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Horses at work: Meet Smash

Smash arrived at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center in August 2018. The El Paso County Sheriff seized the Quarter horse due to owner neglect, and it didn’t take long for Smash to catch the attention of Brent Winston, who, at the time, was the head trainer at the Harmony Equine Center. (Winston is now one of the managers at the Harmony Equine Center.)

“When I first saw Smash being worked, another member of our training team, Trevor Allen, was riding him,” said Winston. “I loved the way he moved. When I got on Smash to give him a riding level assessment, he operated very lightly and got very anxious with even a little bit of pressure. I knew in the right hands that anxiety would turn into something useful.”

During Smash’s training and rehabilitation at Harmony, Winston kept a close eye on how he was progressing.  “Trevor was doing a great job with him, and I liked him more and more,” said Winston. “I saw a lot of potential in him to be a very special horse with the right amount of time.”

Winston began riding Smash and teaching him some of the things that he likes horses to know with thoughts of a possible adoption. Smash proved himself to be very intelligent and picked up techniques. It didn’t take long for Winston to decide that Smash was going home with him.

Smash, who is now 14-years old, is also working at Harmony, helping other horses during their training and rehabilitation. “At first, I didn’t know if Smash would be a good saddle horse for Harmony or not because the saddle horse needs to be calm, and with Smash’s anxiety, it was unknown,” said Winston. After I adopted Smash, I took him home and started using him as a ranch horse for my cattle. I didn’t really train on him, I just used him, and I learned very quickly that when Smash has a job to do, he is all business and puts his everything into it and stays calm and doesn’t quit. During that time of use on the ranch, he and I really got on the same page. That’s when I thought that Smash would be a good saddle horse for the younger, greener horses at Harmony.” (A saddle horse is a seasoned horse that assists the trainer and supports the horses in training.)

Smash has various “jobs” at Harmony. He helps the trainers halter break horses, which is easier to do from on another horse and assists with first rides on horses, helping to move them and keep them calm. “When working green horses, it’s always a plus when you can get above them, and Smash is a great help with that,” said Winston.

Today, Smash can be ridden by everyone on Harmony’s training team, and he’s helped staff start approximately 10 horses putting first rides on and halter break just as many. “Smash learns something new every day, and he teaches me something new each day, too,” said Winston. “He wears his personality for the world to see, and he’s a great guy to know.”

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