looking at him now I can see everything that Clyde saw in him. I think his easy going disposition probably helps him alot and I can’t wait to watch him as Shane and his trainers continue to work with him!! I do wonder though if he’s still a clown??”

Harlan grazing with his buddies!



Out of the blue, I received a note from a reader who had stumbled upon the above story of Harlan..  She said that Harlan was her horse now (retired from Jousting) and she was so pleased to know that we had written about him.  She said that Harlan now lives in Michigan and is a trail, dressage and therapy horse!

I asked her if I could have an update… and she obliged!

Here we go!

From his loving owner, Barbara:

“He’s a Spotted draft, and yes, he morphs white in the winter and then dapples out in Spring.  You can barely make out the big used to be dark blotch on his side in the right light, and his gray dapples are all where his jet black used to be.  Of course his mane gives him away, as it has that dark section all his own.  He is very curious still about everything and likes to play with stall toys.  He is quite the gentleman; the whole barn was talking about how he time and again would park himself between this decrepit old mare and the bully who wanted to pick on her.  My hero.  He has the most elegant, floaty trot for a draft and everyone comments on how regal he looks.  Perfect strangers ask to take his picture.  After the jousting he had no idea what a right lead canter was, so that’s been a challenge.  He is pretty bombproof…I attribute that to the desensitizing of crowds and large arena chaos.  I can rope pull objects from the saddle, go thru (horse) chest deep water with him, carry and wave a giant flag while riding, ride past deer on the trail, and will be trying mounted shooting this season (my other horse can mentor him).  He is the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had, his previous owner calls him a couch, but verrrry heavy headed.  He’s a dream in the stall.  He loads effortlessly.  His best friend is my 17 year old, 16.3 hh Percheron/Tb cross mare.  He adores her.  He’s kind of a lady’s man, but gets along with everyone.  I do not try to repeat the jousting experience, but I assume he’ll be ready in case we run across any rogue jousters on the trail.”

This was the ad that stole Barbara's heart.

This was the ad that stole Barbara’s heart.


Lovely braids!


After a ride!


Out for a beautiful ride!


This is Barbara with Harlan and his new best friend.


Here he is, being a typical horse…


Trail riding in a halter!


Here he is in Knights of Valour!  I don’t know what this is for or what he was doing… but it looks like fun!

And here is Harlan, the Therapy horse. Good boy!

And here is Harlan, the Therapy horse. Good boy!




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3 comments have been posted...

  1. Sarahkate

    Thanks so much for posting about drafties and draft crosses. I am SO in love with these wonderful horses. The personalities, OMG – – my draftie’s personality is just about completely like Harlan’s – ladies’ man, a gentleman always, can ride anywhere with a halter. The only difference between my draftie and Harlan is that mine isn’t a heavy-headed ride he is so light in a (flat link) snaffle and so responsive to the bit and to leg aids and weight shifts that it’s almost like he reads my mind. I wonder how many draft and draft crosses have that floaty elastic trot because I’ve sure seen quite a few that would get great dressage scores for working and medium trots.

  2. Barbara Cuddeback

    Thanks for sharing Harland’s update. Now I suppose his head will get even BIGGER! Lol. Mr. Hollywood.

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