View Full Version : Once in a lifetime horses
Jun. 29, 2009, 08:51 AM
This is purely happy fuzziness about my horse and how much she's done for me... please share your stories too! Sorry about the length.
Have you ever had a horse where you woke up every morning excited to go to the barn and ride, even if the day before was awful? Who always pricked her ears when you were coming down the aisle and stretched her head down for a kiss on the double whorls on her forehead? Who gave you her heart and her all just because she loved you?
I am fortunate to have a horse like this. She has lived an interesting life, to say the least, from a successful career in the junior hunters to bouncing from sale barn to sale barn to nearly being donated...to being mine. And it was not an easy road with her. I would spend nearly every waking moment with her.
And I taught her everything that I could about people. That standing in the back of the stall with her ears back was not all that fun, cuddles are nice, peppermints are yummy, begging sometimes works, that no one will hurt her. That I will be there every day to see her, ride her, and love her.
In return, she taught me everything that she knew. A back-cracking, beautiful jump was the most amazing feeling in the world, even if I almost fell off on the other side. I had to learn to ride with tact, to suggest ideas and ways of going rather than demanding them; you can bet that my little red-headed girl has a hot temper and is quite sure that she is a princess. She taught me about trusting each other, about not giving up, and about bonding. Most of all, she taught me to have confidence in her, but also in myself. When I got her, I was certain that I would never jump higher than 3'6''; I was afraid to, didn't really have the desire to, whatever you want to call it. But on her, it was different; I felt like we could do anything we wanted, and we did.
She taught me to have a sense of humor by showing me her own. If she wanted to play her own games when we were doing gymnastic work, she would. I remember one time, we were trying to correct a right drift, so my trainer put a guide rail up against the standard. Nikki's solution was to drift even farther to the right and jump the standard itself, a 5' effort. She'll decide that certain jumps have invisible rails that are between 4'6'' and 5', especially green oxers. If she feels proud of herself, she'll prance all the way back to the barn, and if I try to kiss her nose while she's all puffed up, she musses up my hair. She licks my face occasionally, much the way a puppy would.
I'm the only person she does this for. She has very obviously singled me out and gives me her heart in a way she does for no one else. For sure, I think about this after a good ride, but that is not when I truly feel the impact the most.
Sometimes, she'll turn her head into my shoulder and just want a hug. I'll hold her head and breathe in her horsey scent, and know that I am so blessed to have a horse like her, to have her trust, her love.
I got this picture at the end of a disastrous horse show; one of those where so many things that are out of your control go wrong. In this round, Nikki had ripped a shoe off (I didn't know, otherwise I clearly would have pulled up) and kept jumping for me. This was the last jump, and the effort she gave was incredible. http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs103.snc1/4571_1172397994275_1357770419_30959908_183749_n.jp g
Your sentimental and/or sappy stories?
Jun. 29, 2009, 10:09 AM
Your mare is lovely! It is such a blessing to have a really special horse like that come into our lives.
My own once in a lifetime horse was one I "knew" and admired for several years, but never did I think I'd get to ride him even, let alone own him. Then things seemed to fall into place, and he was mine, if only for a short time.
He was big, red and the kind of horse that takes your breath away. From the moment he stepped off the trailer he felt familiar, as if we were two good friends just picking up where we left off. I pinched myself every day hardly able to believe he was part of my life. He was the nicest horse I have ever sat on or had the pleasure to be around. He was a lovely mover, superbly trained, and as kind and forgiving as any horse could ever be.
I was going through some very serious health issues at the time and I can honestly say it was the most trying year of my life. Dan got me through the worst of it and carried me out the other side. Just as my health started to improve, he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He was more than just a horse to me, and his loss hit me very hard.
There are times it seems as if him being here was just a dream, he came and went so quickly. It is an experience I will never forget, nor ever replicate, I am certain. There are, and will be, other horses... but there will never be another Dan.
Jun. 29, 2009, 11:14 AM
Aww both your stories are very touching and I do have one of my own.
Several years ago I was going through some harder times finding a horse. The first horse was a rescue of sorts and once he got plump was much too strong to do what I wanted. Nonetheless we kept him but only a year or so after that he came up lame with pedal osteitis (sp?). It was a sad time as this was my first horse and I knew he needed something I couldn't provide for him. So we sold him.
Next horse was an absolutely gorgeous chestnut appendix QH. He had no brain in his head but was a very kind horse with an amazing jump and a great packer. He came up lame as well with the beginnings of navicular.
I was very sad after letting both these horses go. They were older so the lameness issues made sense but they didn't make it any easier.
The goal for the next horse was to find a cheap 4 or 5 year old that I could train. This way I would have something to do since I was no longer able to show or take lessons since my parents had cut me off completely. Also hopefully a 4 or 5 year old would not have any lameness issues.
