The Best Horse Contest
I feel like making another contest. So here it is. This contest is not just a picture contest, but also you telling us what makes your horse The Best Horse. The rules are simple.
1. You have to know the horse that you are entering. It does not have to be your horse but a horse that you lease or a friends horse, as long as you personally know the horse.
2. Only two entries per category.
3. Contest will end 8/10/13 at NOON. Any entries posted after then will not be judged.
4. The judge is not myself, but my trainer.
5. Winner of each category will win a custom photo edited stall sign made by either myself or my trainer. You can see our work here: http://www.horseforum.com/horse-pict...4/#post3058162
The categories are as follows:
Best English Horse: Tell us why you think your horse is the best English horse.
Best Western Horse: Tell us why you think your horse is the best Western Horse.
Best Trail and/or Driving horse: Tell us why you think your horse is the best Trail Horse or Driving horse.
Best Senior Horse: Tell us what your senior horses did in their prime and why you think you have the best Senior Horse.
Best Horse: Tell us why you think your horse is the best.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Enjoy and I can't wait to see everyone's horses.
Can it be a horse that has passed?
Boomer, a Tennessee Walking Horse, was the best horse I've ever been around. Also one of the moodiest. You could say we had an instant bond, but that really wouldn't be the truth. 200 pounds overweight, moody, a biter, wouldn't let anyone near him, 19 years old and no one knew how many manners he had, and hadn't been ridden in years. Well, the nine year old me stayed as far away from him as I could get. His companion, Cocoa, never liked me. One day, I was jogging out of the barn and right next to me, on the other side of the fence, Boomer trotted along next to me. A slight neigh and his eyes trained on me as he ran along next to me was all it took for me to become fascinated with him, and horses in general. I was raised around him, and never really took an interest in him. But from that day forward, I was hooked. He was a kindred spirit, but with a catch. Only to me. Come near him, he'll lay his ears back, threaten to kick, and bite, unless you had food. I come near him, and he puts his head down and nickers softly. He meant the world to me. As I started working with him, it was a learn as we go process. From the first time I got on him bareback, it was amazing. Though I did ride him in a saddle, my favorite was bareback, feeling his warm, furry body underneath me, muscles gleaming. But I was never afraid. He never bit me in the years I knew him, unlike others who warned me away. My aunt and mother called him crazy. As we started to work, the fat slowly started dripping away, he became friendlier, and I dreamed of the day we would enter shows and win the blue ribbons. But to me, it really wasn't about that. It was about his endless love for me. I have no doubt he would've died for me in a heartbeat. His love for me never ceased to amaze me. Even now looking back, I have to smile and shed a tear over the first horse I ever bonded with. I remember fondly that he was being a total butthead that day- even though he wouldn't hurt me, he still had moodswings- and I made my older sister get on him in the field. Well, off he went, galloping away, bucking with every step, his eyes wild. I watched with my heart in my throat, thinking "I am never going near this horse again". But when he came back, sweating, I remember grinning and laughing at the tremendous spirit of the black horse. Without any fear, I hopped on him bareback, and he calmly walked around the arena with his head low, ears drooping. My sister was flustered, but I was on top of the world. I remember once how I was stung by a wasp, and I screamed bloody murder and jumped off his back. The old boy just stopped, pricked an ear, and lowered his head to graze as I ran faster than a lion to his water trough, where I shoved my burning arm into the cold water. No one could understand why that horse would only behave and do his best for me.
Looking back, there are so many memories with my boy. But there were also so many things I never got to experience with him. My time with him, sadly, was limited. I remember receiving the call from my grandpa that Cocoa, the other horse, had foundered. We rushed out there before my basketball practice and called the vet. But to my horror, I found standing in that stall, was my very own Boomer. Though my dad warned me not to, I ran in that stall with him with wide eyes and a bump in my throat. He was leaning back on his back legs, his front feet so tender he was raising them to his chest. His eyes screamed pain and tiredness. I didn't know how long he had been in pain. I stroked his sweaty neck one last time before my dad dragged me to basketball practice. I will always regret not being there as he was put to sleep. The vet decided it would be in his best to lay him down to rest. I never got to say goodbye. I was so sure he would make it, that he would pull through for me and I would be riding him in a couple weeks. But hope only goes so far.
