BY DANI SCHNEIDER
Horses come and go in our lives, but it’s our heart horses that make lasting impressions in our lives. On November 8, 2014, Frannie Twohig met her heart horse, Noble, and the rest is history.
Frannie’s brother was playing soccer when her mom, Lisa Godin, met another team mom. They started talking and quickly found out they had a mutual connection—horses. After chatting for a while, they discovered the woman had a horse she had purchased as a four-month-old to be broke by the same trainer Frannie trains with. Unfortunately, life got in the way and the horse ended up sitting around for 12 years. So, they made a deal.
With a one dollar purchase, Noble became Frannie’s. It was a perfect opportunity, since Frannie was doing online school at the time and was able to dedicate her time to working with Noble.
“My trainer, Elani Rager, and I spent the first month deciding if we wanted to keep him and if he the potential to do the Equitation and Jumpers,” Frannie shared. “He was twelve and never was trained so that first month was teaching him the basics which we picked up on fairly quickly.”
At the end of the first month, they free jumped Noble to see what he had in him, “We realized how much potential he had. Noble has great breeding so we expected him to be great. And he was.”
After six months of training, Noble began jumping and six months after that he entered the show ring. “We were able to bring him along faster since he was 12. He just had a really great mindset and attitude, so he was easy to teach.”
Frannie and Noble started showing at local shows in New Mexico to begin their show career together. After learning the ropes, they went to HITS Thermal for their big first rated show and competed in the Low Children’s Jumpers with great success.
“Noble was amazing in the show ring! He took on new show grounds, new courses, and new rings like a seasoned champion,” Frannie exclaimed.
Throughout his first year of showing, Noble and Frannie excelled in the Jumper divisions as Noble caught on quickly to the horse show life. By the time Fall came around, Frannie was preparing for Medal Finals on her Equitation horse when that horse suddenly injured himself in the trailer and was out for the season.
Enter Noble, who started to learn how to be an Equitation horse. “It took a little while for Noble to get used to the Equitation since it was a mindset change from the Jumpers, but he caught on and got comfortable.”
They competed in the Maclay, the Talent Search, the age division Equitation, and continued in the jumper ring. Noble qualified Frannie for the USEF Finals and the Maclay Finals.
Frannie competed in USEF Finals the previous year, so she decided to take Noble to the Maclay Finals in 2016. Noble had been under saddle for only two years when they went to Maclay Finals. “I was so proud of Noble. He was such a good boy, and for only being ridden for two years, I couldn’t have been more pleased.”
“I am going to keep Noble ‘til his last days. He is 18 years old now and he wants to keep working and trying his hardest for me,” Frannie shared.
“Noble is my heart horse. We connect really well and really understand each other. I haven’t felt a connection like this with any other horse I have ridden. I just feel so lucky to have Noble. It was fate that my mom met his first owner at the soccer field,” Frannie shared. “She knew my trainer and trusted me to have him and I’m so glad she did.”
Frannie and Noble have grown together through different chapters of their lives. From Los Ranchos, New Mexico where Frannie lives, to Coast to Coast and everywhere in-between, Noble is game for any challenge. “Our personalities just match perfectly,” Frannie shared. “We have a lot of patience for one another and we just click. It is a really special bond we together.”
These days, Noble attends college with Frannie at Fresno State where she boards him on campus at their Student Horse Center when school is in session. “It is really nice being able to continue riding him while at college, I am very lucky to have that opportunity.”
When Frannie is not at school, her and Noble go back home to New Mexico. “I am very fortunate to have a barn at my house so on our breaks we ride at home and when it is time for him to retire, he will live a good life in our backyard.”
“Noble is going to always have a home. I owe that to him, he has done so much for me and he deserves the best retirement, whenever he decides he doesn’t want to keep going, but I don’t think that is anytime soon. I feel so lucky to have Noble. He truly is a special horse and being able to have him for the rest of his life. He is really special to me.”