We searched high and low on the internet and couldn't find anything. So one day at the store I picked up the little nickel classified ads (a free classified ad paper). In there there were many horses for sale but for some reason one just stood out to me. It was an ad for a tri-colored 16 hand 3/4 Tennessee Walker, 1/4 Thoroughbred. Don't ask me what spurred this idea that a TW/TB cross would be good for H/J stuff but somehow I had that feeling.
I took the ad to my trainer and said well what if he isn't gaited? We proceeded to call the phone number and sure enough he wasn't! We decided to go look at him the next day.
We got to where he was and of course it was raining, sideways actually, the woman pulled out a big flashy horse that was the spitting image of a warmblood and said "this is him." She then proceeded to tie him to a fence post that left his nose no more than 5 inches from the electric wire. He stood there quietly without worry as he got an old cavalry saddle threw it on him and a HUGE shanked bit too . She got on and rode him and he moved BEAUTIFULLY! This horse was only for sale for $2500 and he looked the same as many $25,000 horses.
Needless to say he was at my barn as soon as my horse was sold and it has been history ever since. I have done all his training and he has proved to be more than money can buy. No one believes me when they see his extended trot or his jump or him that he has any TWH in him.
He has been the best horse a person could have. He is always there for me when I need him. He has taught me more things in the short time that I've had him than I have learned my whole life. Not just things about riding but things about life. He has taught me to be gentle, to trust, to always be kind even though it can be difficult. He has taught me that staying calm even though there are many reasons to be uptight is the best way to handle any situation.
Most of all he has taught me that there is more to riding than competition. I have not been able to show since my parents stopped paying for my horse. This horse has made that one of the best gifts that my parents have ever given. He is one that could go out there and smoke the competition but we never have and I seriously have never felt the need to. I know he is a once in a lifetime horse and so does he and that's all that matters.
Jun. 29, 2009, 10:28 PM
I have my once and a lifetime horse right now. It was actually quite the journey getting him but I am glad I did. First off I was quite new to riding and not quite sure what to look for in a horse. I just went online and looked up beginner horses in my area. Found one that sounded great emailed the owner and arranged a visit. She warned me he was her best horse at the camp (he came from a summer camp) for teaching grooming and if she couldn't find a replacement in 3 weeks the sale wouldn't go through. Well I was confident she would find a replacement since she already had a horse in mind. So went tried him, feel in love with his personality. even my horsey hating mother commented she loved him. Well we were all ready to get him- three weeks later I get an email "i'm sorry we couldn't find a replacement, he can't be sold but he will be going up for sale in the winter". I was heartbroken and refused to look at any more horses. Anyways winter comes and sure enough he goes up for sale while I was away at university. I made sure it was for real this time and flew home to have another look. I fell in love all over again and bought him on the spot. brought him home 2 months later when I came home from school.
He fit right in at home on the first day. Second morning I could hear him calling me from the paddock and he nickered as soon as he saw me and followed me like a puppy dog. Five days later my grandfather passed away which hit me hard. My horse was my shoulder to cry on and he seemed to know just when to do something silly to lift my spirits. I spent the first 6 months just doign groundwork and bonding with him which was fabulous. I then started taking lessons and he has been so patient with me, although occassionally throws in a little buck for fun. he tries his little heart out and always wants to be close to me when somewhere new. I get told he is antsy when I am gone too long. Yesterday I came home from my first 12 hour shift, and as soon as he saw me he abandoned his nice lush grass to run over, nicker and cuddle as if to say "mom where have you been". He just has such a loving personality, is a great horse with kids. He has taught me so much and I know our journey together will just keep getting better and better.
Jun. 29, 2009, 10:39 PM
I still have dreams about my junior horse from over 20 years ago - hope I will have another "once in a lifetime horse" again someday!
