Monday, March 5, 2007

New Horse

Dear Friends,

Yeah, i did it. I got a new horse. It's not like I needed one, I already have two, my retired Grand Prix horse, a Dutch warmblood named Sultan, and my youngster, a Swedish warmblood named Bailador. For those of you who aren't horsefolks, these are breeds of horses, obviously, from the country so named. Sultan is almost 31, and retired to a life of bliss, friends, good food, and group romps around a huge fenced-in countryside-type field. Heaven! Bailador is coming 7, and is being convinced by a gal named Holly, that his life of leisure is really over. We saddle broke him late (as a five year old) then put him away and now he's back in work. Once Holly makes him a believer of the Horse Work Ethic, i will get on him. I am too old and have too many health issues to do it myself. My days of riding broncs, rearers, buckers, bolters and just plain stupids, are long over.
So the new horse.
He has an amazing story, which started when I took my poodle puppy in to be groomed. Kay, the groomer is a horse person (as is most everyone in my life, except my husband, but that's another blog, someday)., She casually mentioned to me that a friend of hers was giving away a horse. Ho-hum, i thought. There are a lot of people giving away horses, you hear of it all the time. I've even done it myself, recently. Then Kay goes on to say that this horse is jet black, with four white socks, a white blaze, and very calm. Black? With all that chrome? My ears perked up. I love black. I love four white socks. Hmmm, i'm thinking of all my students/friends/people i met have met hither and yon that might want a flashy horse. (Note to my husband - I wasn't thinking of myself, at this point.....really.) Then Kay delivers the kicker. He is FREE, to the right home. AND he was saved from the kill pen at New Holland, PA. by her friend. I get the friend's phone number, i call and leave a message that i might be interested. (Still not thinking of me, honest!)
The friend calls me back. The horse is sweet and calm and sound. She thinks he's a quarter horse, but he moves and has the conformation of a warmblood. And yes, she saved him from the kill pen, bought him right from the people who were going to take him to the Canadian slaughter houses. (Now that is definitely going to be another blog.) Just wants to find him the right home as she has four horses of her own, and well, you know, you wind up collecting these guys and....yeah, i said, i know.
Okay, now I'm hooked. How big is he? i ask her, thinking, well, quarter horses tend to be short, and now I'm saved, because I'm tall and need a big horse. My horses have always been big (17 hands for those horse people among you). Big, she says. At least 16 or 16.1 hands (that's big, too, for those hp among you). Now I'm absolutely hooked. We make arrangements and he arrives at the farm where Sultan is retired. I can't believe what I'm seeing. He is drop dead gorgeous, jet black, white socks, white blaze, sweet....I still can't believe it. He was scheduled to go to the slaughter house. And his rescuer tells me his story. She had, on the spur of the moment, decided to go to the New Holland auction to buy buckets, since they sell horse equipment there at very low prices. She and her husband brought their horse trailer, for no apparent reason. Just happened to stroll past the kill pen and noticed him. She remembers thinking, wow, this horse is too classy for this place, and made inquiries. He was emaciated and crippled from a very bad shoeing job, she didn't care. They bought him, took him home, fed him, called the vet, worked on his feet to get him sound, rode him for several months and decided that he needed a nice home.
There is a place reserved at the right hand of God for people who rescue abused animals.
And the best thing is that I'll be sharing him with Patti, the farm owner, since my schedule is far too busy to keep him in shape. I'll be training him dressage, he'll be training Patti, and then Patti'll be training her big black thoroughbred (with help from me). Can it get any better than that? Did I mention that Patti's farm is HEAVEN?
We nicknamed him Zac. It fits him. I'm happy.
If I ever learn to post pics, I'll try to do it.
In the meantime,
Happy Trails,