Monday, January 5, 2009

In Love Again....

We've all seen them, owned them, and yearn for them. That proverbial diamond in the rough.

About a year ago I went to the local auction like most of us do. To visit, gossip, see the horses, socialize, you name it. I never intended to buy her. I wasn't there to buy a damn thing. I'd already owned 3 horses. But she came in dead last. A last minute entry. She was terrified beyond belief, an "old" broodmare is what they called her. She was walking ALL around the handlers trying to get away as they were roughly pulling on her face. Nothing unusual about this scenario unfortunately, but there she was so I put my number up and I don't even LIKE mares. I've always been partial to my own personal horses being geldings. No one bid against me, so with a big gulp, I realized I was the proud new owner of a mare...

She was a 10 yr old frame overo registered mare with bloodlines to kill for. She was built to rock a cow or perform in reining, or even dabble in some western pleasure. But, she was taken to the auction because she carries the lethal white gene and the owners rendered her "useless" if she couldn't crap out babies for them...Unbroke, and terrified of everything I had no idea what I was in for....

I ended up running in to the previous owners and they told me that ALL of their mares are turned out into a 20 acre field and when it's time to breed they just turn out the stallion, and when he's done they bring him back in. They never had ANY contact with their broodmares u til they foaled... Made sense to me as my new mare had cracked feet, mangy mane and tail, and was beyond filthy.

I ended up taking it super slow with her and getting her over her shyness of just about everything. She was scared of me, clippers, me touching her feet, me brushing her, the saddle pad, the spray bottle, picking her feet, me moving too fast, the wash rack, you name it. I came out of A LOT of situations with her, dirty, bruised, soaking wet, sore, and frustrated. But I never got tempermental or upset with her, she was WAY too fragile for that.

When I finally got on her for the first time she did amazing! But everything is slow and steady with her... After I put 30 days on her I took her out to her first show where she placed all 1sts and 2nds. The judge was extremely impressed with her as was I. That mare made me so proud that day! Even when she was getting nervous she never faltered once. Trusting me to get her around that ring and back safely.

After I put about another 45 days on her I gave her some time off. I was busy with a million other things and horses to train. I always put my horses last when I"m training a paying clients. Well I got a call one day from a friend who needed some horses to do a midnight "cure for cancer" ride with. So I pulled the mare out of the pasture and off we went. Riding around a track in the middle of the night, I could feel her heart racing through my saddle, yet she settled right down and packed everyone around safely and quietly. I could care less what anyone said, she had a bigger motherly instinct and care than most people I know.

We took her out on her first trail ride and had to ride about a mile and half down a semi busy road to get to the trails, she never missed a beat except when she snorted at the cop car and spooked at a jack ass bicyclist who rode up her ass at about 20 mph. She stayed safe and calm and when we hit the trails we all let out a giant sigh of relief and gratitude.

I considered at one point trading her for a gelding as I have my stallion on the property and just got tired of them flirting over the fence. Everyone was against my thoughts and considerations of trading her and soon so was I. Every time I would describe her to someone I would be like, "Wow, she really IS an amazing mare." Like most of my on a whim ideas the thought of trading her went away as quickly as it came when I truly realized how much I love this damn mare.

I decided one day to start teaching her how to cut and rope and I really thought that the sight of the rope swinging around her head and body was going to be enough to make her drop dead. I was slow and quiet introducing the rope to her and rubbing it all over her body. I got on her and held it, moved it around, tapped her with it, and started to swing it. Her only reaction was when she cocked up her back foot and looked at me as if to say "Well, now what?!?!" I nearly died that day.
Every time I try something new with her she takes it all in, absorbs like a sponge. I trust that mare with anyone to do anything! She was a steal. I paid next to nothing for her and I truly feel as though I stole her. They didn't even know what they had. And every time I ride her be it trails, show, or pleasure I fall in love with her all over again. The "old and useless" brood mare went from frightened and frumpy to a fierce competitor taking on any challenge thrown her way. And I would NEVER consider losing her from my life ever again.


Smurfette said...

I love a love story....about a girl and her horse, that is.

Carin said...


Trainer X said...

hahhahah omg, now I'm Embarrassed!!! :*

2toads2luv said...

Oh, come on, ya big ol' softie! You're choking me up, man!!

Ok, seriously, great story, lucky mare. Crazy how things just work out sometimes, huh? Work out, and then some!

Trainer X said...

Yeah you can say that again!!

TB said...

Love it! I've got an ex-PMU mare that has had about all the same problems you had.
She has made tremendous progress from the first day I got her. One of these days we'll be on the trail.

OldMorgans said...

Great to hear a story like this.

Rebecca said...

Congrats on finding a gem.

love this blog

Mikolaj said...

I swear that story almost brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing what horses will do for us, the trust they'll place in us, if we just give them a little patience and understanding. Kudos to you - I swear these horses are far more intelligent then we could ever believe, to the point of understand and "thanking" you for letting her prove what an amazing animal she is.

SoozieQ said...

That farm isn't in Virginia is it? My mare came from a similar situation. They just threw the stallion out with the field with them, waited until right around when the mares should be due and would THEN bring them in (no vet care at all up to this point).

When I called to get some history on her, they only remembered my mare because she ruptured her uterus and almost died. Since she was no longer useful for breeding they shipped her off to an auction and eventually she ended up with me.

Wouldn't trade her for the world, but would like to beat them for what they do to their horses!

kestrel said...

Some horses seem to know that you've rescued them, and reward you with unconditional devotion. It's a feeling that stops your breath.
I bought a skinny 3 year old Morgan gelding 25 years ago. Little guy, met him in an asshat breeders pasture at sunset. He was standing with both front feet in the manger, and I fell into his eyes and never came up for air. When I went to pick him up I was just freaked. Hell, I didn't know if he HAD 4 legs, let alone if they were straight!
I got him home and he was little, both front legs grew out of the same hole, and his feet had never been trimmed. Of course, everyone I knew laughed at me for buying such a fugly horse.
2 years later, trained, grown 3 1/2 inches taller, chest filled in, we hit the shows. At 7 we took 2nd in a (huge) regional Morgan Maturity class.
This horse is mischief incarnate, smart beyond belief, and my own true darling. He's 28 now, and still thinks he was a british lord in a past lifetime. He's never dropped me, but is opinionated enough to teach me more about riding than I ever thought possible.

GoLightly said...

"He's 28 now, and still thinks he was a british lord in a past lifetime. He's never dropped me, but is opinionated enough to teach me more about riding than I ever thought possible."

Och, kestrel.
Great story.
You know I must write about-you- know-who, someday.
I love that little lord's never dropped you. He wouldn't dream of it. Sounds like the coolest horse.
Scritch his withers, please?

Mares, the great ones, will always give YOU their best. Not so much, anybody else, whether they can ride, or not. Better not scritch HER withers, without permission:)
Better yet, TX, YOU do it:)
She might bite me.
The Mood of the Mare varies:)

To HeartStopping Horses.

Trainer X said...

LMAO!!! Ah yes... the mood of the mares...