I was selling a broodmare for my barn owner, and a great buyer called and said he had a bunch of young appaloosa fillies, "would she trade?". She would, so we went and had a look. The fillies were in a fenced quarter and hadnt been worked with in nearly a year. There were 4 of us there, the barn owner was looking at a gorgeous snowflake patterned two year old, who, like all the others was keeping her distance, the only thing keeping the herd near us was a bucket of oats.
Suddenly I felt something standing next to me, close enough she was touching my arm. It was this hilarious looking bay filly. Her owner said she had been sick and so was stunted. I reached out and put my arm over her back and she just looked at me, like she was meant to be there and had known me all her life. It struck me as odd, none of the other fillies would get close enough for us to touch, but she was practically crawling in my pocket. I didn't need or want another horse. My barn owner realized what was happening, bought her for practically nothing and offered her to me. I bought her thinking I would fatten her up and rehome. Every time I work with her I realize I have found my THIRD forever horse. She is one of the most special horses I've ever owned.
I'm lucky enough to have my heart cat and my heart horse both alive and well. However I made a permanent move over 8,000 miles away and now all I can think about is throwing as much money as I need to at whoever I can to bring a fat Napoleon cat and a grade horse with absolutely no pedigree or background information here to New Zealand to stay with me forever.
It had been seven years since I had my first horse brutally ripped away from me at the tender young age of eight. For those seven years I didn't even want to think about horses the heartache was too much to bear. But, as with any horse lover, the bug wouldn't stay away and bit me again at fifteen. This also happened to be the worst year possible for it to bite as my family wasn't in the best of financial states. So I knew I wouldn't be getting a horse but I still cried at night, wishing that I was the type of person that miracles could happen to.
So it was a Monday morning and we were out at my grandparents' place to help out, as usual. The kids had school off and there was work to be done. However today was different because my aunt suggested we go to the Kalona sale barn. She was looking to get a horse for Margo, a mare specifically because she wanted to breed the horse, whatever it turned out to be. So my mom agreed and gave me that speech that we were only tagging along to look at horses, not buy, yadda yadda yadda.
So off we went to the Kalona Sales Barn in Kalona, Iowa in my aunt's mini van.
We arrived and while Margo (my cousin) and I walked around looking at horses, my aunt and mother went off to get some drinks.
Now the fun begins, the auction! I don't remember very many of the horses that walked out. I remember a red roan snowflake POA gelding that was beyond fat. I also remember a stunning two year old black Morgan, Amish bred and trained. I remember the Morgan because A.) He was stunning, and B.) My mom bid on him!
I felt such a rush of excitement, my mom had a number and was bidding on the most stunning horse I had ever laid eyes on!
And... Just like that, he was bid out of her price range and reality came crashing down on me. Of course my mom was only bidding for fun, how could she expect to get a horse like that for under $1,000? Needless to say I was a little upset, but didn't give up hope.
So it was then that... Something came out of the barn. They called it a mare but I wasn't even sure if it was a horse to be honest, but I thought she was beautiful. She came prancing into the ring in full harness with a little boy on her back. She held her head high and proud and it was as if she was saying, "I am beautiful, and I am better than every single one of you."
My mom bid on her, and after a few tense moments won her for $680! She looked at me and said, "Would you like to go see your horse?"
I was so shocked and so happy I could have pissed myself. But instead of doing that I just cried.
So I went to behold such a magnificent beast in all her glory and there she was, casually munching hay in a pen made of four gates. I walked up to her and I reached my hand out to touch her face. This was going to be the moment when she paused from her eating and stretched her neck out to greet me and it would be a magical bonding experience... or... She would turn her head away and show a complete disregard for me or anyone but the chestnut in the pen next to her and her hay.
Not a great start, I was thinking "love at first sight" and she was thinking "leave my sight". So it was then that the previous owner walked up, a very kind Amish gentleman who could say nothing about her other than he bought her at the sales barn as a yearling and had owned her for the last five years. She could be ridden, drive single and double, pull, and plow. Oh, and be careful around heavy machinery because she spooked at it.
Well here came our next dilemna. If you remember earlier in the story I mentioned that we went to Kalona in my aunt's MINI VAN. Not a great start for hauling a horse an hour back home.
So my mom looks to the Amish gentleman and asks, "Would you be able to deliver her?"
He looks back at her, confused, and says, "Well, I suppose, but it might take me a few days."
Duh, Mom, he's Amish, he'll have to tie her to the back of his buggy and drive there the good old fashioned way.
My mom realized this and was pretty embarrassed, apologizing and saying she had forgotten all about that. It was all good fun though, and we all got a laugh.
Luckily we found someone to transport Dolly home. A nice old man with a pretty nice get-up that raised mules somewhere in our area. So we got Dolly home and that was that. I had a horse.