Jun. 29, 2009, 11:51 PM
I definitely have my "once in a lifetime" horse right now. I truly believe fate kept bringing us back together. Our love affair began when he was 4 and I was 13, this spunky little guy literally jumped off the trailer. He came from NY, my trainer at the time requested "something in black". All we know about him is that he came from out west..from the brand on his side and he was born in '96. He was a firecracker from day one but wanted to learn, loved to learn actually. With my trainer's help he learned how to play hunter o/f, be a fancy dressage pony and a beast out on cross country. He truly was a jack of all trades, going to medal finals, the young riders dressage championships and area IV eventing championships..in different years of course! When I was 16 I switched trainers to do hunters/eq full time and little Bear stayed behind. I had leased him for 3 years and the trainer would not sell. Apparently after I left he proceeded to dump every kid at the barn and he then sat around for a year doing nothing until a family in PA bought him. I didn't encounter Bear again until I was a Sophomore in college. A friend called to tell me she thought she found him for sale online. I looked it up and knew it was him and the fact that he was located ten minutes from my college seemed like fate. Unfortunately he had already been sold. However his owner was a very nice woman who insisted I come out and see/ride him. Seeing him for the first time in 4 years was like Christmas, my birthday and winning the lottery combined. She said she had never seen him look better. Bear was sent off to Pittsburgh the next week. Fastforward one month and Bear's saint of a previous owner who had been letting me ride her green warmblood in the mean time called me with fantastic news. She bought him back and he was coming home in two days! I practically died at the thought. :D He made it apparent to his new owners that he did not enjoy his new home...at all. He came back a complete mess but seemed to perk up when I was around and he was handed over to me to do with as I wished. He didn't mind all the hugs and kisses I gave him and I would talk to him for hours stroking his head while he dozed off. After 6 months of being back at his true home..he was finally starting to settle in..his spooks and freak outs gradually faded out and we could depend on him again, because he knew we weren't going anywhere. Currently we're showing rated hunters on the East Coast and loving every minute of it. He's my partner in crime and I don't know what I would do without him. My family likes to joke that he's the longest relationship I've ever had..and well, he is :lol:
Jun. 30, 2009, 01:22 AM
Lots of Slots is my beautiful TB mare, other wise known as Sycamores Poison Ivy. Sixteen years ago I thought I would start shopping for a horse and I bought the first one I saw. Fell in love as she came off the trailer. I wanted a dressage horse/ do some small jumps horse. I was over 30 and not the worlds best rider. She tried her best with me and we did well for years but a dressage horse she is not. Jumping was far more her thing. When my niece out grew her pony she started riding and retraining Ivy (we renamed her for showing, Lots of What? got embarrassing in the show ring) for the Hunters. I got the pony, LOL. This was much more her thing and when my niece went to college a friend evented her. After that she went to the jumpers with a girl that I look on like a niece. Well that was what Ivy was waiting for. She loved it. Through all this time I was still her caregiver. I would go to the shows and I enjoyed watching her and riding the pony, who I also love dearly. When I would pull in to the barn I would see her raise her head, happy I was there. She knew my truck noise from across a field. If I was upset she knew it, and listened. If I went into the field she had my back and watch out if another horse came to close. When I went away for a few days wow do I get the cold shoulder.
This last Feb 11th almost 16 years to the day that I got her she was in a lesson that my niece was teaching and disaster struck. She took a very low jump (11/2 ft) and went into the corner in a collected canter. She was about five strides off the jump when everyone heard a loud noise and she was on 3 legs. They came and got me and it was obvious that something was horribly wrong. Have you ever prayed for a bowed tendon, ligament, suspesary problem? She had shattered her P1. It was in pieces. The Vet came fast and we got her to New England Equine where she had surgery the next day. There was nothing to pin. They had to put a pin through her cannon bone and hang the bottom of her leg on the cast. She was there for eleven weeks and several surgeries to move the pins. At one point she was in a full leg cast. They were great up there, I mean really great. I had to put another horse in her stall. It was to hard looking down the back aisle toward her stall and seeing it empty, all her blankets hanging there. Well she is home now still in a wrap and splint. She will never jump again, there will be no more shows. Just a big pasture and alot of grass. I wonder how she will take retirement. She is a horse who liked to work but I have to say that I was thinking the other day as I unloaded her from the trailer after a checkup at NEE of the first time I saw her. How I was so glad I got her and that she taught me so much. Also that even with her leg in a big wrap and about 100 pounds underweight she still was beautiful.
Jun. 30, 2009, 05:20 AM
It's so nice to see someone really appreciate their wonderful horse. I hope you will continue that relationship for many years to come.
My husband and I have each had one once in a lifetime horse. The memories stay with you forever.
Jun. 30, 2009, 06:56 AM
She is beautiful!
My once in a lifetime has, I think, come and gone through my hands already and I really, really regret that. She was my large pony and was she anything most people would think of as once in a lifetime horse - honestly probably not? She was a redheaded mare too, but a pony and definitely had that extra kick of attitude. If she didn't want to do something there was no convincing her in the world.
Riding her was difficult, sometimes she scared me, but mostly she just frustrated me. She was extremely quick and I was more of a push rider. But she was a lovely mover when I could get her to cooperate, or when I could learn to go at her level, and she was a fabulous jumper. She would have done good things in the jumper ring, I think, if I had been braver.
When I got her she was green, green, green and we got her for bargain basement price. Her mane was long and matted and she didn't even have steering at the walk. Our flatwork ring had no fence around it at the time and we would end up halfway through the next field before I could convince her to turn. Eventually we did the greens and qualified for Pony Finals though.