I know it was for the best. A person is supposedly only allotted one special horse in their lives. I know I had mine. I miss him. It's been over three years that he died, but every time I go back in his stall I still expect to see his black head with a white star rummaging around in his feed trough, pricking his ears and nuzzling my pocket for a carrot, a gesture he would only do to me.
RIP Boomerang, May 9th, 2010 <3 love you buddy.
My horse, Genny (aka Agenda) is a 10 yr old mare that I purchased two months ago. I had decided to go back to riding western pleasure at a stable I have taken lessons from a while back. The barn owner told me that she was going to put me on a different horse that day. When I went to the stall door to halter her, she put her muzzle on my face and neck. I fell in love with her at that moment. She was so quiet and gentle, her eyes seemed to tell me, "Thank You." Needless to say, I bought her that day. After several weeks of ownership, I saw and felt that things were changing at the barn; she was stressed, I was stressed because I saw how the barn owners were running the show. I was always told something different whenever I asked a question about her. I knew that we needed to find a new home. Almost every stable manager I talked to had removed horses from this barn! I feel like I saved her life, especially when a thirty year old mare looks better than a ten year old mare!
The day after I had decided to give the former barn owners a thirty day notice, I found my mare lying down in her stall, sweating, breathing differently. The barn owners were notified, and said, "Oh, that's ok." She had to be coaxed to get up, and I turned the fan on her. After a few minutes, she seemed better, but I was worried. I found out that she had not been vaccinated, etc., so after paying my month's board, I found a new home. She settled in to her stall right away and seemed happy from that moment on.
Genny always greets me with a soft nicker or will talk to me whenever I put her back into her stall for a few minutes now. She is so sweet, willing to do what is asked and very smart. She picked up voice commands after her first training session. I have to be two steps ahead of her because she picks up any routine fast. She loves to hear my 86 yr old mom talk to her, will follow my trainer around after taking the bit out of her mouth, and will notice every change in her surroundings. Let's just say that she will stop dead in her tracks whenever she sees something new or different and can take in some air!
I feel that I have the Best Horse because she is so pleasant and easy going, learns fast, a quick thinker (and deciding if she likes another horse or not!) and everyone seems to love her. I get alot of compliments on her from the barn staff and visitors. Sometimes, we will play a game in the indoor arena where I make her run around and then she will turn and face me, act like she is going to challenge me with her neck arched so pretty. Then, I will use my whip to make her take one step back at a time. I know that she trusts me because I work with her and discipline her properly and praise her. She has helped me so much mentally and emotionally, and I feel that I have helped save her life. I have always wanted a horse since I was 3 years old. Finally, at 51, I own one. I realized after moving Genny to her new home that she was just as nervous as I was with the changes, but, she soon learned that no one was going to hurt her be fed twice a day and have a beautiful, green pasture with ten other horses to romp in during the day.
I think my horse is the Best Horse because as soon as I started working with a trainer, she realized that she liked learning, and that any problems were an easy fix. She was used to someone talking to her in harsh tones, being pushed around, possibly drugged....I will never know the true story about her past 5 years at another stable. I do know that she is a better horse now and will get better over time. She notices the differences I have riding because of an injury on my right side, and quickly picks up my trainer's cue's, voice tone, posture. She senses the change in my voice's tone, my hands, my leg pressure among the many other things she notices. Nothing gets past her to say the least. She loves to smell animals, grass, the air, any object and will circle the horses in the pasture whenever I go to get her to let them know "stay away!"
