Sunday, October 7, 2012
Hello All! After reading through many journals here, I decided that I would start my own about my beloved Chip. The years leading up to now have been long and hard, so I will split it into several posts. I hope to show everyone the incredible healing power of horses, and how big an imprint one animal can make on a human being.
To start from the beginning, I have always loved animals; horses especially. My first word was “Dog”, my first best friend was my German Shepherd and my life revolved around all of my pets. My room was decorated floor to ceiling with horses, and I had so many stuffed animals and animal figurines that I could have opened my own toy store! When I came into the world, I was the first child of two newlyweds who were struggling with their own business. I was born in November, and for my first Christmas I received one thing: a beautiful red dress. My parents tried their very best and worked more than anyone else to keep us afloat. Back then, my family was small; it was just my parents, my German Shepherd Sable and my dad’s yearling Gracie. We were nestled on 47 acres out in the country, with woods, a creek, large fields, an old barn and all the space I could imagine. As time went on, my parents focused more on me and the business than on Gracie. She was a young horse with no manners and no formal training. She consistently opened the gate and would taunt my father by doing laps around the house. My father had no time for her, and realized it was not fair to this beautiful appaloosa mare. He ended up selling her when I was just a year old.
Although I was so young, something about Gracie must have left a mark on me. My brother was born when I was nearly two years old, and we became inseparable. Our small family grew to include another German Shepherd, a puppy named Bella. As our family grew, our house grew. The business was beginning to pick up, and we were able to live more comfortably. We welcomed two rescue German Shepherd mixes, Kailey and Shadow, into Gracie’s old stall. Another brother came along when I was 7, and our “human family” was complete. A few months later, we lost our beloved Sable to old age. As the years went by, we slowly lost Shadow to significant health problems and Kailey to a terrible accident. Bella became the center of our lives, and she repaid us tenfold by being the best dog we ever had. I was enrolled in riding lessons for nearly 4 years, but the barn was not very accommodating and had poor people skills. I dropped out when I reached middle school.
Our “furry” family expanded to include indoor and outdoor cats, all rescues. We fostered dogs, and grew our menagerie to include 8 indoor dogs. We also had dozens of small animals, and I can remember every single one and their unique personalities. Our business was bringing in more money than we knew what to do with, and all of us couldn’t have been happier. I started my first job in the summer of 2009 at a travelling petting zoo and pony ride farm. I worked extensively with a variety of farm animals, and I quickly became well-rounded in terms of large animal knowledge. Mid-summer, my family and I went on a beach vacation. While there, we did a lot of thinking and talking. By the time we came back, refreshed and ready to go, we had plans to turn our property into a thriving farm. After weeks of construction and eagerly picking out animals from a local breeder and friend, we were ready to bring our babies home. A hot day in August, a truck and trailer pulled into our driveway overlooking the freshly built pasture and lean-to.
The first to come out were our four kids. We had gotten four free whethers who would otherwise have gone for meat: Turbo and Diesel, the Alpine twins; Harley the Alpine with crooked horns; and Tucker the tiny Nubian. Next came our two new miniature donkey jennies, Ziva and Fiona. I dedicated my life to them, and pampered them every minute I could. We added half a dozen chickens in October, and another rescue whether named Linus in November. We eventually added more chickens and ducks to our farm, and began looking into adding horses.
In October 2009, my father took me out to a farm to look at horses. I was not expecting to purchase one for a very long time yet. After riding a few geldings, I fell in love with a very unlikely horse. His legs were caked in mud, he was dirty all over and he had rain rot on his rump. His mane and tail were frizzy and unkempt, his feet reeked of thrush and his eyes were dull. But when my father asked which horse I wanted, I immediately pointed to the older gelding with wide eyes. I was actually getting a horse! I found out that his name was Charge M Chip Bar, and he had been born in Ohio 16 years earlier. I was the happiest girl on the planet, and threw myself into his care. After a few weeks of lessons and even more building, we brought Chip home. At the same time, my father had purchased two other horses, a registered paint and a stunning palomino. A few days after bringing the three geldings home, my father surprised us with another large paint horse. We spent hours grooming them, and the rest of our free time carefully maintaining the farm. Their coats soon became shiny, their manes and tails sleek, their rain rot disappeared and their eyes lit up. We were so proud of our boys: Chip the buckskin, Max “Red” Sun the registered paint, Midas the palomino and Apache the 16.1 hand bay paint. Life was good. Until 2010 came.
I am sorry for writing such a long first entry, but I wanted to have a good base on which to jump off. I hope to be updating on a regular basis, and I hope you enjoy the story behind our journey together. Thank you for taking time to read this, and I hope you continue to follow our story!