Despite her stubborness and red-headed mare syndrome, everyone that knew us said I was the one person she loved - for whatever reason. I could sit under her and brush her tummy and she wouldn't move. I was the one that brought her the only treats she would eat - carrots. My trainer told me time and time again how crazy she was for the farrier, but the first time I was there to hold her she stood totally still and relaxed.
Some of my favorite times with her were just when no one else was at the barn and I would ride her back from the field just in a halter and leadrope. I knew I loved her, but I don't think I knew how much until she was sold and that's the part I really regret.
I hope that one day I can have her back, she is still fairly young, but her new owners aren't cooperative with speaking to me or giving me any kind of information so I don't hold my hopes too high. All I can really pray for now is that she is being loved and understood and has one more kid that she knows is hers and she loves as much as she loved me (okay maybe a little less ;)).
I sold her and broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years about a week or 2 later. Guess who the tears were for!
Jun. 30, 2009, 03:09 PM
I have a horse that is my "once in a lifetime" horse - have had her for 12 years - she is now 15.
I will never ever sell her, she and I are just the perfect match for each other and she gives me 110% about 99% of the time. When I got her, I had no idea that she would be so special, so talented, so much fun to own and ride.
I show her lightly now - we have been there done that - just to keep her happy and healthy but she still loves her job, is competitive still at her age, and I look at every day with her as a true gift. I know that when she is gone, nothing will ever replace her. Because she is starting to age, I look forward to seeing her every day as one day I realize she will not be with me physically anymore.
I hope that others who have horses, have such a special gift. It rarely happens and I am one of the lucky ones.
Jun. 30, 2009, 08:11 PM
I guess I have to say that my "once in a lifetime horse" is with me right now. I have owned numerous horses in my 50+ years - and I loved them all, each being special in their own way. While every one of them was extremely successful in the show ring - outside of it, they were NOT fun - if you get my drift (kinda hot headed).
However, this guy - well, I found him in my neighbor's pasture last year about this time. I was out mowing my pastures and I came upon this lovely 17.3H TB gelding - he hadn't been there before, believe me, I would have noticed. He was just hanging out with this mare in this weed and thistle infested pasture. I went up to him and thought WOW!!! This guy is just too nice to be in this crappy pasture.
Living in the small town that I do, it didn't take long to find out who owned the horse. I should mention that it was NOT the lady that owned the pasture, and I knew that. I called the people, who were racing people and found out the information on this horse - I asked if I could take care of him as he would be in a better place and they said yes - but we can't pay you. I informed them that I didn't want to be paid, I just really like this horse and I had been without a horse for a few years (wasn't looking for one either).
Well I took care of him and fell in love with him. He was in the pasture at my neighbors due to some racing "injuries" which were minor. The owners informed me that they WOULD be taking him back to race in the fall. I asked the price tag on him, and it was outrageous, although I had thought for a half a minute about buying him anyway. This guy was a made hunter - confirmation wise and his pedigree was outstanding. But in reality, I really couldn't afford him.
In September (had him for about 2.5 months) the owners came and took him away to race. I was heartbroken, but I knew it was out of my hands. I named the horse KZ for King Size. He made me want to ride again and stirred up the buried passion inside after not having a horse for over 6 years. I told the owners if they ever needed a home for him, to let me know. I knew, I just KNEW if he raced again, he could be injured permanently.
Because of this wonderful horse and the passion reborn again, I adopted a horse from New Vocations and bought an OTTB straight from the track in Kentucky. I was taking a big gamble on them - well not so much New Vocations, but on the 17.2H gelding off the track in Kentucky. However, they have far surpassed my expectations and I couldn't be happier with them.
I boarded these two for 1.5 months to get used to them before I brought them home. I thought about KZ and how he was doing and the owners kept me informed on what was going on too. I even got to see him race on the internet! They were putting him in a claiming race. I was so sad to hear this, but my thoughts were full of my two new lovely horses.
The day I brought my two OTTB's home permanently, on October 20, 2008, I received a phone call from KZ's owner. She said he had a new address - my heart just broke because I knew he had been claimed and I would never see him again. I said, oh, where is he going? And she replied to your house - he evidently sustained a mild lower suspensory. I couldn't contain my joy!
KZ came home to me permanently a few days later. The owner gave him to me, of course. He just needed to be turned out and be a horse for a few months.
KZ and I go riding 3-4 times a week. He is the most willing and quiet horse I have had - well the other two are also. Truthfully, having these three horses with great minds and a calm, willing attitude is a godsend at my age. However, KZ and I can go ride thru our town and everywhere and not too much phases him.
I am planning on taking him to our first A rated show in November. I can't wait. I think because there was something "special" the first day I saw him, makes him my once in a lifetime horse. Because of him, I am riding again and he has taught me so much outside of the ring. He has taught me that there is SO MUCH MORE outside of the ring - enjoying everything about a girl and her horse.