My horse is an AQHA with some great cutting horse bloodlines and I couldn't let her go to waste. She needed my help and I needed her. That's why I am so thankful that I bought her, found us a new home, and know that I will be greeted with a happiness whenever I come to see her. She has lifted my spirits on a bad day, and I always remember to be in a positive mood whenever I ride or work her. She lets me know whenever she is in season because she will turn her head to me whenever I cinch her as if to say, "Please be careful, my tummy is bothering me today." I love to watch her drink water because her ears move back and forth while drinking, and if she drinks all the water in a bucket outside, she gently turns it over on its side to let someone know that it is empty.
I feel we will have alot of years ahead to learn more about each other and try new things. For now, we are simply enjoying life at a new barn and some new friends. She will always be my Agenda.
I was very lucky to have two beautiful ‘perfect’ heart horses. They were both perfect for me at the time of my life that I had them.
The first one was a 3 year old ridgeling Quarter horse named Troy. (We didn’t find out he was a ridgeling until many, many years later – we thought he was just a brat LOL) I was a typical horse crazy kid and would have died for ANY horse. My parents offered to buy my favorite lesson horse – a broken down old gelding. Luckily, the barn owner refused, and a few weeks later my parents and I went to look at a house for sale. In the back was a corral with a beautiful bay horse. I knew I couldn’t have him, so I didn’t even bother to ask. To my delight and surprise, the next morning my parents said we could buy him. He cost $100.00 – a giveaway price even back in the 60’s. We didn’t have a vet check, and none of us even touched him before we bought him. He had never been ridden, and I was a skinny 11 year old who had been taking lessons for about a year.
All I had ever want to do was to jump, but everyone told me that–“foundation type Quarter horses don’t jump.” I realize now he had a naturally perfect headset and gait for western pleasure, but I rode him English. He was never mean, but very, very pushy on the ground. He just about went nuts around mares, and it didn’t help that my riding instructor used him to tease mares. As long as I owned him, I felt much safer on his back than I did leading him. He bucked and crow hopped a lot at the beginning, and taking him on the trail was a nightmare – he’d give that ‘train whistle’ snort, and off we’d go, bucking, rearing and spinning. He never bolted, however, and never kicked or bit. Believe it or not, he never bucked me off. He came close a couple of times, and I swear that as soon as I felt myself losing my balance, he would stop for a moment until I got my balance back, then off he’d go again.
Anyway, several years and a lot of miles later, I started showing him in hunter and jumper classes. He could literally ‘jig’ up to a 5 foot fence and clear it. The highest I ever jumped him was 6 feet – bareback. He was a natural. I showed him VERY limitedly, and he was still nationally ranked in both working hunters and junior and open jumpers. Later, I also showed him a few times in western pleasure and trail classes, and he did great in those, too.
By the time he was ten, I could put a kid on his back and send him in just about any class at a show, English or Western, and he would take them through it and usually at least place. Anyone who rode him that tried to bully him, however, would find themselves on the ground. He dumped my riding instructor literally every time she got on, and he was particularly belligerent with men who were going to show him who was boss. We got along great, however. He always tried his best for me, and never hurt me, even when I slept in his stall at horse shows.
One time, I even think he might have saved my life. I know horses just aren’t like dogs, but I have no other explanation as to what happened. I was out on the trail by myself, and a man approached from the opposite direction. Troy kept his eyes on him, and when the man was about 20 feet away, Troy suddenly pinned his ears and charged. The man took off running. Later, I heard several girls had been attacked in the same approximate spot, and the attacker had never been caught. Unlikely he ‘knew”, but still….
When he was 12, I got married and was unable to keep him. I was broken hearted, but had no choice. I sold him to an 11 year old boy who loved him as much as I did, and I was still able to ride him as much as I wanted, and they consulted me about everything. He was still my horse. He taught the little boy to ride just as he had me.
