A dog riding a horse is not a common sight, even in the Horse Capital of the World. But that’s exactly what visitors at this year’s BreyerFest will have a chance to see when Dally and Spanky perform together this weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Dally is an 8-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, and her best friend, Spanky, is a miniature horse. Francesca Carsen, owner and trainer of the two, said it all started a few years ago when she and her partner, Steve Rother, adopted Dally.
Carsen would train Spanky, who she said was “pretty naughty” at first, after they rescued him. When Dally came along, he would sit and watch Carsen train Spanky, she said.
Then, Dally “just jumped up on him one day,” Carsen said. Now, the two perform, jumping, pushing a ball, lying down, and standing on a stool together.
Dally and Spanky live on the couple’s ranch in Washington.
“People ask how I trained (Dally), but I didn’t really train her,” Carsen said. “I just trained the horse.”
Dally and Spanky have appeared on the “The Late Show with David Letterman” and on a National Geographic show. They have a book about their friendship, and — of course — they have a Breyer horse model of themselves.
At the 28th annual BreyerFest, hosted by the American brand that “makes the world’s most realistic model horses,” other performers will join Dally and Spanky, including Australians Dan James and Dan Steers of Double Dan Horsemanship, Guy McLean, and Loyal Equestrian Arts, giving shows on Friday and Saturday evening at the BreyerFest Celebration of Horses.
At the festival, visitors will have access to the International Museum of the Horse, the American Saddlebred Horse Museum and the barns.
“There’s so much to see and do if the kids have never been around a horse before,” Carsen said. “It’s just a great event.”
Emma Austin: 859-231-1455