Jun. 30, 2009, 09:49 PM
I also have my once in a lifetime horse right now. I don't own him but have had the privilege to lease him last year and am once again leasing him this year. He knows his job and it is like he has a computer in his head and he can figure everything out for me. You look at him and he's not a big beautiful warmblood but a 16.1 hand horse that is a big boned thoroughbred. But when you sit on him or see him go he is the most incredible horse that you will ever sit on. He has won numerous finals from local to national, and he loves every minute of it! He truly is my once in a lifetime horse.
Jun. 30, 2009, 10:37 PM
Aww! I love Nikkidoodle! Superhorse! :D
I have had the pleasure to lease a fabulous horse from my trainer's friend for the past 7 months. He has never put a foot wrong, jumps his heart out, and calls me "Mom". This is the first legitimate lease I've had, and I've loved every second of it. He's taken my confidence to the moon and we both have come miles as a team. I grew up riding whatever I could; stoppers, rearers, school horses, bratty ponies, but never had a partner. This horse has changed that for me. He's taught me that 4' looks like nothing with him and we can be confident and even cocky sometimes, to love a huge jump and automatic release, and that he will never stop no matter how long or deep he gets to the fences.
I'm cherishing this summer, as he goes back at the end of August, and I will leave for college. Trying to convince the parentals that he wants to come to college and study...;)
Here is my Peanut and I at a local finals back in April:
And at Princeton Show Jumping last week:
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:03 AM
We found the proverbial horse in a field. Retired because of an unsoundness. We took him home to exchange places with my mare who needed to be taken away from her foal.
We got a chiropractor out to see him and he became sound. He became famous here for his disposition - it didn't matter wht we threw at him, he performed like a trooper, hunting, rallies, PPG (for me, on Oldtimer's day) Shows, took his Level I, etc. He was a paint that aint - bay with a lovely bald face. Ever since then, when looking for a horse, people would say they are looking for a "Cody horse", that rarest of finds. Funny thing is, he was a bit of conformational wonder but when he was put together he developed deportment and always took the judge's eye.
Jul. 1, 2009, 02:00 AM
I have my Once In A Lifetime horse right now and I am thankful for her every single day.
I bought her sight unseen off the internet. I just KNEW she was THE ONE, my dream horse...I bought her as a 2 year old and she has been everything I ever wanted and more. She's the smartest, most willing, most enthusiastic, most fun horse I've ever owned and trained. I have had so much fun watching her grow up and learn new things. She's priceless, I wouldn't trade her for the world!
Jul. 1, 2009, 11:00 AM
Although I wouldn't have thought it a year ago, I think I have the horse of my lifetime.
I ended up being forced to buy another horse after my last one had bone spurs and a whole bunch of arthritis, and he was better off just to be retired. This came as a bit of a relief, as we didn't really get along, but I was too scared to sell him. Since the day I went and tried my new horse, he was a dream. I had to pinch myself...he was perfect. But I was going through a whole different aspect of my life at the time: my first relationship.
So, my full focus wasn't on him. It was on the OTHER boy. I spent a lot of time doing things that HE liked, and that HE wanted me to do, and even when I was at the barn, my full attention was not on my horse. I was always thinking about something else.
I lost myself for a little while. Me and the horse weren't really getting along. He didn't do anything I wanted him to do. He didn't jump. He would spook. He would make me nervous. It made the barn a place I didn't want to be at. My barn began to shut down. Instead of spending 7 days a week there, I would spend 3. And then 2. And one point in the winter, I did not go out to the barn for 2 weeks. Sometimes, I wouldn't ride for a month. I would not go out when I knew someone else was there. I was going through some very, very hard times. Me and my horse lost touch...completely.
This spring my "first relationship" ended. Or half ended. He was charged. And I finally decided that I was not going to live like this anymore. I had no coach, my barn was shutting down, my time to show was running out. I couldn't spend all my time thinking about this person who didn't even care about me.
So, I spent more time at the barn. I started to discover this horse that I had never known. This horse that was special, had a personality, and trucked me through even when I was nervous. And then I started to become LESS nervous. And then, we were starting to try new things. Like jump. Like go to shows. And we had problems, but we worked through them...together. Noone else helped us - since we DIDN'T have a coach. Then he started to form into this partner that I never thought I could have. He started to move the way I wanted, jump the way I wanted. He NEVER spooks. He ALWAYS jumps. He comes in by himself. We do everything - together.
And for once, in a long, long time...I didn't think about that relationship that stole my life. He helped to pull me out. He ALWAYS gives me 110%. He is ALWAYS there for me. I cry to him. Laugh at him...and we work our butt's off to do something we both know we can do.
