Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Annnnnd she's naked!

Suzie is back to being naked again! The weather has warmed up considerably and it's even drizzled rain a bit today, so I pulled off Suz's blanket and put it away in the tack room. It should be warming up more and more as the days go on, so hopefully Suzie won't need her blankie again for a while. 

She's naaaaaaaaked! And on a sidenote, I am quite pleased with her weight here.

While I was looking her over and doing my inspection, I noticed that she had a lot of dried poop stuck on her girlie parts, so I ran back to the truck and cleaned her up. Not sure if she's having diarrhea - I doubt it because I haven't noticed anything. But in any case, I'll be keeping an eye on it. Her blanket did go over the head of her tail, so maybe while pooping she had a hard time lifting the flap up? I'm kind of leaning towards that is what happened.

So I went back out about 3 hours later to take her out for a short walk. Initially, I was going to refrain from taking her out for walks since her feetsies seemed quite ouchy, but today I thought if we stuck to the road and away from the rocks she'd be fine. She did perfect and was fine walking along the road, but then on the way home, she acted gimpy up on her front right. 

She is broker than broke. I love that she puts up with my shenanigans.

I swear, this mare is going to make me pull my hair out! I'm nearly certain she had too much foot taken off from her previous trim in October and now with the cold and wet weather we've been having her feet are just mushy and soft. Sigh. You can't really win. I am tempted to put shoes with pads on her, but once the snow comes she will be completely screwed with those on. Our snow is really compact and will just pack itself in her feet until she has high heels on... So, those shoes aren't really an option either.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Well, it's been below 0 for the last week and I thought Suzie could tough it out, but the wind has just gotten to be too much for her and she shivered like a little ninny. So, I broke out the blankets. At first, I intended on only putting a wind-breaker type blankie on her and see how she did. So, I threw it on her and came back a few hours later to check on her.

She was cold.

So, I brought out her brand-new fluffy blankie and threw it on her. She instantly seemed much happier.

Until it warms up a bit more, I'll keep her blanket on her and keep checking on her. I've also been keeping up with her arthritis meds and she seems so much happier with that. It's been tempting to snow today, so once it does, I think it'll warm up and Suzie's old joints will feel better too.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Suzie's grand-sire, a world champion.

Suzie's pedigree is primarily made up of Halter horses, and some Reining horses. I can see how Suz looks a lot like her Halter-descendants, as she has that bulky muscle no matter how fit or unfit she is.

Impressive, the starting stallion on HYPP diesease and also
in the sire's portion of the pedigree.

Tardy Too, all-time leading sire of many world champions. He
is featured on of Suzie's dams side.

Just compare her to the above studs!

I certainly have a lot of her facing to the left!

The Wind is Relentless!

Poor mare.

It sure is bone-chilling COLD outside and with the added wind rolling off the mountains, Suzie's old bones sure are feeling it. I've been continuing with the arthritic supplement and pain reliever as well as doing some massaging and stretching when I see her.

A few days ago, I figured "Hey, exercise would be good for her!" and took her for a quiet hand-walk. I went to go pull out her halter and leadrope from the tack shed, and it was FROZEN. Her lead rope was all twisted and grotesque looking and wouldn't unfurl so I had to hand-walk her with this awfully cold and STIFF lead rope. Suzie kind of just looked at me like, "Really?" when I proceeded to put her halter on her and continue as if everything were normal.

Initially, she seemed very ouchy on her feetsies and turns out, she just has crappy feet. Since her shoes were pulled off for the winter, her crappy hooves are mega crappy. We [farrier and I] are working to get her feet in the shape we want them to be, but it'll take some time. Still, I felt bad that she was hobbling on the rocky, frozen parts of the trail and seeking refuge on the soft mushy grass spots. Whatever the case, I think she was actually happy to get out. Sitting in a paddock can get you going stir crazy after a while, I imagine.

And I'm bad. No photos for any of you - it was too damn cold to take any and the ones I did get turned out crappy!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Quick Little Coosa Pt. 004

So, I've rolled up my sleeves to instill another portion of Suzie's journey into my life.

We hauled her over 10 hours, over 900km, and arrived at dusk. She hauled quietly, comfortably and at the half-way point, I brought her out to hand-walk her, as being an older horse we weren't certain how stocked up she'd get. She didn't get one ounce of fluid in her legs and was a perfect lady the entire way. During the unloading, she snorted and looked around with massive eyes, but did not put a foot wrong. At all. She settled in with ease, and didn't even bother to look at her two new pasture-mates.

