I felt the young colt move un-steadily below me. I gave me a squeeze with my legs to push him forward and send some confidence from my body through to his. I felt him stretch out a little bit and concentrate. He started to pick up his feet and drift into a more confident frame. He’d had many rides. But he was still barely broke. Callie had taken him on as a project a few years ago as a two year old. He was now four and becoming more intelligent as his rides went on. He was a simple bay, with a small marking on his face. But he had a very special look about him, which would have everyone looking at him in the dressage ring. Callie had started him over trot polls earlier this week. He had shown potential in the show jumping ring and he had the perfect conformation for an eventer. He was confident, even though at times he had lacked it, Callie had only needed to offer him a small amount of support before he would be focused and confident once again.
Around the barn he was known as “Lucky” but once he was older and Callie started to event on him his show name would be “Lucky Stars”. He was a very special horse and meant a lot to each and every member of the barn community. Callie had noticed a small, unfed, young pony out in a paddock, although she already had two horses of her so she hadn’t put much thought into the idea of him becoming her own. A few weeks later she was doing her weekly search on a horse purchasing and selling website. When she came across a very similar looking pony, in a condition that she had never seen, it had horrified her and had almost put her in tears when she had simply seen one photograph. Callie then noticed the ad that said;
“One week to be sold, otherwise sent to the dog marker”.
Callie knew that no one would want to purchase a plain looking pony in such a condition. She had instantly wanted to do something to help the pony. But she knew she wouldn’t be able to pay for feed, board, vet bills, everything all by herself. This pony would need almost several thousands of dollars poured into him in the first year, with no promises of getting results.
That afternoon Callie headed down to the stable to ride and feed her two horses, when she had come up with the idea of approaching her coach with the idea of the barn adopting the pony; everyone putting in a small amount of money and putting work into the colt, ending up with a well-trained, respect-filled school horse in several year’s. Surprisingly her coach had agreed on the idea almost instantly, as long as Callie went out to look at the colt and if it wasn’t too badly mentally damaged.
Callie had rushed home and organized to visit the horse the next morning, the man she spoke to on the phone had a rough voice, and he had sounded sick. Callie could tell by the quality of the phone line and his voice that he wasn’t very wealthy. He was nice and showed patience and kindness in answering all of Tally’s questions.
Tally had woken up early the next morning, making her-self look presentable. She wore plain, cream jodhpurs with plain black riding boots and her barn shirt. The car trip had only taken fifteen minutes, but to Callie it had felt like many hours long. Once they had arrived, Tally and her father had been led out to the road side paddock. Where the young bay colt had stood, the horses rib could be seen clearly – even through its thick over-grown coat. He nickered quietly when he saw the people and walked quietly over to the fence, though when Callie had reached out to pat the horse he had backed away; frightened of the unfamiliar figure standing in front of him. Callie had retreated slowly and simply placed her hand in front of the young colt, letting him sniff her hand before trying once again. He had slowly moved his head towards her hand and relaxed quickly as she stroked his neck.
Callie then spent around an hour discovering how the colt had known basically nothing. He had freaked and pulled his leg away when she had asked him to pick it up and had pulled away when she had left him tied up. Callie had then called her trainer and had discussed the details with her. Her trainer had said that if Callie had felt that the horse was not dangerous and if she felt the horse would be trainable then to go for it and to let the owner know that the horse would be being picked up that afternoon and taken to a barn where they would give the horse the best care possible.
Everyone had arrived at the barn for the arrival of the new, rescued colt. Only once had they ever had a horse that was under the age of four and they had never had a rescue. Even the youngest of barn members – aged six, would be able to work with the colt. Of course, the younger and less-experienced riders would not be able to have direct access to the horse. But they would be offered chances to help make up feeds and clean out stables. Callie unloaded him carefully off the trailer and into a small yard.
“Wow, his so thin but his stunning at the same time,” said one of the riders. Making him shy slightly to the side at all the people, Callie had stayed confident and continued leading him.
“Good boy … that’s a good boy,” said Callie adjusting his new, red halter to sit straighter on his head. Callie placed him in the yard, unclipping the lead rope and closing the gate carefully behind him. He trotted a few laps around the yard, before calming down and grazing quietly on some grass.
Callie looked up at the sky and noticed that a heavy storm would be soon arriving. She walked into the tack room and picked up the smallest of all her rugs, one that belonged to her pony who was of similar size and build. The pony stood quietly as she placed the rug on his back, but tossed his head around a bit as she tried to do up the neck straps, Callie soothed him quietly and he quickly allowed her to tighten them. He stood quietly while she did up the belly straps and the leg straps; he didn’t seem to mind at all as Callie spoke to him quietly. Callie had decided that it was too soon to put him into a stable and that he would be fine outside in the weather with a rug. She gave him one last pat and a small piece of carrot before leaving the stall.
