Angiegirl I love the picture of you in the white dress with her. So beautiful and calm.
Well I actually lost all the pictures of the first day that I met Copper. Which to be honest really gets to me sometimes :(
But no sob stories here!! Here is our story (sorry it is SUPER long, I just love telling it!!)
I had this hobby of looking online all the time to see what the price ranges were for a horse I would interested in, and eventually could afford. Some friends of mine where finishing up fixing up their property to bring their horses home and so horse fever was flyin high in my mind all the time, and I was looking all the time.
I came across this ad while I was on the phone and kinda lazily looking around. It was page 10, and almost a month old. And there he was... my dream. I lituarlly pulled a movie move and gasped out loud. My friend thought that I had hurt myself and was kinda freaking out. All I could say to him was "Gotta go bye" and hung up. $400... that was it, all they wanted for such a beautiful horse. He was described as green broke and needed an advanced rider and my heart sank. I couldn't afford a trainer, and I didn't even know where to start with training him myself. I closed the ad and tried to forget about him, but I just couldn't.
I think alot when I am trying to fall asleep and as you could guess it was all about Copper that night... and than it hit me... "I am an advanced rider... what the hell does that have to do with training. I know what I am doing on a horse, and I know what to do when in trouble on a horse... I'm a good rider, never bucked off, or thrown, or fallen off... (knock on wood) I am an advanced rider."
I called them up the next day and he was still avalible so come and see. I drove 2 hours to him... in the snow, over a pass because his owner told me that he had other people coming out later in the week. I was in no mood to lose him. I got to the barn and there he was. He couldn't even complete a whole circle while being lunged without freaking out... I have found out now that the reason for his freak outs is because he wants to please you so much, when you ask him to do something that he doesn't know he panics... he just wants to be right and when he is off it scares him. Kinda reminds me of anxiety. Anyway I kept a pretty level head through it all... asked if I could spend some alone time with him and took him for a walk. I sat down in front of him and told him what was going on. He just stared at me, like he was listening to the whole thing.
I walked him back and himmed and hawwed for about 2 mintues... Than it happened; Copper walked straight up to me, planted his forehead on my chest, and sighed. I looked at his owner and said "I'll take him"
I kept him with my friends and let him settle for about a week. During that time I bought a Buck Brannaman dvd and took 15 pages of notes!!! I took the notes to my friends house, put Copper in the round pen, and started on page one. 3 weeks later he was AMAZING under the saddle... he has a few hiccups here and there still, but nothing dangerous.
We are at a new barn now (things got rough with the "friends") Copper is so happy all the time. I love it. My default picture is actually the picture from his ad... I mean come on!!! I didn't stand a chance seeing that that was only 400 dollars!!!
Seven days before my 42nd birthday, I became a horse owner for the first time in my life!
For about a year prior, I had started visiting a beautiful Belgian mare at a pasture I passed on the way to & from work everyday. I don't know what it was exactly that drew me to her, but something did. I wanted to bring her treats, so I went into the barn to talk to someone about her & get permission to give her treats & learned that she had a complicated story. She had been dropped off there & her previous people never came back for her. The BO was a little distant with me at first...I later learned that he was in legal proceedings with them & was being cautious about inquiries.
For months, I visited & brought her treats nearly everyday & stayed in contact with the BO & the trainer, offering to pay for anything she might need, but they were kind of aloof. I gently persisted.
One Saturday morning, months later, I was standing at the gate, petting her & feeding her a carrot & a man in a truck pulled up. I thought he was going to tell me to get off the property (I always assume the worst!). He got out & introduced himself. It was the BO. Long story short & after a long discussion, he offered her to me. He said he knew I had grown attached to her & he knew that I cared about her. He said that the gals who work at the barn told him I was out there all the time, loving on her. Less than a week later, we completed a bill of sale, a boarding agreement & she was mine.