His death at 17 was almost spooky. His new owner had taken a friend, who had terminal cancer, to see Troy. The friend spent most of one day riding and playing with Troy, and the horse behaved perfectly. Several weeks later, the boy had a setback and was taken to the hospital. That same day, Troy had a vet check, and the vet told us he was in perfect health and ‘would live till he’s 50.” The next day, the boy was dying. The very last thing he told his mother was “I hope I can have Troy in heaven.” The day after the boy died, Troy became ill, and was diagnosed with a monolith stone that had literally torn him up. He was euthanized. I was heartbroken, but at the same time, what had been told me by the dead boy’s mother helped me immensely. Again, was it coincidence?
I never thought I’d have another horse – I raised a family, started training dogs and the horse dream gradually disappeared. However, a few years ago, my daughter moved to KY and purchased a small horse farm. As soon as I walked into the barn, the old ache returned. I decided to get an older, well trained “bombproof” gelding for trail riding. At almost 60, the ground looked a lot harder than it used to!
I had never particularly liked palominos, but for some reason, I looked at an ad for a 2 year old palomino filly named Nibbles. I figured I’d go look at her, because she was close, and I knew I wasn’t going to buy the first horse I found. I was in no hurry. One and a half hours after I first saw her, she was delivered to my daughter’s farm. No vet check. I didn’t ride her. I didn’t really go over her to check for any issues. I didn’t see anyone else ride her or tack her up. STUPID!! But something about her eyes and her expression just sold me. Anyway, she has been a dream. I keep waiting for her to do SOMETHING wrong, but she just hasn’t. She’s calm, well behaved, and sweet. She ties, is perfect on the trail – no spook at all. She’s not a bit mareish and has very nice gaits. I have ridden her very limitedly, but I see absolutely no problems.
When my daughter’s Haflinger dumped her on the trail and stepped on her, my husband jumped off of Nibbles and ran to my daughter. Nibbles stayed ground tied perfectly for at least 5 minutes, even though she had never been trained to. She then ponied my daughter’s out of control horse back to the barn like a trooper. My husband had to just drop her reins to control the Haflinger, and Nibbles walked slowly back to the bar with no guidance. Another time, my daughter’s dog jumped on her back from a ledge above. Any other hose I know would have freaked, but Nibbles bucked once and ran about 15 feet, then turned around and just looked at the dog. I have a disease that causes me to lose my balance easily. I am fine once I’m on her, but walking is a different story. I have fallen in front of her several times, and even once landed on her front feet. All that happens is she nibbles on my hair. When I am done riding her, and I turn her loose in the pasture, she ALWAYS tries to turn around and follow me back into the barn. She just loves people, and is naturally gentle.
She has been vet checked since, and she’s in great shape. Everything I teach her, it seems like she already knows or learns WAY too quickly. She really doesn’t act like a horse – more like a dog. I know that I will have to have some problems with her eventually, but it doesn’t matter. Nibbles is my heart horse as much as Troy was, and they will both always be. They both were perfect for that time of my life
The first picture is Troy the day I got him. the second picture is him at a show.
The third and fourth picture is Nibbles the day I got her, at barely 2 years old. The fifth picture is her with my grandson on her. (She had been cross tied, saddled and bridled when I went to help my daughter with another horse. When I came back, my 4 year old grandson had unclipped her, climbed one her, and walked her around the yard. I just about fainted, but he didn't know what the problem was - after all, as he said -"I put on a hemet, grandma!" LOL.
I would like to add this information to the above post about Nibbles. I had been under terrible stress for years before getting her - taking care of a miserably difficult parent full time, going through losing EVERYTHING including our house, moving cross country, and my husband having a massive heart attack with severe brain damage, forcing me back to work when I thought I was retired. My blood pressure was sky high, and I was clionically depressed. When I got Nibbles, my lifre suddenly was WONDERFUL. Didn't matter what else happened - as long as I could play with her, I was fine. A month after I got her, I was diagnosed with CIDP (sort of like multiple sclerosis). I was bedridden - couldn't walk or swallow. I drove my doctor crazy. I told him I didn't care if I could walk - WHEN could I ride again? LOL He said he had never seen someone work as heard trying to recover. ANyway, I truly believe Nibbles was responsible for my recovery and also keeping me ok mentally. (Plus, riding is one of the therapies recommended for CIDP) I still have a lot of issues that will never go away, but I CAN RIDE and life is good!!!