I have high hopes for him. I have dreams of showing more seriously and doing things I've never been able to do. And I give him 100% credit for giving me this attitude change that pulled me out of the darkest time in my life. He gives me everything, even when I almost gave him nothing.
Instead of me teaching HIM something, he taught me that with hard work, and dedication we can do anything. And that I shouldn't spend my time with people who don't give back. He gave me some of HIS knowledge, and a new outlook on life. He gave me a new confidence and, I can tell you, it is better than anything when someone can tell us that we're a great pair. :)
He follows me around, now. And all I can do is smile at him :) because he is the horse of my lifetime.
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:37 PM
i bought a 3.5yo swiss warmblood about 19 months ago. it was quite an adventure to get him. he was 3 hours north of toronto and i hauled him home (NJ) in a blizzard.
but we made it home safe and this horse is exceeding my expectations. he is so easy! he never rears, barely ever spooks and its mild and he never bucks! i can ride him by myself late at night in zero degree weather with high winds and he just goes around like a soldier! with minimal jumping training he now jumps around 2.6ft courses at shows and so far his form over fences is really nice.
this horse just tries tries tries and he is so smart. taught him turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, rein back all in one training session for each. he is clever!
and to round things out i have been doing dressage schooling shows with him and he gets great scores and remarks when i show.
i have high hopes for my boy! i hope this dream keeps lasting because i adore this horse so much!
Jul. 1, 2009, 09:23 PM
After my first horse died, who was a Heart Horse, I wanted to love a new horse, but I really closed myself off. So I had two Mr. Wrongs, one of which I still have, the other I gave to a local lesson barn with a no sale clause. I had gotten Casey to work with when she was five, three years ago. I loved her then, we rode all summer, she was excellent for me to work with. Soft, smart, so easy to please.
My friend apparently always wanted me to buy her, and she was offered to me so many times, but I just denied our chemistry. I think I was afraid because I knew I would really love her, and I was so afraid to lose another horse I loved so deeply. It took three years to talk sense to me, but she practically gave her to me, and finally I have that connection.
My first horse was very difficult, whereas she is easy. However, if that still makes sense, they ride similarly. Now that she is older, I have found she's a bit more stubborn from three years of living the life of Riley, but that's okay. She always takes good care of me, I never have to use a crop (all I do is scold, and she immediately listens and rectifies what she was doing), and she's almost bomb proof (except farm machinery... but she still spooks in place!)
What I love about her is she's very talented, but she can really take a joke. She takes the utmost care of me. I had some very bad falls, and had some serious confidence issues. She has totally turned that around for me, and now that I'm confident I don't feel she walks on egg shells so much. But the minute I get nervous, it's as if she instantly behaves like an angel, and takes care of me. IMHO, this sort of horse is priceless.
She thrives under the attention, and knows she's my princess. I'm starting to think that's what she thinks her name is! But it's brought all the joy of riding back! We are going to our first show on Aug 1st, itty bitty x rails and 18" classes (she's still green, when I had her at five she'd hardly been ridden off the track much, and she's been hardly ridden since she went back to my friend), I think mostly for my nerves then hers. I really never thought I would show again, I can't wait because deep down I know she'll take excellent care of me, and that she'll do great.
I just got off a short ride in the rain, and she did wonderful. She rides on trails by herself or in company, follows or leads, and today was no different with how brave she is. Didn't bother her, even the thunder, and although she was a bit nervous about getting home, when she was told walk meant walk, she very calmly walked back to the barn with me with no problem.
I don't have a ring, I have a jump field, a round pen, and miles of trails at my disposal, so it's important that she's so good about it, and no worries with her. She's Miss Dependable. The crazy part is my friend is very good friends with a former GP level rider (Jumpers). She had ridden Casey and hated her, and said she was so bull headed and stubborn. But for me, she's always so wonderful. It's nice to have a horse you work so well with, who's so reliable for you. Although it's giving her human qualities, I'd like to think she likes me.
Thanks for listening to my rambles, I love threads like this so I can brag about her!
Jul. 1, 2009, 10:51 PM
I have my once in a lifetime horse right now, though he's leased out because I no longer wanted to push him to compete as high as I am right now.
I was at a bad situation barn with a trainer that verbally abused us and spread lies about me behind my back. In an attempt to make more money off of me, I was persuaded to buy a horse by her. We drove to a BNB (big name barn) with a huge lesson program to look at a horse. First thing that I found out is that the horse that I was to look at was used on average in 6 half hour lessons a day to beginners. Needless to say, I wasnt thrilled to look at, what I assumed to be, your average broken down lesson horse. We were walking through the barn while waiting for the trainer to come and greet us and, out of the 130 stalls that they had, my eyes fell on this one beautiful warmblood gelding that we walked past. It was love at first sight, but I assumed that he was not the broken down lesson horse that I had come to try. Wrong.
