Saturday, May 14, 2011


I didn't feel like talking to not-Pierre anymore, at least not here. I don't need a gosh darned dag blamed intercessor.

I have a horse. Not a draft horse, not a trained horse, but a horse I hope to break and sell. I have a real opportunity to fail.

Here's how it happened: I went to the draft horse auction, which I always do. I saw Mary who I never see, and Billy and Dowd who I always see, and Ang who I sometimes see. We walked around the sale barn and I picked out the horse I wouldn't buy this year. I always do that, see, pick a horse that I think for some reason or another will be undervalued that I think I would buy if I did such things. The first year I went it was a pregnant Percheron. One year it was a donkey and I actually got ready to bid but the bidding very quickly went higher than I was willing to go. I don't particularly remember the other years but we always get photos of them.

This year even the good horses weren't selling for much, and she was skinny. Then she was friendly, cuddling up to the bars to be petted as we went by. And I just thought her legs were magnificent, her angles good. Then she picked up hay off the floor without splitting her legs. When I went to the check-in to find out about her, she was put in as a four year old Standardbred. I'd thought she was younger than that, mostly because she was so skinny and her legs were so long compared to her body. But four meant work with her right now, not later. And her bare feet were solid.

I went back and forth about it. I could imagine that my eyes were playing tricks on me and that she really wasn't so nice looking. I didn't have a way to get her home. I don't have the money to keep her, not really. There was every reason not to do it, mostly that we don't do things impulsively, especially not things like buying a horse. We actually left, got almost to the car, and then I got turned around by my family. Then they had to leave and I almost did . . . then handed them the keys and stayed. I would bid.

Mary and her friend Suzanne were with me. And another lady that one day I will run into again (short silver hair, open friendly face). The auction had actually forgotten this horse and she went in last. I asked the guy taking her in to trot her so I could make sure she didn't pace. She trotted. I sat down and said I'd bid when it hit $25. When the auctioneer intoned "sold" I said "sh*t". I knew nothing, NOTHING, about this horse. What in the heck had I done?

I first started solving the problems -- get her home. I had several options -- there at the sale, someone would take her . . . if I would pay them. Likewise, there were other people I could hire. I checked with friends but one had left already and Ang had a full trailer already. I called Dowd, our neighborhood patriarch.

Now, I'd seen Dowd that morning at the sale, so he knew where I was. The conversation went like this: "Dowd, this is your neighbor CG." "How ya doin'?" "Dowd, I just bought a horse." "I'll call my son and see where the truck is. I'll call you right back." I didn't even have to ask him. He called me right back too. "Yep, it's there. So I'll just go down and get it, then I have to go to 58 to get the trailer, then I'll be right there. You're still at the fair grounds, aren't you?" "Yep, Dowd, I am. Thanks."

Then I went and paid for her. Then I moved her to a different stall in the sale barn with some hay and sat down on a hay bale in front of it and waited on my family to show up. My emotions were bouncing -- elation, excitement, worry, panic, and all around nausea. Would she even load in a trailer?

When my family walked in all full of anticipation and curiosity about what had happened, I cracked a grin and they knew. "We own a horse!" When Dowd got there, she walked right on the trailer. She pawed when tied and so far that has been her worst habit. She got off the trailer and walked over our bridge.

Our adventure had begun.

She isn't an easy horse but so far I'm not disappointed in anything. I still look at her and think, yeah, she's a nice horse. She's slighter than I might like but she's athletic. She's smart enough to give me concern because when horses are smarter than their people, they are both in trouble. She spirited but handles well. She's got opinions but listens. She's impatient. She's curious. She doesn't tie well.

The not tying well had been giving me a fit. So I dreamed a solution last night, a better one than tying her up until she submits I think, although I will reserve that. The two affirmations that keep playing in my head are: Mary saying, "I believe you love them all," because I do, no matter the breed or discipline, I like horses; and my daughter saying, "There's nothing you can't do," when I said, "What if I can't do this?" I have to be a little like Dory and "just keep swimming".

I don't feel like I have anyone really that I can ask questions and opinions of. "What would you do?" There is not a horse person in my life who I trust that much. Funny that I have said that I don't think Lisa really trusts me (enough to let me bring Gabby home and break her anyway), but I have a reticence to ask her things. I mean, she never asks me my opinion about anything. When I called her from the sale, she said, "So I can assume this is a work horse?" When that wasn't correct, "So, I can assume it drives?" When she'd seen a few photos of her, her first opinion was that she was way older than four, and then that "she looks content" -- not nice or anything like that, just old and content. When I said I still liked how the horse was put together, she said, "Well, it doesn't matter how she's put together -- she just needs a home." And when I said I hoped to sell her, she said, "Well, if you can't sell her, you'll have to teach her to plow." Later she said the horse might have to be "re-homed". (just for the record, I hate nouns like "home" and "gift" used as verbs -- hatehatehate). And the name she suggested for the horse was "Minnie Pearl". So I'm finding it difficult to find any respect in that.

So we named her Increase.

I have an idea how to work with her on the tying thing. I lunged her for the first time yesterday. She's sticky on a corner that would lead back to the field but otherwise she did quite well. I just have to try to work with her about every day and figure it out.

She is so absolutely gosh darned athletic I can imagine her jumping the moon, galloping cross country not afraid of anything, or just moving extremely well for dressage. A girl can dream.

1 comment:

clairesgarden said...

tadaaaaa!!!!! i'm glad you've got your own horse to work with now.