Sorry if there’s grammar issues or it seems jumbled. I was trying to get all of my thoughts out and it may have become disorganized haha.
One year ago today my life changed in a way I never thought it would. At this exact time I was trailering home my new horse. An unbroke 3yr old Appaloosa gelding. All he basically knew was leading and not too well. My thoughts “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”
A small back story. I was looking for a project to be my next barrel horse so I thought what better to start with than a clean slate? I was originally going to look at his brother. A 2yr old Appaloosa. I worked with his brother for a good hour or so and nothing was really clicking. There was nothing to make me think that I wanted him other than he was a flashy, beautiful color (Steel grayish in the front it was a gorgeous indescribable color and he looked literally purple with a perfect blanket and spots.)
Then I remembered that the lady had another Appy for sale. His 3yr old brother, he was a bit out of my price range but thought “Why not?” I worked with him for LITERALLY only 5 minutes and I was just flooded with something
I hadn’t felt with other horses I had looked at and had this feeling in my gut that said “This is the one.” We scheduled a day for the vet to come out to do a PPE and he passed beautifully. I was able to bring him home.
Over this year period I have learned so much about myself and so much about Dice.
He is without a doubt the smartest horse I have ever met. He proved that this weekend at a show when he figured out how to undo the trailer tie O.o I walked away for a few minutes only to come back and find my horse gone. I had a little panic on the inside moment while I calmly walked around to look for him. I found him a few yards away grazing happily. Nothing was broke. Not the halter, trailer tie, or bailing twine that I tied him to. I was confused so I hooked him back up and stood nearby and just watched. Don’t you know that freaking horse held the bottom of the trailer tie in his mouth and slowly worked his way up to the metal clasp. Once he reached the metal clasp he used his teeth to gently pull it down and let himself free! I just stood there with my jaw on the ground. And the worst part is he knows how to untie lead ropes as well. No matter how complicated the knot he figures it out. And now trailer ties ~sigh~
I had wanted a horse with personality. My advice, be careful what you wish for you might just get it back 1000x. Dice has enough personality for probably 100 horses. Not kidding. He’s just got all these adorable quirks and he has such an expressive face. Sometimes I think he forgets he’s a horse and thinks he’s a human.
Some of his quirks include:
-yoga, not kidding, he stretches like a dog when they wake up. He stretches his front end all the way down with his bum high in the air and yawns.
-He routinely uses his back foot to scratch his ears, at least I know he’s flexible haha.
-He figured out how to untie the lead rope no matter how complicated the knot. And just Sunday he figured out how to undo a trailer tie (Oh joy!)
- He sucks on lead ropes. If he’s tied he sucks on the lead rope while having this look of absolute bliss on his face. Same thing with anything else he likes he just gets this goofy half lid eye look of euphoria on his face.
- He loves powerade(hates Gatorade), coffee(my bad, I shared my Starbucks with him one day and now whenever he sees me with a Starbucks, or any coffee cup really, he trots over and starts nickering at the cup. He’s a gentleman and is never pushy about it, he just stands there staring at the cup and nickering until I pour some into my hand for him to lick), peppermints, jellybeans (but not the purple ones. I can hand him a handful of jellybeans and he’ll spit out all of the purple ones), he drinks out of a water bottle, donuts, pretty much anything I’m eating he enjoys. We share apples all of the time and he takes these cute little bites unlike my other two who would be happy to take the whole apple from you.
- He could make friends with a rock. He is the dopiest, friendliest horse ever.
- The “Look of Wonder.” This one is strange. Randomly he’ll hold his head slightly higher and look up to the sky with this look that just says “Wooooooow.” Almost like a little kid that wakes up on Christmas morning and sees all of the presents under the tree. I always try to look in the same direction to see what he finds so fascinating but there’s never anything there. It’s strange but kinda cool in an interesting way. I’ll post a picture below.
There are so many more but I don’t want to bore anyone as this is getting long already.
He has taken everything in stride, even when I know I’ve messed up. Beings he was my first unbroke I knew I was going to make a few mistakes. He has been a very forgiving and perfect gentleman the entire time. And he is without a doubt the laziest (now 4 yr old) I’ve ever met haha which is a good thing, I‘d rather have to work harder to get them to move then to gear down.
Nothing phases him when I was first training him to lope with me on his back (I’m pretty sure it was only his 4th time loping under saddle) we were loping along in the field (tallish grass) when a HUGE flock of black birds blew up right in front of us. Don’t you know my green
horse who had only loped a few times didn’t even bat an eye and just loped through the giant black cloud of “death.” When I saw the birds I was like “Holy poo! He’s gonna spook!” Nope. Not even a flinch. My seasoned QH would have been like SEE YA!
We have come a very long way, farther than I ever thought, in this short year. I am so proud of my baby and I can’t wait to have many more years with him. I’ve been training him on barrels and he just LOVES it (which I’m glad haha) He used to get so excited just to walk/trot figure 8’s around two barrels he would hold his tail straight up like an arab and there was a more noticeable spring in his step. It’s like he was born to do it. Just Sunday he loped his first barrel pattern in a show and I couldn’t be prouder. My reins were a bit short (my fault had a tack malfunction and had to switch reins just before we went in the arena) and we do need more work but he did beautifully.
We still have a long way to go but I’m willing to take as much time as he needs. I’m letting him tell me when he’s ready to move forward (to a point.)
He was 14.3 hands when I first got him and he looked like a baby haha. Now he is 15.3 and still growing. He’s muscled out a bit and now he actually looks like a horse. He’s lost a bit of his baby face (sadness) but it’s been replaced by looks of mischief and the trick of “smiling” (his new favorite thing to do thank ya very much hahaha)
He has some very big hooves to fill and I don’t know if he’ll ever quite fill them because no one will ever be the same as my old man, Phantom. He’s my definite heart horse and it still upsets me he had to be retired but I know it’s what’s best for him and he’s happy being a pasture puff who gets near daily grooming =)
When I was looking for another horse I said I DID NOT want another grey horse because I already had Phantom and he is horrible to keep clean. I would’ve much rather gotten another brown horse like TC but I don’t buy for color so another grey it was haha. Two greys and a brown it’s like a reverse Oreo cookie of horses.
Is it possible to have two heart horses? Because I know for sure Phantom is my heart horse but Dice is slowly making his way up there. And it scares me a bit, does my heart have room for two heart horses? TC and I have a “bond” but nothing like Phantom. And now Dice is moving up.
Ok picture overload!! I’m trying to keep the pics in order from oldest to now. And I might just include Dicer’s barrel “run” from Sunday.
The day I got him:
Dice meeting his temporary buddy(it was quite exciting haha we have the whole thing on video):
Dice's first day under saddle:
More pictures to come....