She didn't like me at first, in fact she didn't like anyone at first. But all summer I rode her but a couple times and mostly took her out to graze where I held onto her lead rope and groomed her all over while she happily munched on grass. My aunt and mom tried to do all sorts of things with her, spray her with the fly spray and eventually use the clippers on her when she had a mane. She went ballistic! Rearing up and trying to tear away, get anything new near her and she immediately went insane. So my aunt immediately came to the conclusion that she was a mean, spiteful, nasty, and dangerous horse. But my mother kept faith for me and my faith in Dolly (as the Amish gentleman told me he called her) never faltered.
It took well over a year and a half, maybe even two years, but I developed an amazing bond with my horse. I can now fly spray her, clip her, load her, bathe her. The only problem is that I'm the only one that can do any of that. She refuses to let anyone else do anything to her and even gets antsy if someone is there with me. We were working on that though before I left and now she's pretty tolerant of my mother.
She is no doubt my heart horse, even the horses that had been torn from me can't touch the bond I have with Dolly. I miss them often, and loved them, but it's not the same. I don't think I'll be truly happy until Dolly is here with me in New Zealand. She was six years old when I got her and turned ten this year.
^ Not stopping despite me telling her to. As is a usual problem with her.
This story is so similar to mine. I was leasing and the BO was giving away this fugly malnourished 13 month old that needed to be gelded and have hernia surgery. I was in over my head and almost traded him away twice. But he just turned 4 and I am so glad I didn't trade him away. We are creating more of a bond every time I see him. Not sure if he is my heart horse but I know I could never sell him.
I did have one horse that has stayed with me since I was a teenager. I used to work at a riding stable taking out trail rides. Cadillac became my trail horse as not too many of the girls could ride him. He was a pacer and holy mamma could he move. I would be riding bareback on the beach passing people who were galloping - at a pace. I would hardly even move, hence the name. He had such a wonderful disposition. I used to have a hat on his bridle and he would let his ears flop around. Anyways, I was away from the barn for a few days and one of the other girl decided to ride him. He would take off on you if you didn't know how to ride him. They got out on the beach and he took off on her and ran into quick sand and split his chest open. When I came back to work the manager told me Caddy was at the other barn recouperating, but I found out a week later that they had put him down. I was saving to buy him too, still makes me sad.
BTW I love Redeo he is sooo cute!
Cadillac sounds like a dream of a horse, as does your 4yr old!! But yeah, for the most part, Rodeo just takes everything in stride, and just accepts everything that is thrown at him! He's my pride and joy!
I currently have my heart horse, Freckles. Considering how hard it was for me to lose the horse I bought as a companion for her, I don't even want to know what I will feel like when I lose Freckles. Its one thing to lose an animal to old age, but when its a sudden illness or accident, theres no time to prepare yourself. I also have my heart dog. And I know for a fact, that there will never ever be another heart dog for me.
Ill be completely honest, and admit that Rodeo is my heart horse!
I, like many others, always wanted a horse growing up. My parents made promise after promise after promise of getting me one, but it never happened. I took lessons, started working for lessons, started working for rides, for leases, ect, ect. After I graduated highschool, I went to school for Equine Science.
Long story short, I was financially stable to where I personally could buy my own horse. Didnt know what I was really looking for, but I kept going back to one ad in particular, a 10month old TB/Paint gelding. I was beyond obsessed, couldnt stop thinking about him, couldnt stop talking about him, I emailed his owner before I was even ready to officially buy! I ended up going and looking at him the day we moved back to West Virginia. When I think back now, it could have been awful! Neither I, or my husband had a job, we had just found a place to stay, we hadnt even moved in yet, and I went, looked at him, and bought him. It was too rainy to take him out, so I just spent about an hour with him, and bought him right there and then.
The first couple months were Hell! I couldnt do anything with the then 10month old. He wouldnt stand for grooming, I couldnt get him to the arena, heck I couldnt even get the halter on or off of him, not to mention he wouldnt take any treat from me what so ever. Something ended up clicking over the months after that, and since then its been smooth as can be! I love that little guy, and although Paints, and Chestnuts are my least favorite, Rodeo has my heart like no other horse I've ever met.
Was it stupid buying a horse practically sight unseen? Sure.Was it dumb to buy a 10month old as my first horse? For sure.Was it insane to buy a horse without a place to stay or a job? Most definitively!
But am I glad I did it? One of the best decisions I've ever made, and to this day Rodeo has not let me down. We've had our issues, and our days that we don't get along, but I know that he is the best horse I could have bought for myself, and I couldnt be any happier with the progress the two of us have made together!
My dad says that you in a lifetime you are granted one good horse, one good dog and one good (wo)man.