Ignore the typo's above where I have referred to Callie as Tally; not sure how I have managed that.
Many of the boarders asked Callie and her trainer questions, about who would be able to do what with the horse and when. Callie’s trainer kindly and professionally answered each of the questions asked. Callie loved her trainer, she was always happy to answer everyone’s questions, no matter how silly they were; her replies were put in a way that made them easy to understand but she also made them as detailed as possible and usually included examples. Her trainer explained how it would only be her and Callie working with the horse until it built confidence and trust with them and then they would introduce other boarders to the horse. Unless in an emergency situation no one else was able to have physical contact with the horse, but they were allowed to pat and give the young horse treats over the fence. It didn’t take Callie long to come up with the name “Lucky Stars” and the younger riders than shortened it to Lucky and everyone began calling the young colt by Lucky.
The next day was the second day of summer and also the second day of Lucky being at the barn. Callie awoke early to feed Lucky and her two other horses Daisy and Lance. Her trainer met up with her and explained how Callie would slowly introduce the horse to the process of having its feet cleaned. Callie was excited and nervous about being the one doing the practical work, she focused on staying calm and relaxed and slowly slid her arm down the horses shoulder. She patted lucky and soothed him quietly, making sure he understood that Callie had no intentions to hurt him. Callie took a deep breathe, before asking Lucky to pick up his hoof, he did so but at first he tried to pull away. Callie held on gently and used her voice to calm him once again he soon stood quietly and let Callie begin the process of cleaning out his hooves, he was almost perfect with each of his hooves although he had a habit of kicking out slightly with his back feet when Callie cleaned them out; though both Callie and her trainer were confident he would quickly work out of this habit with time and patience. Callie then picked up a soft body brush and began brushing the dirt away from the young horse’s body. At first Lucky was unsure and turned towards her curiously and even nibbled at the brush.
“It’s okay … good boy Lucky,” Callie said in a soft voice as she brushed away the dirt and over-grown, un-brushed coat. Callie knew underneath and with many hours of brushing and washing he would have a glossy, dark bay coat waiting to be un-leashed.
“His confident with you Cal … he trusts you a great deal,” said her trainer, Susan as she leaned on the solid, wooden fence post. The barn had recently put in new fencing over the whole 40 acre property, replacing each and every fence post with a solid, white fence post. Each freshly painted by the boarders. The barn also had plans to put in a second outdoor area and develop their cross country course so that their fences could be suitable for students of all abilities.
Callie brushed away for about an hour and stepped back, brushing the hair and dirt off her shirt. Her trainer had left a good forty-five minutes ago to start the day’s work; Callie had been pleasantly surprised at how much her trainer trusted her with the young horse. He had started to develop a nice shine in the sunlight and with a good bath and more brushing he would turn out to be a very pretty looking pony. He only stood roughly fourteen hands tall, but at the age of two they were sure he would grow out to be a nice, chunky eventing horse. Callie didn’t really mind, she wasn’t focusing on the future she was focusing on getting Lucky to trust her and learn the basics. Callie watched as Lucky sniffed at the lead rope and took several slow steps backwards, he slowly moved his head. Putting pressure on the lead rope; he pulled light enough for the rope to still hold. Callie praised him and put his rug back on, he tossed his head around once again but this time it was to less of a degree.
The next morning Callie awoke to the sun barely shining through her window, she quietly ate her breakfast and got ready to go to the barn. Before hoping on her bike and riding the long ride to the barn, fortunately the early morning weather had been cool and made the ride almost enjoyable. She rode past several paddocks with long, thick, green juicy grass in them. Clearly they weren’t being used by animals; Callie thought how much her horses would enjoy to be kept in the luscious, long grass. Callie guided her bike into the drive way and parked it neatly at the top of the barn hallways. She picked up two pre-made buckets of food and walked down to the stables of the three horses and placed their food over each stall door, before taking a broom out and starting to sweep out the messy hallways of the barn. Callie noticed how the sunlight shone brightly on the floor, making the whole room fill up with a sunlight, yellow colour.
“Morning Callie,” said one of the boarders Grace; who had shoulder length blonde hair which she regularly wore in a long, thick pony tail. She owned a young, chestnut Arab that was kept at the barn named Diego. Each time Callie saw Grace ride him she was surprised at how much his movement had represented a warm-bloods. He was also calm, confident and collected; Grace had chosen him as an eventing prospect as a youngster and her uncle who had trained horses many years ago professionally had trained him up for her.
Awesome story! I love it!
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