I am not sure if this is a success story or not really. The idea of success is triumph over something or winning somehow…and my son and I are just barely getting started. If the measure of success is a new, wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, and yes—sometimes cranky, member of the family that worked herself instantly into all of our hearts then this definitely IS a success story.
My wife has a degenerative brain disease that is ultimately terminal, and my son is home schooled and takes on tons of responsibility–way beyond his 13 years. I and my wife both had ridden for the better part of 30 years and had excellent training…but had abandoned our own personal riding when we had a child. After all—finances and time frequently just don’t stretch to cover children and pets like horses. We found ourselves however looking for a way to give my son an outlet away from the house and the pressure of our situation at home he lived, ate, and breathed….so I did what we always used to do—took him to a riding stable and got him lessons. The love was instant, and immediately I knew we had to find him a horse, BUT living in Maine is the hinterlands of the horse universe…I started Internet browsing. I stumbled across Elizabeth’s site…and after a few discussions with her, felt totally comfortable working with her was a relative safe way to get a good horse for my son that would fit in my definitely limited budget. The search started. Elizabeth had one mare I fell in love with, but one glitch after another kept dragging the process out. Elizabeth had mentioned it might take a while to find the horse we were looking for as size definitely did matter–my son and I both top six ft.. During the wait and the ongoing conversations–there was this filly—Muchu that came up—I got an email from Elizabeth one night while I was at work, and the next morning I placed a deposit on what seemed an unbelievable prospect. Now the nerves set in—waiting for the vet check took an eternity–so it seemed, and when the vet check did come through, it was equivocal. The girl had some issues although her XRays were clean and there had to be a decision made…nothing is ever perfect..the vet gave me her best, right now here how it is, medical opinion…and I interpreted that (I am nurse)…and asked Elizabeth to process our bill of sale…..Houston—we had a horse!
So now all of the paper chase and trailering issues began, and I have to say, so many times people always promise to be there and support you etc…only to see a cloud of dust and a shrug when you really need something….but Elizabeth and Becky have always been as good as their word. I’m not sure which was harder to put up with—a cranky mare or a nervous nellie new owner—but they are fantastic. Our girl arrived July 7th—late—as with everything else about this—but before the sun went down so we weren’t settling in in the dark.
The first look we got at her was this pretty little—16.1–filly stepping lightly off the trailer–nice mannered—but head up—sniffing–looking this way and that—and rock hard! I have never felt such a rock hard horse, and I am used to performance horses. She was a bit dancy…completely ignoring my presence even though I was on the other end of the lead…we walked around a bit…and I felt it was time to make introductions. I snapped her lead a couple of times—did walk, halt, and back, took her over to the metal gate and rattled it with it’s attendant chain sharply—walked her past the horse eating bicycle an let her sniff it—took her in and settled her down. She immediately looked right over at me and as much as said—“ok—so what is our agenda?…all you had to do was ask!” It has been a dream ever since. The second day of turnout she came up from the ring to meet us–My son, a very green 13 yr old rider walked her out under saddle after a lounging workout while she looked sleepy and yawned. The third day she met her sister mare herd—a lot like going to a new HS….it was traumatic not to be the diva she felt herself to be….but still she came galloping-literally- up from the back of the pasture to meet us when we came back in the afternoon. She is proving to be honest and sensitive, and very very loyal—she always comes over to us even after only a couple of days here. She is probably one of the quickest most intelligent horses I have ever handled, and I have handled a few, from high level Grand Prix dressage stallions to every day backyard horses. I have been pleasantly surprised because some of the concerns the vet related to me, simply have not manifested themselves. Medicine is always as much art as it is science-for human or horse- and so many times you just have to best guess. Our girl is a bit stiff, but not lame in any sense, from her racing but is working through this with us as we are going slow–working on lounging and flexion exercises to get her past her track experiences. Her mentation has exceeded my wildest dreams. Everything Becky and Elizabeth had suggested for an approach has been spot on to help transition her to live away from the track. She is thriving on having owners! She loves being someone’s prize, and she certainly gives as good as she gets. She has in ever sense stepped into being part of the family from the very beginning. I am sure she will have her snotty days, days when we don’t mesh like hand in glove, but that is just life with any horse.
If any of this meets the criteria for a success story, then this is one. It most certainly meets mine.