Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Horseless in Horse Country

For the past two years I have been a horseless horse-person who lives in horse country.  As you could probably guess it can be quite difficult to see these beautiful creatures frolic in the pastures and not be able to touch, groom or ride one. (I also notice the longer I'm away from horses the more idyllic I picture them. When in reality they cause almost just as much frustration as happiness.)

After this two year self-imposed exile I decided I needed to bring them back into my life.  I am now living on a farm with some acreage, a barn and multiple other animals - mostly why not?  I could afford a nice pleasure horse.  And Kentucky has its share of horses looking for good homes.  And I really wanted to explore Kentucky by horseback.

The process began, I don't ever remember it being so exhausting when I had looked for my past horses.  I wasn't looking for a competition animal, just something that I could have fun with on trail rides and maybe do a little eventing.  I couldn't spend a fortune and I needed something a little steadier than my past high-energy horses.  I'd find one and try it out...and it wouldn't be quite right...or it was little too energetic...or not broke...or they thought their 15 yr pasture horse was worth the 5 grand they were asking. 

I almost gave up.  It was October; Fall had settled in...I told myself that I didn't need a horse. Then it it always seems to do.  I inquired about one last horse.  A blood bay thoroughbred on the CANTER KY website named Outlaw's Song.  I looked at him before on the website and really liked him but I didn't think a recently retired racehorse was for me.  I needed steady.  I needed quiet.  Not high strung and temperamental.  But one statement on his listing grabbed me and wouldn't let go... "They even take him home (from the track) on the weekends for some time off and trail riding."  TRAIL RIDING!  What!?! This doesn't sound like the racehorses I am used to seeing.

Something clicked in my brain, because my fingers immediately typed an email to the CANTER KY contact for more information.  I thought the least I could do is check him out.

After a couple emails, I received a phone call from Outlaw's then owner.  He told me more about him...basically he was the family pet who at times would run a race.  I told him more about me and what I had done and what I wanted to do with a new horse.  Fifteen minutes into the conversation he said, here's what I'm going to do...I'll bring him to you this weekend and you can try him for a week.  If you like him, I'll take $500 off his price.

That happened fast.

My first response was stunned silence, then after finding my voice and letting my mind look for any potential potholes I said "Okay." I was getting a least to try.  After months of looking did it really just happen that quickly? My mind was whirling, my adrenaline was pumping...I had to clean the house just to keep busy because my adrenaline was pumping so hard!  What really kept me from going into hyper-drive was that I had a week to try him out and make sure we were a fit.

Two days later, Outlaw arrived. 

A little back story, where I live has a few jersey cows (with horns) for milking and one donkey...a very curious donkey...or as I like to call them the Purple Horned Monsters (PHM). During the day they are in the front pasture...this is where we had to unload Outlaw.  The PHM's were curious when they saw the trailer but when they saw Outlaw come out of it they came running!  And the donkey started braying!

Can you imagine unloading into a new place and the first thing you see are five overweight, oddly-shaped horned beasts running at you and then hearing the loud noise that sounded like a dying crow?  I think I would crap my pants and run.  Luckily, Outlaw didn't do either. He just jumped back and willingly followed his owner to the nearest exit.

I did my best to keep everyone back as we got him to the gate away from the chaos. And Outlaw did a good job of staying out of their way.  As soon as we got him through the gate and away from those oddly shaped creatures he put his head down and started grazing.  He would look up every once in a while but overall he was he hadn't just been greeted by fire breathing dragons.

I think this just might work....

Outlaw meeting the PHM's
(To Be Continued)