It has not been over a year since I last saw him. Little did I know that that day would be my last with him. I could not imagine my life without him. “Him” was my beautiful dapple-grey Selle Francais named
Stretch. He was going to be my new equation horse. I rode him one night at the barn I was taking lessons at and fell in love. He was not a horse I could live with. He was one I could not live without. He was not like the other lesson horses or the other ones I tried in the past. I wanted my own horse since everyone else in my family had one. When I rode him that night I knew he was not meant to be a lesson horse. He had been passed around and needed a permanent home. My family owned one of the top hunter/jumper barns in the United States. He was very young when we brought him to our barn. I thought to my self that he would fit right in and he was very relaxed and quite for his age. I needed him, just as he needed me.
We came together and we were not horse and rider. We were one. We knew each other’s weaknesses and strength Stretch suffered a mild colic before we got him, coming out of it was a rocky start. He even had a nerve problem and know body could figure out. Eventually after two weeks, it went away.
I took him to our first show. He was very relaxed and we placed in the top five in all our classes and I was really happy. We made some mistakes but he covered it up. I took him to our clinic in Virginia. There, our bond increased even more. We made new friends, galloped up the hills and even went swimming in our pond. That week taught me how lucky I was to be able to have a horse like him. About
A month after Stretch coliced again over the weekend. We drove him to the clinic at 2 am and we had to have someone sit in the back the whole drive.
First thing they did was tube Stretch. The vets analyzed him and told us he had to have surgery or he’d die. The choice was made easily but there was no guarantee he’d survive. The vet let me say what could have been my final goodbye to him. I whispered sweet nothings into his ears and hugged him as tears trickled down my cheeks and they led him away I paced the cold waiting room for 45 minutes, anticipating the outcome of the surgery. I could not bear the thought of my horse’s side split open
. I thought the surgery was taking forever until the vet finally came out.
He told us that Stretch had made it. His large colon had flipped upside down and was turning blue. He said if we had given him about one or two hours more, he would have been dead.
I got to go see him. He was standing limply in his stall, an IV dripping into his neck, his head low and his eyes lifeless. It was from the anesthesia. He gave no notice of me but I petted him anyway.
My mom drove me up everyday to see him and visit him. I groomed him and sometimes I got to graze him. Every day I saw rapid improvement. Finally, he was allowed to come home.
I couldn't ride him for two months. There was a month of stall rest and another month would be spent in a small paddock. Then, I could start light riding him again.
I spent every day with him, when he was confined to the jail of his stall. I did my summer homework
In his stall and ate my lunch in there. He’d drop his head down and try to steal whatever I had. Sometimes I would go down at midnight a feed him popsicles and line the sticks all along the back window.
Our bond increased strongly that month. It had gone from being a wine glass to a hard plastic cup. Nothing could come between us.
After another month or so, Stretch was ride able. I rushed to the barn for my anticipated first ride. I only walked but still it was satisfying to be atop him again. After a week or so, I got to do light trotting. He was amazing for not being ridden in two months. My last show with him was the best he had
Given me a perfect round and was felt so amazing. When we walked out, I stood up in my saddle, perfectly balanced. I hugged him and said he was the best horse ever and how he was a dream come true. We took him back to the barn because we had another round but not until after lunch.
When I was walking back to the barn. He did not feel right and he kept on trying to bite his belly. We took him home.
Stretch was not getting any better so we sent him to a clinic on Monday out in Colorado and I got a call saying he was colicing again. The surgery was the best option if we wanted to save his life. So we agreed. Sadly he lost a ton of blood during surgery and they could not save him. He was so amazing and taught me how to believe in myself and how to read body language better.
I am very happy we shared the last two years together.
The Ugly Horse
Have you ever found something very unusual and beautiful in the most unlikely place? Maybe a rare hothouse flower growing in the midst of weeds, or a gleaming, sparkly jewel, somehow lost in a muddy field. Well, this is the story of my find, of my Ugly Moose.
I was watching a dressage show at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida. When I saw a big bay mare out of the corner of my eye. She was not every pretty since she had a large jug shaped head and massive hindquarters. I walked closer to the side of the ring to take closer look. When I noticed the girls trainer was not pay close enough attention since the horse let out a couple of massive bucks. The young girl rode through them pretty good. A couple of minutes passed by when I saw a limp body flying into the air and land on the ground. The girl’s horse took off out of the ring and headed straight for the barn. I realized it was the girl that was riding the ugly bay mare. The trainer was helping the girl up when I heard someone yelling franticly loose horse loose horse.
The mare was heading in my direction galloping full speed towards me. I jumped off the fence and thoughts kept running through my head as the mare approached. I must get out of the way its dangerous to stand in a horses path when it galloping towards you. But I did not move an inch or flinch a muscle. I reached out to grab the reins as she was passing me. I started backing her up until she was about to touch the ground with her knees. I heard other top trainers yelling my name and saying nice one Bee-Bee.
Once she was calmed down and able to walk back into the ring. I led her over to the girl with mud covering her from head to toe. I asked her if she was ok and she said she was fine. I then led the mare over to the fence while the girl was yelling you could get me disqualified. I shrugged my shoulders and then turned around and said we both know your horse can’t get away with it and the girl fell silent knowing I was right. Then I led the mare over to the fence. I got on her and put her straight to work and oh boy she hated that. She started leaping and twisting in the air. Whenever she did this I would take the whip and whack her to reminder her that she can no longer get away with it. I rode her for over 15 minutes before I brought her back to a walk and jumped off. I led her back to the girl who was shocked I talked her into bring the mare back to my barn. She agreed to ride one of my dressage horses.
When She arrived at the barn with the mare still bang like mad inside the trailer. I asked jokingly if I needed to use body armor to unload her horse. The banging grew so loud that the grooms came out and asked if we needed help. I told Marco to help me unload her and for Jaun to go get Razz ready and put my old dressage saddle him. While Margret and I were walking around in the grass ring. I made an offer on the bay mare and in exchange she could take Razz on a four-month trial. She agreed and I learnt a little more about the mare, her name was Melody. Margret’s trainer found her at a horse auction in Maryland.
About two weeks after Melody arrived and was settled in. I was talking going over the schedule for the following week. When every thing was done for the day I got Melody out of her stall and Marco asked if I needed help with her. She ended up getting her mane; tail trimmed and a full body clip. She was not very sweet to begin with so I came up with a better name QL short for Questionable Lady. It took
longer than we expected and I was meant to meet people at the Players Club for dinner. I was still in my barn clothes when I arrived and headed straight for the patio where a bunch of people from the horse show were talking and swapping stories. Jason was standing next to his wife Katie who was talking to Jericho who was on the Olympic team. Jericho and Jason were both shocked when I had hair all over me. Jericho raised his voice loud enough for everyone to hear. “Bee – Bee you’re clipping you have more grooms to each horse than everyone put together. I then explained to them I had just bought this horse and she was a witch. We finally sat down at our table. Jericho asked him I was planning on riding in the selection trials at the end of circuit. I said I don’t know yet since I brought down my young string from up north. Katie chimed in by saying what about your new horse? She is still a little green side still but we will see. After Katie and Jason excused them self’s Jericho said he would come by and take a look at the mare. I left feeling happy that he was willing to come out and help with QL.
I was circuit champion at the end of the year in the Grand Prix. We also won all the trials but one and were on our way to the Olympics in Germany.