The trainer finally came to meet us and walked us back towards the beautiful chestnut's stall. I was excited beyond belief when she informed us that that was the horse that I was to try. I got on and instantly felt at home. My mother instantly made an offer; we didnt even know if he could jump. Well, fast forward, the horse, Geronimo, saved me from my crazy trainer, he toted me around the 3ft courses that I was ill prepared for and yet she forced me to jump. He jumped when he shouldnt have, he stopped when he felt that I was too out of balance, and he was always there for me to come into his stall and cry when my trainer was screaming at me.
The trainer told me that Geronimo was too undisciplined for me, so of course I had to enter him into her lesson program. Every day he was ridden for at least 2 hours by unskilled beginners who would catch him in the mouth and thump on him back over the jumps. Yet Geronimo was a saint, he saved them too, though not with the same expression or merriment that he had when I was riding him. I grew sick of seeing my beautiful horse being abused by this trainer. The final straw came when her ignorance caused him to colic. I moved Geronimo out as soon as it was safe to put him on a trailer.
At the new barn, I met my current trainer, who somehow recognized Geronimo and led me to do some intense research on him. Turns out that my lesson horse was an ex grand prix horse who has been champion all over the country in the Junior Jumper and Childrens jumper ranks, as well as the junior hunters at various AA shows. Geronimo and I entered a show after only 2 weeks with our new trainer. We competed in the preprelim jumpers. Next show we moved up to the mini equitation. The following show we were brought to be fillers in the Big Eq. I panicked at the size of the jumps and the stiff competition (I went from being a filler to being a competitor in a class of 20+ well known big eq riders). Geronimo took over and found his own distances and somehow managed to figure out the striding on his own. I just hung out. We won 2 of our 3 classes and were suddenly well on our way to qualifying for Indoors.
Fast forward a year. This miracle horse qualified me for every major equitation final (except WIHS), won me many ribbons at major AA shows, and achieved me a ranking in the top 40 on the Bates equitation ranking. I got confidence back in my riding and cried the day that he was led away onto a trailer to start the next chapter of his life with his new leasor (leasee?). He won ribbons in all his classes at Devon and consistently wins in top company.
Literally, sometimes he would jump around a 3'6" course with me practically sitting backwards in the saddle and still manage to make it look pretty. This was the horse that I could put a beginner on for a pony ride and then I could hop on and jump a 4'6" course in a loose ring snaffle. He nickers when he sees me and still knows how to "hide" under my arm when he hears my mothers voice!
Never again will there be a horse like him in my life, and I'm sure that he's instilled this feeling in the lives of all the people that hes touched.
And in my time with him, he took me from THIS (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30274985&l=896f52edac&id=1339560116) to THIS (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30274468&l=6acdf69bc0&id=1339560116)
(dont mind the chip in the video...my fault, I underestimated the length of his stride!)
Jul. 5, 2009, 10:59 PM
I know just exactly how the pure warm fuzzy happiness the OP describes feels. :D I am lucky enough to have that with my current horse - the first horse I decided to buy in 29 years. And boy, did I get lucky. It's always such a crap shoot, and when you luck out, it's just like...that was a gift. The horse gods just decided to smile on you.
My piece of chestnut and chrome heaven came with good breeding, good manners, good looks, good training, plenty of miles left on him, a great brain, and WHALE of a work ethic. And a steal of a price, too :lol: No vice, no buck, no rear, no spook. Any too forward issues under saddle could definitely be put down lack of ability on my part after 29 years. :D I've watched him get more amazing than I had any clue he might - when I finally had a trainer ride him, she took about two minutes to pull his dressage training back out of him, and as she said, "It's like you have a whole new horse." I took him on his first bona fide trail ride today; he's not a trail riding horse, he thinks hills are made to canter up and probably jump down :D but apart from using up about a year's worth of half halts I certainly was none the worse for wear, and he had an absolute BLAST, and was just as fresh coming back as he was going out, despite the fact that he'd thrown twice the energy into every step he took as any other horse.
But what has been the coolest for me is that, although he is one of the most agreeable horses I've ever met, he's not a people horse - but now, he's MY horse. He's very willing, offers no resistance, but offers no affection either...and very gradually, this reserved creature has warmed up to me. At this stage in the horse owning game, it means so much more than just what I can squeeze out of him. This was a horse that was always hard to catch, they told me, so it was a BIG DEAL for starters that I didn't have trouble catching him. Now he will actually look for me and come to me. He hates water but he will suffer me to bathe him. Same for having his ears clipped. I spend a lot of time with him just hanging out, and he likes to just check me out and put his nose on me and see what I'm doing. He got his head cut several weeks back, and the day after his stitches he was in tremendous pain, way more than they had expected. I put a call in to the vet, and it took like two hours for them to come. I sat with him the whole time on a little stool in his stall, and he just laid his head over my shoulders and across my back. Like that was a comfort to him. :sadsmile:
Here's my good boy :) Yeah, I know my reins are too long...http://s49.photobucket.com/albums/f296/cocreate/?action=view¤t=CrumleyJuneTrot.jpg
Jul. 6, 2009, 12:08 AM
All these stories are awesome, and supershorty, you and your mare look like a perfect team. She's gorgeous!