She had to have eye surgery to have a growth removed from her 3rd eyelid, which I took care of immediately & we began our journey together.
Six months later, we continue to work on groundwork with the trainer 2-3x per week. We have just recently started her under saddle. We are going VERY slow. I'm in no hurry & don't have any expectations other than to be safe & well-mannered, which she is! She leads like a dream, stands beautifully for grooming, vet & farrier (well, we're getting there with farrier!) & seems to love the games & exercises we're doing.
She is the sweetest, kindest gentle giant! She is my first horse & really my first introduction to horsemanship in general (i.e. I'm not a rider!) People thought I was crazy for taking this on, especially with my inexperience, but thankfully, the trainer has been an absolute godsend, teaching me everything from the very basics...very patient & just all around awesome!
I just wanted her to have a person to love & me love her & take care of her & be responsible for her well-being...if we can get to the point where we do other things, that would just be the icing on the cake! I have made a bunch of new friends at the barn (lots of ladies my age!) & help out with my trainer's schooling shows (scribing, etc.) so I can learn even more.
Funny thing is, we have a lot in common. She was abandoned, as was I. When I started visiting her, I very shortly afterward discovered that my husband of 13 years was having an affair with an acquaintance of mine. We struggled for 13 years with infertility & she was pregnant. I left the marriage immediately. Thankfully, I've always been extremely independent with no children, a good career & the means to be able to do this.
There is no doubt in my mind that we were meant to be! Everyone thinks I rescued her, but she rescued me!
Technically, Deja was my first horse, but I really consider Mana to be my real first horse. Due to inexperience, improper facilities, and a clash of personalities, I never really felt that Deja 'belonged' to me. She and I never clicked. It always seemed that I was in charge of caring for her, but that was it. Like she belonged to someone else and I was just a care taker. Thankfully, the whole horrible experience brought me the perfect horse which I couldn't be happier with.
So, Mana's story is, I bought Deja, and later found her to be not only wormy, but also, pregnant! So, not having any info on when she would foal, we made a guess. When I went to see her, she had an 8 month old filly on her. So, earliest guess as to foaling date would be her having been bred on her foal heat.
In August of that year, she had Mana. Due to the circumstances and disheartening issues I had had with Deja until that point, I threw myself into making this baby everything that she was not. And it has been horrible some days. I have wanted to quit and get rid of them all, but stuck through it because of the little moments that are so amazing.
Mana has been so good to me, and I later got my confidence builder, Thelma. They make such a great team for me. Thelma makes me confident enough to push Mana. If I had a bad session with Mana and feel like I am failing or that I can't do it, I will work with Thelma and she will build me up again. Then I will go back and get things done with Mana. He's bratty, but willing and lighthearted. A very laid back pair. I couldn't be luckier.
Trying Deja out before I bought her. My first time "seeing" Mana, though I did not know it. :)
Mine isn't documented quite as cutely either but I met my horse (he's my first one too :)) at a therapeutic riding center in CO. I had been volunteering their diligently for over a year and I went from side walker to horse leader to camp counselor to riding instructor. I was taught everything from health issues (and I'm STILL learning!) to feeding to farrier to shots to training to riding. I helped to train all of the therapy horses and rehab a few as well.
Apparently the DAY I arrived at the therapeutic riding center, I saw this big ol paint and asked her if I could ride him. I don't recall this, I have a horrid memory anyway, but the owner told me that she saw there was some sort of connection. A deep one.
He was loved by everyone because he was "pretty" but everyone was scared of him because he had no trust in humans nor faith in himself. He was a big train wreck and everyone that got near him ended up with broken ribs, bruised feet, concussions, road rash, sprained limbs.. you name it!
His past was dark and all I know was the result of it.. a very scared horse who would rather go to all lengths including destroying himself, than accept a person within a few feet.
