I'm going to be keeping a journal from here on out about how life with my perfect, imperfect boy progresses. In this initial post I am going to cover a few things from his life before coming to me. Enjoy.
Birth and Career
Reno was born in Kentucky on March 22, 2008. The little colt was a Thoroughbred fated for the track. He was trained and sent out to compete by the age of two. His short career was unspectacular. Out of five races he came in third three times and fifth and seventh once each. I never knew if he was injured prior to being retired or after, but at some point he had a slightly bowed tendon. He was given to a Thoroughbred rescue in Northern Maryland where he lived, unwanted, for an entire year.
Someone's Dream Horse
I found Reno while browsing a Thoroughbred rescue's website in the summer of 2011. I instantly fell in love with the posted picture of him and started contacting the people involved with him. During my search for a place to board him at I kept checking the website and eventually his information was taken down. I immediately thought he had been adopted and I was devastated. I hadn't even seen him and I was already so attached. I kept browsing the site for no reason until another horse caught my eye. This gelding was already under saddle, had Halo and Secretariat lines, and his name (Mr Church Mouse) was perfect for an obsession of mine - the Halo video game (for those who don't know, Church is the name of a character in a parody video series of the game called Red vs Blue). When I contacted the woman working with Church, an exchange informed me that Reno was still available and had only been taken down since his picture was outdated. To say I was overjoyed would be a huge understatement. I placed an inquiry on Craigslist looking for a barn that would be willing to board my potential horse in exchange for work, and I found a great something.
I visited Reno at the rescue twice, the first time with my mother and the second with my mother and my ex. The second time we visited, a woman riding a horse in the outdoor next to Reno's field said, "He knows he's yours." I don't know if it's true or not, but I liked those words. My mother and I met with the owner of the farm I would potentially board Reno at and we made things official. I signed the paperwork (I always read through contracts cause I'm a dork) for liability release and board contract at the farm as well as the adoption contact at the rescue facility. The lady working at the rescue paid to have a Coggins pulled for me and allowed me to take a week's worth of Reno's feed with me to wean him to something new. He was a complete sweetheart on the trailer, and though he was a little jumpy coming off at our destination he calmed down quickly and settled in nicely.
December 17 - June 12
My baby made good friends with the other OTTB gelding being boarded at the farm. Eventually he moved away and was replaced on the property by a new boarder, a Percheron/Standardbred cross. Reno began to stop eating his hay in favor of flinging it all over his stall. Then he started eating it again and stopped eating his feed. His teeth were fine and we thought about ulcers, but decided to try switching feed before calling a vet. We switched him from Ultium to Omolene, which made him crazy hot. From there we put him on Purina Senior, even though he's only four, and he's been eating and gaining weight since. The grade gelding left and once again a new boarder took his place, this time a grey OTTB mare who Reno became quite attached to. Soon after she arrived, I moved to Virginia. I found it difficult to come up to visit as often as I wanted, but kept in constant contact with the barn owner to see how his training was going.
June 13 - October 10
I was delighted when I heard that Reno was getting better on the lunge line and absolutely thrilled when I was told that the barn owner's top students were now in the saddle for his training. Just before my birthday (September 29) we all decided I would come back 2-3 days a week to start paying off his training again. Unfortunately, my first day back on the job I suffered an equine accident (see my post in the rider health forum), but I'm not going to let that keep me down or out. In the coming weeks my barn owner will put me up on her Andalusian geldings for dressage lessons so I get back in the swing, then I'll start working on Reno. I'm thinking I'll do walking in the beginning...work on stretching, bending, and just bonding in general. Does this sound like a good plan? I hope so. I'm ecstatic! Pictures and (hopefully) an update coming tomorrow upon my return from working at the farm...despite my splinted wrist. I'm a determined bugger.