Friday, October 31, 2008

Junior becomes Tiki

The only Junior I ever knew, I HATED. He was a leopard appy, probably a large pony. My trainer, Janet owned him as a school horse. I could NOT make Junior go. Not with my leg, and not with a crop. I bought my very first pair of teeny spurs, and they helped a little bit, but not enough to be able to actually keep him at a canter. I did NOT like him. He ran me over in the pasture. So, needless to say, my first horse could NOT be named Junior. I came up with the "show" name of "Ricochet" since he's OTTB, cute, small, and boingy. "Ricki" was always my 'barn' name for "Ricochet", but the barn where I teach already had a Ricki. I came up with "Tiki", because it's cute, spiky, and makes me think of the beach. So, Ricochet, aka "Tiki" was born!

The first time I put Tiki in crossties, he was totally fine. The horse had never been crosstied before in his life, and he just stood there like a champ while I spent an hour grooming the poor beast. He has NO fat on his body, so certain areas are VERY sensitive. I was conscious of that, and tried to be easy on him. Once he was sparkling clean, I took him for a hand walk in the nearby park. Tiki was a cool customer, and actually put his head down and grazed on the longer grass. I was so proud, because I wasn't sure he actually knew how to graze! We walked for about an hour, over logs, over bridges, and by the road. No problems what so ever, and when he was relaxed, blew out the cutest little 'whuffle'. I was feeling damn good about my decision to go get this horse!!!

How I got the Tiki-boy!

I have attempted 3 times now to write this post, and I'm hoping it will finally post. Soooo, I drove 12 hours to Maryland to pick up a horse I'd seen in a picture. One picture. No vet check, no questions, just a gut feeling. I waited, listened to the advice of my friends that advised against the venture, and tried to forget the whole hair-brained idea. Needless to say, I went against all common sense, and went with my gut.

My husband was an incredibly good sport, and he got a new truck out of the deal. Yup. Our truck that we'd had needed tires, a water pump, a hitch, a transmission, new wiring, and had 220k miles on it. We traded that sucker in, and got a new Chevy ready and willing to pull the borrowed trailer 12 hours. It was a LONG drive up there. We went GA-SC-NC-VA-MD. We stayed overnight in a hotel room, then showed up at the Timmonium Fairgrounds at 6:30 the following morning to meet the trainer and load up the horse. His name was Roy's Legacy, aka "Junior".

Upon arrival, the trainer greeted us, and showed the horse to us. I was instantly pleased; he had a freaking CUTE face!! Luckily, I felt a good vibe. I had been TERRIFIED that I would feel no spark, or he would crib, or bite, or kick, or just do SOMETHING stupid. Thank God, that did not happen. We unwrapped his legs, I re-wrapped with my own wraps, and the trainer led him to the trailer. David and I walked ahead to give her a chance to say goodbye. She walked him up the ramp, tied him up, and walked off with tears in her eyes. We drove off, and I prayed to God that I had made the right decision.

All the way home (MD-WV-VA-WV-VA-TN-GA) we stopped and checked on him. I offered him water and peppermints; he didn't partake of either. He travelled quietly, never kicking or squealing. By the time we arrived home, it was about 8:30 at night and about to STORM. The place where I was keeping him was a little backyard barn with a stall on the back side of the barn attached to the pasture where he was going to live. I let him graze while I unwrapped his legs and sprayed him with flyspray. He was super sweaty, and didn't really eat anything. I was very aware that many OTTB's don't know how to be OUT since they're kept in stalls, so I was afraid he would run and hurt himself. It began to rain. I got soaked to the skin as I closed him in the little pen to try and keep him in the stall, but he sort of ran in and out of the stall. I gave him a bucket of water and a rack full of hay, then crossed my fingers and went home.

Wow. Finally, I had my OWN horse!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Want to make sure our journey is documented!

So, I suppose I could always do this the old fashioned way and actually WRITE down my experiences, but then who could read them? My husband? Yeah, right ... he has to suffer through endless accounts of cleaning stalls, silly questions, and his wife scorning his company so that she can go pick poop out of feet and "ride". He has NO interest in reading my adventure with my very first horse.

Background info? Ok, sure! My name is Jen. I've been riding since I was 8. I've always been a hunter princess, and pride myself on the fact that I am a horseman. Horsewoman? We'll stick with tradition and go with horseman. I have wanted to do nothing but ride horses from the moment I took my first lesson. Mom put me in dance lessons at the age of 2, but I made the riding decision when I had $15 in my pocket from my birthday money, and I chose to spend it on my first lesson. Yup. $15 for an hour long riding lesson. My parents never liked the horse thing; they always called it a "Rich man's sport", and felt the cost was too much.

Needless to say, I've never owned a horse. When I was 17 and met my now husband, I was at my riding BEST. I was riding lots of sale horses, going to shows, and jumping regularly at the 3'6/3'9 level. I'd taught a handful of riding lessons for my flighty trainer, and really enjoyed those. The love of my life, aka David, pulled me away from that. I'm not bitter. I took a little break for a few months and enjoyed some crazy things I'd never done before, like ride a 4 wheeler, go camping, and took a few trips to Tennessee. It wasn't long before I was missing the ponies, and had to get back into the swing of things!

I took a job at a tack store, and applied for a summer camp position at the local YMCA. I was hired, and was so naturally good at teaching that my boss hired me as an actual riding instructor. I went through a CHA clinic, got certified, and started on the path that has brought me to where I am today. Married to David now for 9 years, and have been teaching lessons for the last 10 years. I've made a few venue changes, but I am now teaching for a local big name hunter trainer. I run her school program, and also coaching 2 high school riding teams. It's been a long road, and it's been a crazy road, but a blog about my life would take y'all 10 years to read.

So to the present! I teach an hour from where I live, and the price of board is more than my mortgage! So, no horsey of mine will ever live where I teach, unfortunately. I am 29 years old, and JUST got my first horse 2 months ago; August 24, 2008. He was free; I just had to go to Maryland to get him. His name is Tiki, and my next post will be all about that day I got him. If I do that here, this blog will actually be a novel, and not a blog.:) Hope everyone enjoys this, even I do not know where it will go. I will try and figure out how to post some pics after I've gone to feed my horse and buy some food for my family.:)