My horse Toby is the best Western rider ever. When she was born the previous owner had no idea who the father was so she was named "Who's your Daddy"lol.
When we bought her she was very mean and ignorant. She bit my sister and would not listen to commands. After some training and love she finally became the best horse ever. I love her to pieces.
Toby was forced to carry saddles and people and so for a while she was very afraid of saddles and even when i bareback rode her she became afraid.
now Toby is my best friend and we ride together and i am training her for barrel racing.
Why my horse is the best trail horse:
A few years ago my mom got me an Appy mare who had previously been abused. We are under the impression that abused animals, once treated right, generally make the very best partners & guardians. And she was no exception. Mom called her Nellie because she reminded her of a mare from her childhood, and when she got her Nellie would always bolt back to the barn... By the time I was introduced to her, the problem had been fixed, and she was the best and best friend that you could find for a 12yr old girl. I kept her name as Nellie because I liked it, and because of mom's story behind it. I never really felt like putting a saddle on, so every day I was out there I would hop on her with just her leadrope and halter on (I had a helmet on of course) and we would go off on the trails by ourselves. The barn we were at advertised trail rides for people who would pay, so we would go out on the rides and bring up the back of the group. A few times I brought my best friend out to ride her, sometimes she would ride her out in the field with me walking with them, and sometimes we would ride double in the arena, with only a hackmore on her... I rarely even used a hackmore on her. We went on an overnight ride, where I would take friends back and forth on a small trail there because I loved crossing the stream. That was one of maybe 10 occasions where I actually rode her in a saddle. In september we had our one and only horse show together, where we won a couple 4th and 5ths... But it was around august that she really gave her heart to me.... I went to put her out in the firld with our other horse, who was more dominant and who she seemed to be kind of afraid of.... I had my back turned while locking the gate, not paying attention. I knew he had come up pretty close. I felt the leadrope on my arm move a bit, so I gave it a slight tug to tell her to stay. Next thing I knew she had been kicked. Mom saw the whole thing. The other horse had come up wanting to see me, and threatened to kick Nellie if she didn't move. So what she did was she placed herself directly between him and I. He kicked her with both hind feet, in which he was shod on the back. If she had moved and let me take the hit my back would have been ripped open and I could have been paralyzed, or killed from it. I am forever grateful.
But then in october of that year we got a phone call saying she was dead... Turned out she had cancer, and it had burst into something...
So yes, that is why she's the best trail horse
EDIT TO MINE!!!!!! I didn't mean to put mine as the best trail horse sorry, I meant to put it as just the 'best horse'. Sorry!!
The best horse:
All I ever wanted from of my horse was everything she had. (And what's left after that, too.) I used and abused this horse's determination and heart until I ran it dry, and then I kept on asking more. It was unfair; it was unreasonable. But she never let me down. That's why Baby Girl is the best horse.
I met Baby Girl as a four-year-old. Green broke, with a week at the colt breaker and a couple hours of trail rides on her. I was 14-years-old and had been riding for a year. I had been riding a 20-year-old walking horse named Missy for a few months, and intended to bring her to my first competitive trail ride (CTR). Unexpectedly, Missy came up lame and wouldn't be able to complete the 16 mile Novice One Day ride. So I was handed Baby Girl, who I rode once for 15 minutes before throwing her in the trailer and heading to Alabama.
So the adventure began with a twist of fate that made me almost believe in fate.
"Green on green equals black and blue," they say. We barely made it through our first CTR. Baby Girl reared and jigged. She failed a P&R and finished the ride lame, sore, and exhausted. But I had the spirit of competition in my blood from there on out. And maybe Baby Girl did too.
