I was given several offers of horses to ride after Rugby was gone. The woman at my barn with several lesson horses offered me her old show horse Petey and I've ridden him twice already. She offered him to me as a free lease but I'm not quite sure if I want to do that. Free lease means I'm responsible for full board and shoes and since I've been wrecked with vet bills from Rugby, she agreed I would not have any responsibility for vet care. Sounds okay except this horse is just too small for me. I can ride him and I have but I know I'm really not a good fit for the old guy.
The vet who cared for Rugby through all this offered me a chance to adopt an OTTB from a client of his who has the horse stabled at Aqueduct. Yesterday I rode to the track with the vet on his rounds and checked out the horse. It was a big Bay gelding, 5 years old who had raced on turf and won about $100k for his owners. He was coming to the end of his racing career and his owners just wanted him to find a good home and were willing to adopt him for free to the right person. The vet was told he'd had some swelling in his rear right fetlock and it had been x-rayed and whatever it was shouldn't affect him as a riding horse. So we checked into it.
The horse was nice enough, not particularly handsome but 16.3 hands - good size. I wasn't crazy about his long, sloping front pasterns but the vet asked to have the horse jogged for me. As soon as the horse jogged off the vet muttered, "off in right front, not hind". He did a flexion test and sure enough, the horse reacted up front. Not so good. We thanked the trainer and as we walked away the vet said softly to me, "even if you like this horse, I'm telling you no". Well, we agreed on that one. The best part of that adventure was I got to see both Aqueduct and Belmont racetracks from the "backstage" view. The stables and paddocks are so interesting. Belmont is incredible, like a city of horses with people as their servants, LOL!
I also have an offer from my trainer, the Master. One of his students has horse that was a big A circuit show horse and won the hack at Harrisburg back in his day. I know this horse because he was about the same age as Monty and we used to compete at the same shows. I'll call this horse Ruby for the blog. This horses' owner hasn't been riding him as much as she used to and the horse is at best a 2'6" jumping horse, now. He can do smaller shows but still go out and perform. The Master spoke with Ruby's owner and she's willing to have me half board him, where I only pay for half the board and half the shoes, no vet care included. Riding time is 3 days a week. The best part is, the horse is a 17 hand warmblood and should be a good match for me physically. This Friday I'm taking a lesson on Ruby with the Master to see if I like him.
The hard part there is, Ruby is stabled at the farm where my children take their lessons and it's about 30-40 minutes away. I've gotten spoiled with the 5 minute trip to the barn I've been at for the last 10 years. But maybe my karma needs a change. I haven't had the best of luck in the last year and a half being there, maybe a change will break the bad karma and something new will have a chance to come to me.
Change is hard. I will miss being in the vet's barn but maybe being at the bigger barn, with more people and show horses something will come my way if I'm out there and seen by more than my little core group of riders at this quiet barn I've enjoyed for all these years. The end of July is fast approaching, will see where I decide to go for August.