It’s kind of amazing to me that I started this blog in 2006. Sure, it was only the last few days of 2006, but still. I didn’t realize it had been so long. It’s 2013 now.
Time sure flies when you’re busy squeezing out angry babies, doesn’t it?
A lot has changed.
I was only 25 when I started this blog. Now, in a couple of weeks, I’m going to be 32. During that time I got married, had a a kid, got an office job, had another kid, helped The Bean through school, moved out of California to Oregon…. And those are only the big points.
In other words, I’ve done a lot of living.
And now I think it’s time to make another change.
Dear Internet, meet my new horse.
You read that right.
Here is his backstory:
My parents bought a membership at the dude ranch where I used to be a wrangler. The head wrangler at the ranch was a bit of a horse trader – and I mean that in the bad sense of the word. My stepdad met and fell in love with the big grey gelding, and she encouraged them to buy him.
Don’t get me wrong – he’s a *GREAT* horse…. it’s just…
The gelding was 7 (he’s 8 now).
And he is 16.2 hands (I think? I need to measure him.)
And he had ONLY BEEN GELDED FOR THREE OR FOUR MONTHS when they bought him.
Did I mention my stepdad is a beginner rider over 60 who is a professional Santa (and thus, due to the holiday season, the horse would be unridden in a pasture for at least a quarter of every year?)
In other words, yes, I mean “horse trader” in the most negative sense of the word. Who the heck sells a gigantic, recently gelded baby to older beginning riders? Even if they really love his personality?
I think my parents lucked out, and I think they have excellent taste in horses and could recognize the gem that he is, but it’s a situation that could have gone so much worse than it did.
So, we don’t know much about his back story – the horse trader bought him from “some Mexicans”….or something? I’m not sure. I will say that whoever raised him did a great job – he has excellent ground manners, and if he was ever used as a stud, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of it. He has an old eye injury to his right eye – it’s cloudy, but he definitely still has vision in it.
He’s said to be a Tennesee Walker, and he does gait nicely under saddle (although you have to really urge him to keep him in his gait), but he doesn’t do it at liberty.
To be honest, I don’t know – he may be Tennessee Walker, but I really wouldn’t be surprised to find something else in his genetic haystack – he has some pretty fancy movement, especially at the canter – the Tennessee Walkers I’ve met didn’t have very elevated movement in front, but then again, I’m not very knowledgeable about the breed.
When I went down to California last February I was able to spend quite a bit of time riding him. Because of the Santa holiday season and some moving chores, and everything, it had been about four months since my stepdad had even had a chance to put a saddle on him.
I was impressed by how calm he was, for having spent so much time in his stall. He had a lot of energy, but he was too well-mannered to really do anything about it. It felt like sitting on a very well-behaved firecracker – he never took a single misstep, or even jigged, but you could tell he would happily ignite, if you asked him to. I was very impressed with his brain, and friendly attitude. By the end of my time there, with getting out of his stall regularly and being ridden often his energy level was much, much lower. If I had been given a choice, I might have chosen a different horse for my parents (something in its teens), but the gelding had what was most important: a calm, friendly, forgiving nature. Even though he was younger than I preferred for them, he wasn’t actually a bad match, provided they turned him out (they moved to a place with pasture soon after, which solved everything.)
His gait was wonderful to sit, his trot was horrible (the western saddle I was in was too small for me so I couldn’t post, and all that beautiful movement was hard to sit), and his canter was like something out of a dream – the elevated movement and restrained power made it feel like I was riding an Andalusian, or some kind of heavily dressage-trained horse.
Overall, he was just a really nice (and tall!) horse, and I was happy for my parents.
…… and then, about three weeks ago, my mom was kicked by a cow.
I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but it was one of those freak accidents that just go wrong. She ended up with a compound fracture (where the bone is sticking out of the skin) and the medical care she received in Bakersfield was like something out of a horror film (bone was out and exposed for about 14 hours, splinted with cardboard and towels, forgetting to give her any pain medicine following her surgery, etc.) The surgery itself to fix her was botched so badly that there’s a specialty team at UCI who may have to redo the entire surgery. They had to move back down to Orange County to see what happens next.
In other words, they are out of horses for the forseeable future.
And that’s where I come in.
They need to find a home for their gelding…. I’m looking at getting a horse…..
He’ll be arriving on the 17th. I found a little self-care barn near my house – it has turn out during the day, and small little box stalls. It’s a tiny little thing, with no trails, and the only arena it has was kinda cramped-feeling compared to some of the huge ones in other barns I saw…..
But it is, hands down, the most kid-friendly barn I’ve ever been at in my entire life…. which means that I can drag The Squid and The DragonMonkey with me there during the day, instead of trying to sneak away to see the horse like I’m conducting an illicit affair.
So, I’m getting a horse.
I know I should be more excited, and jumping for joy, and using huge capital letters in bright bold, and red, and flashing colors and everything, but I feel almost subdued about the entire thing. I’m worried about getting too excited about it, because it doesn’t seem like it’s actually going to happen – like there’s so much that could go wrong. I don’t think I’ll actually let myself believe it’s happening until I get the call from the horse transport company that he is loaded, and on his way.
Because, honestly…. once he’s here, that’s it. I’ve achieved all of my life goals. Oh, sure, I still have other life goals – I want to be a published author, and run a half marathon, and compete in endurance, and learn a third language, and travel overseas, etc, etc…..
But it’s just… if you read this blog, from my first entry in 2006, until this past year, it has had two prevailing themes:
- I want to move out of California (check mark on that one)
- I want to own a horse again (check mark on that one on July 17th.)
I’ve got nothing left to complain about.
I don’t know what I did to deserve all this, so I guess I’ll just grateful.
PS: I know I keep calling him “the horse”, as if my parents didn’t name him (they called him Roman), but I’m planning on changing his name (sorry, guys!). The truth is that I’m leaning towards Hodor.
I LOOOOOOOVE the idea of going out to the pasture, leaning on the fence, and calling out “Hodoooor…”. (It’s from Game of Thrones, for those of you who don’t get it.)
I’m pretty sure I’d still be snickering about it, years down the road. Also, he’s a big, grey giant, kind of like Hodor.
On the other hand it’s also kind of a silly name, so I need to see him in person before I settle on anything, because it might not fit him.
If any of you have any cool name ideas, feel free to pass them along. I admit I’m heavily biased towards cool names that start with the letter “B”, because I think it would sound cool if I ever win any endurance awards.
“And the award for most awesome goes to Becky Bean on Bucephalus…”
Anyways, there you have it.
I’m getting a horse – and it’s not some nebulous, really far-off date, either. It’s in a week.