Back in the Barn: Don't You Wish
Jake and Sarah Gove win the 2022 Ladies Hunter Pleasure World Championship (Photo by Howard Schatzberg Photography)
Don’t You Wish, the incredible young buckskin gelding, took the Hunter Pleasure division by storm in 2022. With wins at New England Regional, Connecticut Morgan, and Mass Morgan he finished the season with the ultimate victory pass in the Ladies Hunter Pleasure World Championship. Bred and owned by Dianne Lents, we reached out to trainer Sarah Gove of Taylor River Farm in Hampton Falls, NH to go back in the barn with this colorful Morgan. “Jake” is a perfect example of a little creativity and thinking outside the box often pays off in the end.
- Jake, a 2017 gelding, is bred and owned by Dianne Lents. Sarah says “We met Dianne many years ago when she purchased Simple Elegance from us at New England Morgan. Dianne fell in love with her and had plans to breed her to her World Champion buckskin stallion, MLB Capo di Capo.” Jake was born, and Dianne was thrilled to hopefully have another colorful western champion.
Jake showing in the western division with Tommy Garland before transitioning to a hunter. Photo by Shane Shiflet
- Jake, however, had other ideas. Although he had some success in the Junior Horse division, he was not a fan of the western curb bridle. “The winter of 2021, Richard and I toyed with the idea of making him a hunter pleasure horse” says Sarah. This gave them more options for bits, nosebands, and a little more flexibility to make Jake more comfortable in his job. “Dianne has high hopes for him as a western horse, so we approached this gently!” Slowly but surely, the vision of Jake as a hunter came to life.
- Jake actually spent a good amount of his hunter training with a cart attached! “We trained him to drive at five years old, and now it is one of his favorite ways to work.” He really learned how to balance for the extended trot jogging out in the fields next to Taylor River Farm.
Jake and Sarah celebrate his win at New England Morgan Regional with owner Dianne Lents (Photo by Kim Oplotnik for The Morgan Horse)
- Jake has been nicknamed “Spirit” by the Taylor River Farm crew, after the beautiful buckskin horse in the Disney cartoon.
- As you might imagine being the only one in the barn that color gets your extra attention. Sarah says “we had to move him to the other side of the barn because he was constantly banging on his stall door for attention from his adoring lesson fans!”
- He does not have a picky pallet. “He loves all treat, lots of treats, anything at all!”
Its easy to see how Jake is referred to as Spirit by his lesson girls! (Left photo by Andy Illes)
- Jake loves spending time with his people. “If he is turned out all you need to do is whistle and he will come running straight to you”
- When asked about her favorite memory of Jake, Sarah says it was showing him for the first time at UPHA 14 Spring Premiere. “The Saddlebred people all loved him! Everywhere we went people would say ‘you won’t miss that one’ or ‘he is a really pretty buckskin’”
Jake as a foal (Photo courtesy of Sarah Gove)
- Jake’s career in the Hunter Pleasure division progressed throughout the season, he became stronger and more confident with every show. “It was a pleasure to campaign a ‘horse of a different color’ and have him be accepted by so many judges throughout the season! We are so thankful to Dianne for giving us the opportunity to let “Spirit” decide his own career!”
There is no doubt there will be more success in this unique horse’s career!
Jake showing off his moves at Taylor River Farm (Photo by Andy Illes)