Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 07 Horse shows and Jackson

Okay. So, I'm like a proud mama to my horse, Jackson, and to my riding instructor, Brooke, who's about the same age as I was when I became horse obsessed. Lots of young girls become obsessed with horses, I never outgrew the passion.

I've had many equines come into my life. Good ones, bad ones, potentially great ones (if they had the perfect owner.) My first was a little (pony-sized) Arabian mare named Zanovia. The squirrel had a penchant for spooking at everything and everybody. I would have been heartbroken when she developed a foot problem called "ringbone." I donated her to the United States Pentathalon team, who swore they'd use her as a broodmare. Hmmm. Sure they did.

My second was Pro Puzzola an ex-race horse born in uppper Illinois. He was a neat pleasure horse, but I was on a jumping jag at the time. The trainer had developed his jumping talent. I kept blaming myself for falling off everytime the animal stopped dead at the fence. It was only later, I learned the horse had been trained to jump by crashing him into the "wall" jump as often as possible. Hmmm. Lucky I have a hard head.

then came CB. Maybe appropriately labeled as an anacronym for "come back." Only, he was a nice horse. Yes, he was. Also a jumper. I bought him when he was barely sixteen hands. tall, but, yes, I thought, I can handle this. About a year later, Sea Bee (real spelling of his name) grew to seventeen hands. You should have seen me trying to mount the "creature" from the ground. Nobody should miss that kind of entertainment.

A barn friend, who was even shorter than me, traded her smaller thoroughbred mare, In perspective, or Imp, for Sea Bee. Nancy was into hunting. We discovered something interesting as our vets did vet checks on both horses. They both had problems. Of equal enormity. Sea Bee had stifle (upper back leg muscles) problems and poor Imp developed Navicular. I don't even want to go into that insidious navicular bone problem. It's painful. It makes them lame. They have to take warafin or aspirin for the rest of their lives--and it never gets better.

I moved south and moved her into a dressage barn. Imp went to be a brood mare in southern Indiana and up came Money Bar Bunny. One of life's gems. I won't say too much about her, but I found out about trainers, a few things they do when you're not there, and how not be be a humane human--out of ignorance. Bunny did better when she didn't have a trainer. We showed at the Lake County Fair. She was lovely. After I sent her out, she never won again. Smart horse. I sold her, and heard later, she'd died of equine Leukemia. A disease I didn't know effected horses. I creid when I'd heard that. I loved her--never should have sold her. It developed my sense of responsibility for the animals we care about.

Then came Doc, a palomino who's penchant for breaking cross-ties was legendary. There wasn't a cross tie he ment, he didn't love to break. that included the ties in the trailer. Yikes. He had the most perfect jog I'd ever sat. He'd still be with me today if it hadn't been for a disasterous loss of a job. Unfortunately, our real lives have a knack of interfering with our personal lives.

Socks, a gray gelding, and the one you see on the side bar with me riding him, was five when I bought him from a friend. He loved to back up across horse show arenas, bumping as many horses as possible. He also had a playful sense of humor, especially when it involved someone coming off his back. We had a few words about that. But Socks lived with me for some twenty years. He baby sat the new babies and the old timers in the barn. His fragile health and proneness to colic caught up with him last November. His ashes are scattered over the field. His tail hangs in my living room.

I swore there wouldn't be anymore horses--but, along came Jackson. His headshot is on the sidebar and a photo of Brooke Blackard riding him a CJ Ranch's quarter horse show is on the top of this post. As of right now, I'm re-establishing my confidence (from lack of riding when Socks was so fragile) and my grass green four-year-old is learning how to be a well-trained horse.

More on Jackson in future posts. Thank you Riley for putting in the three months on him so he could learn his turn signals and lead changes. Thank you Brooke for schooling him in English hunter-under-saddle and helping me get my body back on a horse again.

I hope everyone is well out there. Post comments if you wish. Buy my book when it comes out. And do everything you set out to do with passion. It's the one thing that's going to guarantee you happiness.

Love and allow yourself to be loved. There's nothing like a good horse and a collie to take you there.

Retiring for the evening from "The Cottage of Blog."



Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Wow, you've had some great horses. I grew up with "farm ponies" and a few Arabians. Never showed much except the local small town 4-H show, but rode all over our farm when I was young.

Last time I rode our Arabian gelding, Charlie, he bucked me off, bad. They say you should always get back on, and I agree, but I was kind of whoozy. (I landed half on my head and right shoulder while he nearly stomped my head into the ground.) He was the only horse we had at the time, hadn't been ridden in months while I was away at college, and Dad wouldn't let me get back on him. Haven't ridden since.

Patricia A. Guthrie said...

Oh no. Ouch. Been there, done that.

Bsides a broken toe, the worst fall I can remember is when I was jumping and my horse spooked. I went over his head and onto the ground with a "thunk." I think my lungs were the "thunk."

I couldn't breathe. Wind knocked right out of me.

Fortunately, it came back, or I wouldn't be here to tell the tale.

Wasn't one of my horses. (Praise the Lord) I hated that animal. I never got back on him again.

My policy has been, and usually is, to either lunge him to get out those bucks and spurts of energy, or to turn him out before riding him. Any horse.

thank you for reading and posting to this blog.