I bought Baby Girl that Christmas, and trained hard for our next CTR in the spring. I rode daily, carefully conditioning and training. I wanted to run the Tevis, just to show everyone I could.
We worked through a good novice season until the first trial struck. The 5th ride of the year, Virginia Highlands. 10 miles in. BG tripped on a mud covered root, fell to her knees, and lunged forward. I almost came out of the saddle. She scrambled several steps but seemed to recover. I shook it off and continued my ride.
It wasn't until two miles later that I noticed the head bobbing. One... Two... Three... Bob. Then she would take a couple of normal steps before she bobbed again. This was the beginning of my propensity to say, "If I ignore it, it will go away."
6 miles after the accident we reached the finished line. I dismounted, untacked, and put Baby Girl in a stall. The vet would come by later and check all the horses.
Two hours later, I was summoned by the vet to Baby Girl's stall. The vet showed me a bulge of swelling on the back of Baby girl's right front leg. A seriously bowed tendon.
No one expected Baby Girl to ever fully get over that injury. CTR can be a tough sport. An old timer told me this is no place for bad tendons. I was encouraged to sell her and buy a sound horse. But I had said I was talking this horse to Tevis, dammit. I would compete her again, to hell with that tendon and the chances of it healing and the chances of re-injury and whatever.
And no one knew what to say when Baby Girl returned four months later and swept the whole novice division with a perfect score of 100.
Sometimes at home, that leg got sore. I iced it and babied it, but always remembered that old timer's words. "CTR isn't the place for horses with bad tendons."
Next season, Baby Girl and I went Open. The Open division is longer, harder, faster. 50 miles instead of 30. Trot and canter the whole thing instead of the leisurely walk/trot pace of novice. Open trails take you places deemed "too difficult" for novice. Too scary, too technical.
The next trial didn't occur during one of these hairy treks, but during a routine training ride at home. 15 minutes into a trot through the woods, Baby Girl started to sweat from her head to her tail. Her eyes dripped with perspiration. Her haunch muscles cramped, and suddenly she was lame in both back legs. We walked 5 minutes back to the barn. I thought she was overheating, so I cold hosed her. She was still boiling hot after 45 minutes. Her heart raced, and she panted. I tried to walk her out of the wash rack, but she couldn't move. Every muscle in her body was cramped and rock hard. She swayed on the spot, threatening to go down.
She manged to limp to the grass immediately outside the barn. Her eyes glazed over. Her gums were pale; capillary refill time was several seconds long. It was 9:00 at night, and no vet answered the phone. I gave her a bute injection in hopes of calming the pain. She stood perfectly still with no expression -- like her spirit had left her body-- all night long. As the sun rose over the farm, she was fine again.
We took her to vet that Monday. I told Dr. Cook Baby Girl's whole life history. Her diet, her training, our weekly conditioning schedule. Dr. Cook took a sample of Baby Girl's blood and ran a panel on it.
The results were shocking. Baby Girl had experienced the most severe case of rhabdomyolysis Dr. Cook had ever seen. It was a miracle she had survived. Nevertheless survived without any medical assistance. A miracle. Her muscle enzyme levels were so high that Dr. Cook's machine couldn't read them. Dr. Cook send a sample of Baby Girl's blood to UGA. (Who e-mailed me the results several days later, expressing their amazement and using a lot of exclamation points.)
The cause of the rhabdo was PSSM, an inherited muscle disorder that caused muscle atrophy, weakness, pain, and occasional rhabdo (tying up) episodes. I was surprised to learn that Baby Girl always had PSSM. Despite the odds and the lack of treatment for the disease, she had still managed to compete successfully in high level CTRs for several months. It must have hurt. I had noticed muscle atrophy in her hindquarters and topline for several months, and she had experienced stringhalt and locking stifle like symptoms that I once again conveniently choose to ignore. God ****, she must have been hurting.