Well this horse was the owner's personal horse. He wasn't in the program, and every time they tried he would end up hurting someone.. never on purpose.. just trying to get away. The owner was too busy to work with him and so she set me the privilege of free lunging him, with a whip. He would cut corners and he made me so angry because everyone loved him and he acted like such a jerk (I was ignorant if you couldn't tell..) so I decided that I really didn't like this horse.
The owner's boyfriend took an interest to him and he'd sit out in the pasture and this horse would come up to him and then run away. After awhile, he let the guy pet him, which was a HUGE step for this horse. He'd feed him cut up apples and whatnot.. so the owner gave the horse to him.
They soon got married and within this 4 month window.. the guy tried his best to ride him but they weren't clicking. I watched as this horse dragged him up the sides of the arena, and buck a few times and charge without listening to anything. I didn't think they were a good pair.. but I kept my mouth shut.
Then one day a girl that took riding lessons (she was bi-polar and a volunteer just to clarify) was given the chance to ride this horse. I didn't agree with it because the horse was such a damaged individual and being bipolar, she didn't always have control of her emotions.. which was a HUGE thing for this guy. So I watched as she led the horse out to the arena. I was cleaning the barn and noticed she left her camera in the barn, so I finished cleaning up and headed out to give it to her. I saw this horse lunging in the outdoor.. when I got closer (I have bad eyesight hence the ugly specs lol) I saw the saddle was on his side and he was panicking.. and as I got closer, I saw the prev. Owner hunched over the girl taking lessons.. who was lying on the floor in agony.
I approached and the prev. Owner told me to catch that horse, bring him to the barn, re-tack him, and hop on and school him. So I did..
And when I got on.. he was wound up but soon settled down. Being a majorly beginner rider myself, everyone was shocked. From then on, I would school him once a week not worrying about contact or speed.. but just lots of transitions and forwardness and lack of resistance. I literally was carting him around, I didn't know what I was doing.. but he was happy.
Fast forward a few months, and I begun to half lease him (secretly because the girls at the barn were ridiculous about him..) and I had my share of falls as I learned to develop a seat and HE learned that I wasn't trying to kill him. Me being the most worrisome and startled person ever.. it was the most bizarre match!
On november 23rd 2010, I was walking up to the barn and the owner of the place gave stomping towards me. I freaked out and asked "WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM?!" and began to power walk towards his stall. She stopped me and her frown turned into a smile and she said "after talking with (her husband), we've decided that Sky belongs to you. He is now your horse" and on September 8th 2011, the brands were changed in my name.
We were both SOOO green and soo lost.
We're learned so much together.. how to walk (I'm serious..) trot properly, that poles were not snakes, how to go on trail rides, how to relax, how to tie, mounting from the fence/block/floor/rock/wood palate, riding with others, riding alone, leg yields, staying ON the rail, riding long and low, riding with impulsion and contact, bathing, lifting and supporting his own feet, TRUST, soooo many things... and now we're working on cantering.. :)
He's my soul mate, the best friend and the best partner. He cracks me up with helping me open gates with his nose when my hand is full or nudging my in the back when his face is itchy and he doesn't want to be rude.
And the best part of it all? My parents didn't even KNOW I had a horse until a week before his brands were changed ;) And they were very supportive about him. They love him too :)
Winter fuzzies when I met him:
And for recent pictures you can look at my barn or from today below :)
Wow that's awesome! I can't believe you were such a beginner and were able to get through to him! Must be a perfect match!
The Copper Kid: Copper is so handsome! That's so funny how it was kinda an accident that you found him; I mean how you where just kinda browsing for fun. It's like he just came up to you and was like, "Be my mommy please?" lol so cute :)
JenniMay: That's so nice that you found a horse you can treat right and take your time with :) Sometimes its just better not having high expectations and goals and just being able to relax and have fun with your horse! She was lucky that you found her :)
Greyshell: I like how you are getting to kinda grow up with Mana. She is a very pretty little girl! I love her forelock just sticking up every where in the second to last picture lol