Comanche the Georgian Grande
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Sandy Pearce and Kathleen Bryant
Comanche is a beautiful 16-year-old Georgian Grande, a horse breed known for being friendly, intelligent, easy to train and good with amateur riders. Some would consider Comanche to be a pasture accident, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He is a cross between a Clydesdale, Saddlebred and Friesian and is far from being any accident. With his expressive eyes and beautiful coat of white, brown and black, Comanche was destined to do great things – just like his namesake – the strong and noble military hero, Comanche, a mixed-breed horse thought to be the sole survivor of Custer’s Last Stand.
Born in Piketon, Ohio at Flying W Farms, Comanche left his first home as a yearling to start his new life in Surrey Ridge with Sandy and Brad Pearce. He is more than just livestock; to the Pearces, Comanche is a true member of the family along with their other horses Lakota, Brinkley and Malachi, the family dogs and their three (soon-to-be four) grandchildren that come to roam and play.
Although Comanche loves to play, run and jump, his true talent and career is dressage, a French term meaning training. Dressage is a sport involving the execution of precise fluid movement by a trained horse in response to barely perceptible signals from its rider. Important to the sport are the horse’s pace and bearing in performing walks, trots and canter gaits and other maneuvers.
At the height of his career, Comanche suffered a ruptured tendon in his hind leg. There were several uncertainties after his surgery, but with the help of his surgical team at Colorado State University (CSU) Veterinary Teaching Hospital and a year of being nursed back to health, Comanche is at the top of his game competing this season. Through trained practice, patience and many sugar cubes, Comanche continues to compete at the highest level of dressage with his strongest suit in passage and piaffe.
It was a long recovery at home, and the Pearces are forever grateful to the horse family that surrounds Surrey Ridge and Oak Hills. Fellow riders in the neighborhood visited and entertained Comanche during his long recovery. A unique horse community like this is hard to find with the area’s development boom. Proximity to CSU also provided the Pearces the opportunity to watch their neighbor Emily Reeder-Hill grow and graduate from CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and be part of the team that helped nurse Comanche back to prime condition.
When Comanche is not competing, he can be found practicing or playing in Surrey Ridge’s top arena or shopping the local garage sales with Sandy. Comanche may be a big horse with a big personality, but he has a gentle nature and spirit and will always be a true fighting warrior.