I have been very blessed to have three good horses, three good dogs and one hell of a man! (although I think the amount of horses and dogs I have owned increased my odds!)
“Beaucephus” (Barely Impressive was his registered...boy did he live up to it sometimes!) Was a horse I bought in my early teenage years. He was barely green broke, cold backed and would just assume paw you in the head than let me pet on him. Nothing like a horse crazy teenage girl to fix that..LOL. However the cold backed, bucking habit never went away, even when he was twenty years old. He piled me up on a regular basis and I had a rodeo stock contractor offer to buy him because of his natural ability and love for it. He only had one speed…fry 90...everything was fast and on the muscle. He loved the wind on him, if he was running in to the wind, it would make him run harder. He would run hard to cattle…then run on by. He had absolutely no cow what so ever. He could trot faster than most horses can lope. He didn’t like a man standing behind him which caused me to go through several shoers. When it come to his back feet, he would kick them out the barn door. And refused to load in the trailer if a man was standing behind. I had many good years with him. I had to retire him due to a fractured fetlock. One night he got in a fight with a colt I was riding for someone else. They fought through the panel gate and he manages to stick his leg through and rip the gate off the hinges. So at 2 am I was sitting under his belly(the only way I could get to the rail I needed to cut) with a flashlight in my mouth and cutting a gate off with a hacksaw. Thankful that it wasn’t ten yrs earlier attempting that! I eventually free leased him to my parents neighbors so mom and dad didn’t have to take care of him but still keep an eye on him and I could visit. Over the phone mom would let me know how he was doing, then the updates stopped. I had feared the worst but didn’t want to ask. Last year I did ask…he had gotten tangled up in the fence and pulled down his hip, crippled him bad and had to be put down. I bawled for days.
Its funny, when I am doing something horseback I will think about him, ”oh I would of got bucked off doing that!” or “Beau would love this”. I miss that horse.
(he is in the first pic, the far left. We just won rodeo queen)
“Halle”was one of my ranch horses. I never owned her unfortunately. She was a lot like Beau, fast, hot and cold backed. But she was pretty and had cow. She was so much fun to rope off of. And she ruled the ranch, she was the only mare allowed to be turned out with the geldings and she ruled them all. She was tough as nails. Go anywhere you pointed her and look for more. They tried selling her to me several times because we got along so well. I just figured when it came time to leave I would pony up the money for her. No one else wanted to buy her. But when that time came I didn’t have money or room in the trailer. I asked about her often and I was told no one was riding her, they turned her out. Just last month I found out that was a lie.
We had intentions of packing up the horses and dogs to go home to NV for a few weeks and go to the brandings. I thought that would be perfect, I would buy her and bring her back with us. Our plans for our trip fell through and I found out the truth. They let someone ride her and he “pulled her plug”…blew out her fire. She wasn’t the same horse anymore..that is why she got turned out. It made me so sad that someone would do that to her. You had to pay attention because she would work herself to death. Someone didn’t pay attention. I cried for her as well.
(Halle is the black and white paint in the second pic)
And of course “Stilts”! Stilts was NOT love at first sight. LOL. I was starting colts for a cowhorse trainer. Some folks pulled in and unloaded a scrawny obnoxious colt. They sold the colt to the owner of his sire. They didn’t have the money to send him to the Snaffle Bit Futurity. So first couple days he spent tied outside to learn a little patience…he was such a terd on the ground, he drove me insane. So the third day I started him under saddle. It was like a different horse, he was all business once your foot hits the stirrup and he is still that way. I kept on riding him and he so naturally soft, had a desire to please, and had the perfect combo of not lazy but not hot. I teased the owner about if I had the colt and he had a feather we both would be tickled. Finally he said “buy him”. But of course working for a trainer, I was constantly in a state of being broke. One morning him and the trainer took me aside and surprised me. He agreed to let me make payments and the trainer gave me a raise, but allowing Stilts to live in the training barn for free. I was in heaven! He was always excited to see me and go to work. And he is still that way, he gets upset when I halter another horse, he tries to barge in and stick his head in the halter and will follow me to the gate like I am leading him. He loves to go to work and be ridden. He doesn’t look like the ideal ranch horse. He is small and barely weighs 1000lbs. But he always keeps up with the big horses. He is fun to rope off of and cows hard. He will take hide off if allowed to bite one. Again he is one of those horses that walks out, ears up, reins a swinging and looking for more.
If I was standing in the corrals when the horses were wrangled in, he would peel off to come see me. He never was good at standing at the ropes and waiting to be roped and asked to come out…LOL.
He has brought out that horse craziness I had as a young girl. I enjoy just brushing him, hopping on him bareback and goofing off with him jumping over small logs. But don’t get me wrong, I may love him but he still gets spankings when he needs them! LOL
(Third pic is of me roping on Stilts)