Oh, alright. I never pass up an opportunity to ramble on about my baby. I think the story gets longer every time I tell it, so I'm sorry in advance for the novel I am about to write!
My OTTB Riley is my heart horse. I can't imagine loving another horse more than I love him. He is going on 7, he's 16hh, dark bay with three white pasterns, and a white ghost shaped star/stripe on his face. He has those big brown eyes that make you want to squish his face and give him a hundred kisses (even though he won't let you). He is a little spoiled, occasionally grumpy, and can be a bit of a hot headed stinker sometimes, but he is also loyal and intelligent and very well mannered. Not to mention, devastatingly handsome!
The story of how I acquired him is kind of interesting, Riley kind of fell in my lap, so to speak. I was barely looking for a horse, more just checking things out to see what was around. I am one of those people who is always on equinenow, or newhorse, or craigslist, etc, etc. I have a weakness for browsing horse ads. So in the summer of 2011, I was doing just that when I found an ad titled "Sweet Gelding - $100". I though there was some kind of typo, there was no way that this "loving", "laid back", "sane and sound" gelding was only $100. So I sent an email to them and it literally read, "Was there a typo in your ad? Is he really only $100? Let me know, thanks."
This was the picture from his ad...
I didn't hear a word from them in over 2 weeks, so I figured he had already been sold, or they were those kind of people who didn't respond to one liner emails. I didn't think much of it. It had been my experience that when a horse is being sold for cheap, there was some kind of problem, physically or mentally, so I figured it was best not to even get involved. I had previously looked at two other horses who were almost as cheap. One was an appy mare who had serious issues riding out alone, the other was an ex-rodeo quarter gelding who just plain had issues. He was way too much work for what I wanted at the time. I was convinced that what I wanted was going to cost twice as much as what I would be able to spend, and that I wasn't serious enough about buying a horse to save that much, and I had better things to do at the time... Yeah, right.
Then, I got a response from the owner of the "sweet gelding." She said that there wasn't a typo, he was actually $100. He was broke to ride, had good ground manners, quiet under saddle, healthy, and UTD on everything. "When would you like to meet him?" Umm... Now would be good. So we made an appointment for me to come visit, and I anxiously waited for the day to come. As happy as I was to meet him, I was also preparing myself for another crazy horse. After the last two, I was feeling rather guarded.
When the morning came, I put on my horsiest looking outfit (which was jeans and rain boots), and away I went. When I got to the barn, there wasn't a soul to be seen. There were a few cars out front, but no people. When I walked in the front door, I passed by a horse standing in cross ties who appeared to be fast asleep. I figured it's owner was fetching a saddle or something and it was just taking a quick snooze. As I wandered, I saw other horses in their stalls, peeking out over the doors. Everyone looked happy and content. I took it a a good sign. Eventually, I found the BO. When she saw me, she squealed "You're Meagan! Hi! So what did you think?!?" At first, I didn't get it. Maybe I was too startled by her tone, but I managed to say "Nice place!" She laughed and said "Thanks, but I meant about Riley!"
Duh... The snoozing horse in the aisle. Patiently waiting for someone. Me, to be exact.
When we walked back to him, I approached him like a car enthusiast approaches a Maserati. I softly ran my hand down his neck, across his shoulder, down his back, around and up the other side. He just stood there, breathing slow, licking his lips contently. When I got to his face, he lifted his nose up a little and looked at me. I knew almost instantly that he was mine. I don't remember asking a lot of questions, maybe just the basics. For the most part, I just remember staring at him and his big calm eyes.
The BO shared his background with me, which was very shocking to hear, not to mention sad. She said that Riley's previous owner was a boarder of hers. She had brought him to her barn a 6 months prior, but then, out of the blue, she just dissapeared. The BO tried to contact her several times, but only ever got a hold of her mother who said she had moved out of state. The BO was shocked, but she loved Riley too much to just ship him off as soon as possible. She kept him around for a while, showed him a few times, but she knew that he needed someone to love. Riley is the kind of horse that enjoys spending time with his person. He is very affectionate and needs that bond
So, I decided to do a 2 week trial with him, knowing full on that I wouldn't need two weeks. I wouldn't need two more hours. I rode him a total of 3 times before I knew without a doubt that he was the horse for me. On the fourth day, the BO approached me and said that she had gotten a few more emails about him and she didn't want to say a word to them before she talked to me. She said she really liked me and could tell that Riley liked me too. Then she said if I was sure I wanted him, she would give him to me right then and there. No money, just plain give. I remember making audible noises, but that is about it. I'm assuming that they sounded like a positive response because she smiled and said "Great! I'll go write up a transfer of ownership!" and she disappeared into the office. Now, I'm not a crier. But I cried.
I have been Riley's owner for almost 2 years now, and even though we have had trying times, I wouldn't trade him for anything in this world. He keeps me honest with myself, that's for sure. He has his sweet as a peach days where we could do anything and he wouldn't put a single foot out of line, and then he has his wild race horse days when everything we do has to be at high speed and with lots of enthusiasm! But I love it. I love his fire. Even though he freaks me out sometimes, I know he would never do anything to hurt me intentionally. He is always very aware of me and helps me stay balanced on his back. He is a great horse, my big furry muffin.
I look forward to spending many, many years with him.
So that's it! I hope you enjoyed my novel!