The next few days were filled with getting to know one another and truth be told, our "first ride" together left little to be desired.

Our first ride together in over 2 years; both of us were out of
shape and a bit uncomfortable!

We worked on getting to know each-other and accepting one another. I learned a lot in the first few months with Suzie. She needed some senior treatment - some TLC and groceries - and soon her spark started to show. Funny enough, after only about a week of owning her, I hopped up sans tack and rode her around. She couldn't have been more polite.

Riding sans tack only a week after owning Suzie.

 It seemed like with Suzie, we were two steps forwards and then five steps back. She had some ongoing lameness issues throughout July and onwards, and through that time I had massage therapists and chiropractors assisting in her recovery. The general consensus was the same: she is an older mare who was used as a gymkhana/drill-teamer for the majority of her years and her age was catching up with her. She had arthritis and coming out of Winter (no work) she was weak in her muscles and body. We did a lot of rehab work and I put a lot of effort into making her well again. I started her on arthritis medication during this time too. I basically did everything short of having a vet assess her (vets are over 3 hours away and practically impossible to track down) and she blossomed.

We battled a few months of re-occurring lameness, temperamental issues (and in one instance she actually reared on me!) and in it, we seemed to figure each other out. At the end of June, I had the bottom comparison photos to be quite pleased with!

Right: Suzie in March                                                                         Left: Suzie in late June/early July
And boy, did we grow. We started working as a team and figuring out the trail-riding nightmares we were having and the schooling thing. We worked together and we achieved so much in the few short months I have owned her. She flourished, settling in with her pasture mates and fitting right in with the herd. No one had any complaints about her and everyone that met her fell completely in love with her!

Romping in the secondary pasture with her friends in September.

And after eight months (so far!) together, we are as connected as anyone could be. We have work to do, and we still have so much to learn from eachother. But, I am so thankful to have this mare in my life and I am so happy to have met her. She may be a source of some worry, some fear and some anxiety, but she completes me and makes me happier than I've been. She is steady with just enough sass that makes her still interesting and new each and every ride I put on her.

Late October. So peaceful and happy together <3

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tender Feetsies :(

The sun was shining this afternoon and my, my take a look at that GREEN grass! I can't even recall a winter where we have had green grass in late November! It's so surreal, and a tad depressing to be honest... I think that the horses are enjoying it, though, but the MUD!!! Quelle horreur!

I was too lazy to tack up, considering my saddle is at the other boarding facility since Suzie will be returning there late March and I assumed it would've already snowed and I wouldn't be riding! How wrong was I.... Anywho, I threw a sweat sheet onto Suzie to keep my pants somewhat clean and we rode down the street just like the other day and I rode her lightly at the walk, jog, and about a few steps of the lope. She seemed so ouchy on her feet though so I mostly just puttered around.

I think it has to do with the fact that her feet are just SO tender :( I hand-walked her home as I felt bad for taking her out in the first place. I let her snack on some grass as a treat, massaged her out a bit when we got back and did some stretching again.

She was pretty good and actually spooked on me today! I have never had this mare spook on me before! Maybe the cooler weather in the last few days is getting to her head... Either way, she recovered just fine and was perfect as an angel when we were in the field. As you can probably see, the field backs up onto people's homes. On the right hand side of the photo (behind me) there are apartment complexes and beyond the field is a children's playground and ironically enough, my street backs up onto that field!

It's kind of weird, because where Suzie is boarded, it's kind of like a subdivision with large acreage lots so the "non-country" folk are literally a five minute walk down the street. The primary place where Suz is boarded (where she was all summer/fall) is about a 20min walk away from "non country" folk and it's quite a large acreage property. Kind of weird, but that's the way we have it set up around here!

She likes to "knock" on my boots to tell me to hurry up because
she wants to go home. LOL.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Lunging!

The last few days have been a mixture between rain and clouds, but today it was spectacularly sunny and after I walked the dogs, I set out to go see my mare.On Saturday, Suz had her shoes pulled off by the farrier which went well. She had some issues really stretching up her hind-legs (probably due to the arthritis in her hocks and since I haven't been doing her stretches that the massage therapist showed me [bad mom!]). The farrier found some stress knots in her neck, so we massaged some of those. So today, I wanted to go out and let Suz stretch her legs, do some massaging and stretching.