Baby Girl wasn't suppose to make her come back. Everyone told me to sell her. Bad tendons are one thing. But PSSM. That's serious. That's incurable and sometimes unmanageable.
But I couldn't sell her. I had a strike of conscience. She tried so **** hard to make my dreams come true... I couldn't throw her away. Love the one you're with. We kept on trying.
Nobody even wanted to talk to me when I brought BG back to a CTR four months later. Rockford was the toughest CTR in region five. 25% of competitors failed to complete. For normal horses, it was a challenge. For special horses like Baby Girl... It was (suppose to be) nearly impossible.
We finished with a score of 97. Baby Girl and I ended that year fourth in the nation among open juniors, and she was national high point spotted saddle horse.
This year was the toughest of them all. We hit the campaign trail in Florida one chilly March morning. This year, I wanted a national championship.
10 miles in, BG stumbled on a rock and went lame. She limped along for 30 steps before I knew it was over. We pulled. I cried, because the national championship attempt was dead in the water before it began. I figured Baby Girl had bowed that God **** tendon that I had been warned about for so long and chose to ignore out of pure stubbornness. She tried so hard for me, again. I hurt her, again.
Her leg was swollen, and she was three legged lame. She acted like her leg was broken. I was ready to throw in the towel on CTRs. Another strike of conscience. I felt guilty. Maybe Baby Girl wasn't meant for this.
I packed all Baby Girl's ribbons in a box, and for three days I totally resigned myself. It was done and over. I was a terrible person and a crappy horse owner, and I was never going to hurt Baby Girl again.
But old habits die hard. The vet came out and examined Baby Girl. I trotted my poor lame horse in circles and straight lines. Dr. Cook picked up Baby Girl's injured foot and, with a smile, put a pair of hoof testers to it. The hoof testers closed, and BG jerked back. Dr. Cook made a quick cut in BG's sole with a hoof knife. Puss flowed from the wound.
"It's a hoof abscess from a puncture wound. You'll be riding again in no time."
If we were going to get that national championship, we had to go for the Heart of Dixie CTR that next week. One more time, I thought. I'll press my luck one more time.
We left on Thursday. Baby Girl was still lame, but I had a gut feeling that she would be sound by Saturday. As I walked my lame horse around camp on Thursday afternoon, once again no one would talk to me.
I kept the hole clean with NATRC legal "medications" -- bleach and hydrogen peroxide. I kept hoof boots on her all weekend. No dirt was touching that wound.
Saturday morning, and Baby Girl was sound. We finished with a 98. The national championship lived.
We did 50 mile rides every other weekend from March to June. Hundreds of miles on the trail. Hours in the trailer. We blazed the southeast. We chased the sun up in the morning and the moon up at night. It was the adventure I had always wanted.
Baby Girl performed faithfully. But as we went on, she got tired. Tired from rides and trailering and training. She gave 120% at every competition we attended. By the end of June, she had lost 100 pounds. Every rib was visible. Her butt bone was prominent. She looked exhausted. One more ride, I thought. One more and then we get a three month break.
That one more ride was the best ride she had ever given me. She scored a 99, almost winning the entire CTR. She trotted proudly at final vet check. Head up, knees high. A real show girl. When we finished, we stepped out of line. Baby Girl dropped her head and resumed looking totally exhausted.
And then I realized that I was a total ass and this was the best horse ever. She is a once in a lifetime partner. She goes beyond her physical limitations and tries her heart out. She tries for me until she's sick and hurt and miserable. She tries at a job that maybe she isn't meant to do but I want her to do so she does it. She's special, in so many ways. If I wanted to ride to the moon and I asked her to take me there, she would find a way.
And at the top of every long mountain climb... I realize that what we're doing should be impossible. But I believed she could, so she did. Some horses sense our fears and take advantage of them... But the best horses sense of our dreams and take us there.
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