Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let us introduce the last member of our cast

The last member of our group is the App.  We go back a long way, I got him when he was about 1.5 years old and I was in high school.  I had recently moved to Ohio from New England with my mother and we lived on my step-grandparents cattle farm with my step father.  They had 2 horses, including the very first horse I called mine (though she wasn't and she was sold without letting me buy her) but my mother wanted me to have my own horse.

We lived waaaayyy out in the boonies, I was the very first student to be picked up on the bus and the bus came at 6:15am.  I had to be up at 530a to get ready for school every morning, which I did by myself while everyone else enjoyed sleep.  One night my parents were going to get "furniture" with the livestock trailer and told me I had to stay awake until they got back.  At 10p I tried desperately to go to sleep but my brother made sure I stayed awake.  At 1045p they finally got back and I promptly tried to go to bed.  My mom insisted I absolutely HAD to come see the furniture they had gotten even though it was Feb, cold, late and I had school in the morning.  I went outside and, to this day clearly remember, walking around the back of the open trailer door and seeing a horse.

As a 2 yr old (ish)
Surprise, the furniture turned out to be an underweight, wormy little stud colt in the middle of a bad growth spurt.  He was determined to be about 1.5 years old when he was gelded, the people who had him had bought him from an auction as a weanling and couldn't afford him anymore.  A friend of a friend of a friend knew I wanted a horse and arrangements had been made without my being aware.  The poor thing was about 100lbs underweight, didn't know how to drink out of a bucket and was petrified to go in a barn.  We blindfolded him to get him in a stall and thus we began our life.  At 3 I had to start boarding him and discovered just how bad some places can be.  Stealing your grain and making your horse thin?  Check.  Hitting your horse making him headshy?  Check.  Stealing your brushes?  Check.  Missing fly mask, saddle pad, misc tack? Check.
The stripes that have followed us to this day,
making him look ribby but they are just color.
 I was able to find a cheap but well managed barn where he spent a good part of his life.  We rode mostly trails and tried barrels because that's what a friend did.  Finally gave up barrels because he was almost to the point of uncontrollable, go figure right?  Teenage kid with absolutely no training, no trainer to ask questions to, no internet to research things, just me, my friend and books.  It worked out in the end, we rode trails and roads. The barn owner leased him while I went to college and I kept him back at that barn when I moved back to the area.  Outgrew my western saddles and rode bareback for a couple of years until I moved back into the city, a new friend rode english.  Would I like their old saddle?

He was 4 or 5, love the years he was more white
With much hesitation and fear I traded in my western gear and shanked bit for a loose ring snaffle and english saddle.  We encountered runaways, had to relearn how to canter and not gallop away, cross tying, proper trailer loading and started to learn eventing.  We focused on the dressage as we needed it the most, we would fly over anything I pointed to and fly we did.  Learning strong, fast halting after the jump fixed the rushing and we started showing and winning!

Taken back in 02 or 03
In 2009 he fractured his right front leg thanks to Sinatra.  I watched it happen, they were out playing and he took a wide bite out of Sinatra's butt.  Sinatra took offense and kicked and missed.  He took offense at Sinatra's offense and did it again and Sinatra kicked again except this time he connected.  Sinatra had hind shoes on and I heard the kick from almost 150ft away.  They ran around for a moment but the App came straight over to me with a limp.  We cleaned out the cut but after a day we could tell something else was wrong, he had a spiral fracture on his radius bone. The vet said he recovered so well because he he was so fit and in shape, he had the bone growth of a 10 yr old.  4 months of stall rest and 2 months of handwalking he made a full recovery.

Much to his extreme dismay, he is not in fact retired.
 He's getting old and moody but he's my main man.  I really hope we can successfully show first level this year, we'll see how it goes.  We've come a long way and have a lot of years left.  Let me introduce you to Chip.

1 comment:

  1. Aww! I love Chip! I had an Appy as a kid and they'll always have a place in my heart. I love the story about how your parents got him for you hehe. Cruel but so fun. :)