I think it's really too soon for me to speak, but I have an amazing horse right now. I am so blessed to have him, and I know he's something very special.
My first horse was a great teacher, but wasn't so great for me at that point in my life. Fresh out of a family hardship and at a fragile time in my life (soph yr of high school I believe), I really needed something that would take care of me. Harley was way too much horse for me, and proved to be a bit of a trouble maker as it turned out. He enjoyed dumping me and each of my trainers after fences, and I got really discouraged. I thought I had my perfect little horse and he seemed very intent on putting me on the ground, along with anyone else who dared to step in the stirrups. Nevertheless, he taught me to ride. He taught me to fall and get back up, to have patience and understanding, sportsmanship and a thick skin. I owe EVERYTHING to that horse. I loved him dearly and still do, but we had to sell him. He was a fabulous jumper and has turned into a great eq horse. I was able to work through his issue (by myself, since my trainers at the time didn't want to ride him for obvious reasons...but that's another story :no:). By the time he sold he was good to go and had a bit of an attitude check, but he wasn't the horse for me, and so I began my search.
Eight months and something like 14 horses later, I have him. I got discouraged, stopped riding for awhile, almost gave up the search, and then went to try this one as a fluke. Even as I rode him, I cut myself off. I had fallen for too many awesome horses in the last few months, only to lose them, to do it again. So I rode him around completely objectively, drove home and let the chips fall. Before I knew it, he was mine, and that first ride at home, I realized I had my dream horse. He's older, he's a little tubby and furry, but he's perfect. He has experience, experience, experience, a killer jump, dressagey gaits, and the best attitude I've ever dealt with in a horse. He wants nothing more than to be my friend and to take care of me. On him, I feel capable, something I never even got close to on Harley. I am so incredibly lucky to have this horse in my life, and wherever the road takes us, I know I'll be happy just to have him by my side. :yes:
Jul. 6, 2009, 12:22 AM
I had mine, he died nearly two years ago. He taught me more than there is room to write and he was a love.
I always assumed that I would have him til he died of old age, but he was only 15 and in his prime.
A couple of BNT that I rode in clinics with told me that he had the scope for a pro and the temperament for an amateur. I was admonished never to sell him...as if I would.
I will always have a horse, but I will never have another like him.
The photo is not me, it is a girl who leased him and did jumpers and eqs with him.
Jul. 6, 2009, 02:24 AM
I'm 19, and I think I've already had two once-in-a-lifetime horses!
My first is Tustin. We imported him as a 5 year old from Europe (in 2005), and he was my first jumper. I had only done the childrens jumpers on borrowed horses a handful of times, so we did the modifieds a few times, then said "to heck with it" and got right to the lows jrs! I had so much fun on him - I absolutely love the jumper ring, and he taught me how to ride with speed and gave me a taste of what it feels like to jump big. There was something about us that just clicked - that amazng horse just carried me around the course, and he had such a great mind. Unfortunately, just after we were really starting to do well in the High jrs, we had to put him down (early last year). I really miss him, and I'm bummed we missed out on all the big jr jumper things that I was trying to qualify for (jr young riders, harrisburg), and I'm bummed he died before he was able to teach another little girl all the same things he taught me.
My other, Parker, is my junior, regular working, amateur owner hunter, equitation horse extraordinnaire (hah probably spelled that wrong)! We also imported him as a 5 year old (2006), and I've done more on him than I ever thought I would. I won a pretty big local medal final (LAHJA Jr) on him in 2007, was reserve champ and won the handy class at devon in the jr hunters in 2008, and did the Regular Working Hunters on him at WIHS last year...and we were even 2nd in the stake! I never dreamed I'd do the regulars at indoors as a jr, or even go to devon - let alone leave with my name on a trophy! He is such a thrill to ride; he is so athletic, and has this slow, rolling canter, and his jump is just amazing. He was really green when we got him, and he's turned into such a great horse, and I'm so proud that he's mine! 40 years from now, he'll be the horse that comes to mind as my "jr horse". We're selling him now, and I just hope he'll do for his next owner what he's done for me :)
Really, all of my horses have been amazing, and I'm such a lucky kid to have had horses this great so early in my life.