Thursday, August 29, 2013

And Then I Saw Him

I told myself I really wasn't shopping for a new horse. I was just quietly looking for the fun of it right? Right. I purused the internet with the one track mindedness of a bargain shopper on Black Friday. Every free minute that wasn't taken up with things like my job, superhubs, the farm and all the other things I have going on was spent just flipping through websites. But it was still with the feigned disinterest of a teenage girl trying not to let that super cute boy know that she noticed him.

In short I was hip dip in a large vat of denial. Yes there were still those guilt laden moments when I would glance outside and see the High Queen staring at me from the fence line. I would hurridly close the horse shopping windows on my laptop as if she would know that I was looking for her replacement. But remember I wasn't really "shopping" I was just looking.  Riiiiight.

Twice I actually stepped in to reality and went to look at horses. But they weren't right and I never got that great feeling out of it after I left the barns.

I did really want to try and not get another TB. Not that they aren't great horses, they are. But I wanted something kick along quiet this time and those kinds of TB's are either waaaaaay out of my price range, or rarer than rare to come across.

Google has been my best friend for a long time. A couple of weeks ago I did a random Google search for horse rescues in Virginia. I knew I didn't want to do a lot of traveling to find a horse this time. Among all the other results was one for of all things an OTTB rescue that was less than an hour from my house.  Hmmmm, okay lets just see what kind of horses they have on their website. Remember I'm not shopping I'm just looking.

On the site was a gorgeous, tall, black bay OTTB gelding, and wow what a mover, plus he was already jumping a little. There were a couple of other faces I was curious about so I emailed the adoption coordinator/trainer and asked her about the three that piqued my interest.  When her reply came I swiftly focused my interest on the sort of muddy brown/chestnut fellow.  He hadn't been at the top of my list because at first glance he's not that impressive. But Mr. Tall and Elegant was also Mr. I Need to Be Ridden 7 days a week. Nope, not for me. The second horse Mr. Older, and Experienced was also Mr. Hell Bent for the Jumps.  Nope, again not for me. I was looking for Mr. Uncomplicated More Whoa than Go.

I had already decided to go see Mr. Muddy Chestnut when I found out that the barn that housed the adoption organization horses was going to have an open house.  Well fabulous, no appointment needed, and they were going to demo the exact horse I was interested in.  Double fabulous.

Of course I'm still lying to myself at this point and Superhubs hasn't even taken an interest yet because he knows(16 years of marriage will do that)I am apt to change my mind at the drop of a hat. So I dress in a nice pair of jeans, t-shirt and barn boots then drive the 40 minutes to the barn.  I meet and greet the coordinator and she shows me to the chestnut's stall.  We eye one another through the bars, he snuffles my fingers as I stroke his nose.  He's brought out, tacked up and we go off to the indoor arena where one of the two junior riders gets on and shows off his paces.  Mr. Chestunut's gaits aren't impressive, but there is potential there. I'm already calculating in my mind on how to strengthen him so his gaits will be fancier. His rider asks me if I want to try him. Ahhhh WANT TO WANT TO WANT TO! But I did not bring helmet, or proper boots. It was an open house I didn't think they were going to let the public just hop on.

So I had to decline and walked back to the barn with Mr. Chestnut who nudged and toyed with me in a soft no teeth kind of way.  And I was sunk, I just didn't know it yet.  I also got to watch a demo of Mr. Tall and Elegant which reinforced the fact that he was sooo not for me.  One of the junior riders brought him in to the arena where he proceded to eat the mounting block. I stepped up to hold his head wherein he decided to try and bite me. Repeatedly. Then he showed off his expressiveness under saddle. As in I am going to buck, and invent monsters in the corner because I'm bored. Pass.

 I talked to the coordinator and the trainer a little while and made an appointment to come back. The next day rolls around and this time Superhubs takes an interest and decides to go with me. Bless him because he did something later that day which would help me convince the trainer that I hadn't lied on my adoption application. We tack up Mr. Chestnut head to the arena I get on and proceed to wander around at the walk and trot, checkin to see if he steers well, if he'll move off my leg(I truly hated the saddle I had to ride in, completely put my leg in the wrong place, and the stirrups were two holes too long). I halted, circled, changed directions, and we hopped over some cross rails.  He's still a little hesitant about the cross rails, I mean he goes over, but I don't think he's done it too much so he's unsure about it.

Then we took Mr. Slowpoke out on a little after ride hack, Superhubs and the trainer following next to or behind me.  On the way out the gelding was fine, easy, calm, relaxed.  On the way back, we still don't know what happened exactly. It could have been the bugs, it could have been evening feed-itis, it could have been a test to see if I was worthy of him.  But he spooked and bucked. I don't think he was trying to buck me off, more that he spooked, I pulled back on the reins and he had no where to go.  He did stop when I asked him to(one rein stops are good and all knowing), so I didn't think much about it. 

The trainer on the other hand was freaking out a little. Apparently, and sadly a lot of people lie about their riding ability on their applications. Of course when they come out to try the horses the liars are weeded out. When I did my application I hesitated over Intermediate or Advanced rider.  Because there are so many interpretations and I never like trying to promote myself as something I'm not. I see myself in general riding as a high intermediate or a low advanced rider. So I marked Advanced on the application thinking they meant general riding not like competition level riding.  When the whole bucking spree started(in reality he crow hopped twice) the trainer freaked, and looked at Superhubs. "How can you be so calm?" She asked him. To which Superhubs, bless him, said. "She knows what she's doing."

I eventually got off Mr. Chestnut and walked him back because he was still agitated, although after we hosed him off he seemed calm and unruffled again.  The trainer got waylayed so Superhubs and I walked Mr. Chestnut in to the barn ourselves where I swapped his bridle for his halter. I fed him carrots and he nudged and played with me like the day before. Then he lay his muzzle on the back of my neck like a horsey kiss.  I melted right then and there. Of course Superhubs(whose Spotted Beast has tried to bite me a couple of times) says "Don't let him bite you."  I don't think Mr. Chestnut has those kind of naughty thoughts.

The trainer was apprehensive about whether I would still want to adopt Mr. Chestnut. He had a baby moment, he's six and only been off the track a little while. It was late afternoon, hot. muggy, buggy. And he did stop when I asked him to didn't blow through my aids and take off. So I forgave him, gave the trainer the nod, and just like that I had a new horse.


  1. I agree! I want to see pics! And I'm so happy for you!

  2. Congrats! Can't wait to see pictures!

  3. There will be mad amounts of pictures when I pick him up this coming week. I had to go out of town this weekend and didn't want to pick him up only to have to leave him again. And I was so distracted by him the two times I was at the barn where he currently lives that I didn't get any good photos. Check back on Thursday thats when I'm bringing him home.