Friday, January 16, 2009

Back in the Saddle

The focus of this blog was about Monty - "a good horse" and chronicled our recent adventures and the fun a good horse can give you. It was also a way, as his melanoma condition worsened, to keep the memories of our time together alive. I think, moving forward, it also applies to my search for another good horse.

So, starting this weekend, I'm going to be writing about the horses I try, and what it's like to ride many different horses again. I have ridden Monty exclusively for the last 7 years. Before him, I was a "catch rider". My old mare was retired with her lameness injury and I wanted so bad to keep riding and showing so I would ride whatever was offered to me. I was a wise rider, I wouldn't get up on just anything. I chose what was safe but never turned down a challenge. I rode greenies, showed sale horses, and competed with a lovely, highly trained mare for a lady who's kids no longer competed but she still liked to go to the shows and schmooze.

That was before Monty came along. Back then I was also much fitter, thinner, and didn't have a family to think about. I'll be honest, I am working to suppress some fears about getting on strange horses to try and find "the one". But I have to do this, and now. The longer I wait, I think the worse it will be for me.

I have never been in this situation before. Every horse that came after the one before overlapped it's time in my possession. My first horse was a QH/Morgan given to me by my parents (who had no idea what they were getting into) on my 10th birthday. Two years later my dad got a western broke TB/QH for himself to trail ride with me. He stopped riding when his business picked up and I then rode his horse and found out he was a really good hunter/jumper. Then my mare, Alta came along and I bought her by trading those two horses with the dealer who was handling her sale.

I owned her for over 20 years. Monty came along in the last 2 years of her life, when she was no longer rideable. As I said, I was riding other people's horses at that time, but at the end of the day, when I had to give them back, or had to do what their owners told me they wanted done with them, I always had MY horse to come to and groom and fuss with as I saw fit.

Monty was brought in as a sale horse for another customer at the barn where my mare was. I'll never forget the Master calling me at work and telling me to leave now and come ride this new horse. I wasn't even looking for another horse. I had a horse. He told me the horse was too green for the client but would be a perfect project for me.

So, being a sucker for a good ride, I went right after work and tried him. He was so calm, steady and willing. After my super hot TB it was a breath of fresh air. I didn't know how I was going to juggle 2 boards and pay for him but I did it. The Master and the barn owner were good enough to let me take up teaching the beginners to earn enough money to cover the second board. And sometimes, though I hate to admit, my animal loving parents helped me out.

Then, when I lost my mare to colic, it was just Monty and me. And my life changed. I met the man who became my husband, changed to a better job, got married and started a family. Horse shows became less important but the horse never lost his place in my life. Many times my husband talked me out of selling him when the rest of my life kept demanding the time I would have used to go to the barn.

And here I am, horseless for the first time in almost 35 years. My kind friends have already begun offering rides. This weekend, E.W. has asked me to help her with the new horse she is fostering with option to adopt from a local rescue and another of my friends has offered me the chance to ride her thoroughbred mare sale horse.

I have been living on the internet looking and looking at horses. I found one locally I'm going to see on Sunday. I need to start somewhere and NY local is as good as any with this nasty cold weather.

So, we shall see. Let the journey begin.


Katie said...

Its a big step but good luck on finding the new perfect horse for you. It can be really exciting getting a new horse so have some fun. Can't wait to hear more.

Promise said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and wish you luck in your search to find the next "one."

Keep us updated...we're all thinking of you.

OnTheBit said...

I think it is the best move on fast. I think some of my hard time with getting past X was because I waited the extra week to do then it was just too late. I think going out this weekend is a great idea. It will be worse if you "take a break". I will start looking for you too since we are only a few hours away (I know it is not local, but it is doable if the perfect mount comes up). The only one I know of so far is a dressage prospect. He is 4, a great mover, but he is a horse of color. And then you would be taking my pony from me. And that would make me sad. But I would be okay with that because I really do think you would like him. He LOVES to go out hacking and is as sensible as can be. Good luck this weekend and if you come out one state west give me a call. I would happily be your person on ground if you need one!

C-ingspots said...

I just checked your location to see where "local" was. Well, your local and my local are on opposite sides of the country it seems. I just encounted an amazing Kiger Mustang gelding who is in training right now and will be available at auction this coming March in Albany, Oregon at the Mustang Challenge. He sounds awesome and according to my source is an amazingly good horse. 3 years old and about 16.2. They think he will grow more yet. Beautiful mover, I'm told but I've only seen photographs of him. Probably a bit out of your realm. Good luck in your search. Your horse will find you, I'm sure.