We hand-walked the 10 min to the giant field just down the street from where Suzie is boarded - I knew she would be "fresh" not only because she hadn't been exercised in a while, but also because she was blowing and snorting the entire walk. I had to laugh at how ridiculous it was, to be honest. I set up and  lunged her out.

She speed-trotted at mach10 for a few seconds and afterwards, was as good as gold. The field is almost directly parallel to a street, so I had a large amount of motorists slowing down to watch, and one elderly lady walking her dog stopped and watched for several minutes. I didn't mind, but when Suzie was misbehaving I wanted to smack her, but obviously couldn't with people watching!

Anyways, we did a bit of jogging and loping and called it quits. My intention wasn't to completely school her or make her sweat; my intention was to allow her to move her legs and keep active. Due to it being winter time and the temperatures dropping, I've put her back on her arthritis medication since she seemed a bit more stiff today. When I was massaging her after the walk home, her hind fetlocks felt "sticky" so I spent some extra time massaging and stretching. She looked a bit happier after the massage and stretching, which was nice to see.

She's my old little red-headed mare and I love her. <3 Tomorrow I may not have time to do any hand-walking, but if I do, we will possibly be going for a short jaunt to get her out and about. The best thing for an arthritic horse is movement!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Snow One Day.... Green Grass The Next!

It almost seems as though Mother Nature has no idea as to what she's doing. One day it's snowing, the next it's raining and now.... warm. I'm not necessarily complaining, but I feel for the ponies who are struggling to keep up with not only the temperature changes, but the icky mud that has already started!

I embraced the snow for the first few days - didn't bother even tacking up Suzie, just threw a blanket on and her english bridle. She was mildly behaved. Sucking back majorly and was overall just wanting to turn around and head home. She attempted to pig-root twice and with it being slippery and the sides of the trail being somewhat spongy I didn't really want to argue with her and have her slip and fall. So, I managed with what I could and kicked her little booty into shape. It's funny because she wants to go back to her first barn, not the one she's at right now for the Winter so she keeps trying to go back there since the First Barn isn't that far away. On the walk home though, she settled down and we quietly jogged for a bit and she took up the long rein and puttered home.

And then it became a battle with Mother Nature. Poor Suz still has her shoes on and the snow has been clumping like crazy in her hooves! I WD-40'd them several times and picked them out but it didn't seem to make a majority of a difference. However, I finally got a hold of the farrier and she is coming out tomorrow to pull them off, so Suzie will be all set for Winter (finally!). Ironically, we no longer have any snow on the ground though...

This is what it looks like! Everything is green and alive and... it's so odd! Usually, by my birthday we have several FEET of snow. Mare-pants has a good coverage of hair on her so I don't think I'll need to blanket her, but I have two blankies sitting here at home just in case the wetness gets a bit too much for her.

We just hand-walked today to get her out and about and since she is typically "fresh" when she hasn't been out in a while, I didn't want us to slip and slide out on the trails considering she isn't the smartest with her footing until we turn to go home! What a weird duck, hey? Ah well, we enjoyed our time together yesterday and I jogged beside her a bit to get her creaky bones moving a bit more.

Right now it's pouring rain and windy, so I don't think any exercise will be on the agenda and maybe I will just hide inside and crochet! LOL

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A City Trail Ride

So yesterday it was sunny - much to my surprise(!), the snow must've melted overnight or something. I grabbed my English saddle and Western bridle and headed out, intent on going for a trail ride. There is a park down the street and across the road from where Suz is boarded so I figured I'd head there and do some jogging and loping. Interestingly enough, the big meadow/park is also behind the street I live on!

We tacked up and she was a bit fidgety and jittery, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I hopped up and we headed out and she was all game - ears pricked forward and flopping around listening to my legs. She was kind of sucking back on my legs like she didn't want to move forward but would listen to my request when I asked her to move out, more forward. She was a bit sticky, but still listened.

We went to the meadow/park and did some jogging exercises but she felt a bit ouchy every so often, so I decided to keep it at the walk. And then I had a bright idea to trail ride her through town to go say hello to a friend, so I did.

Where I live there isn't much traffic, so I wasn't concerned with being too overwhelmed. She did quite well and I was happy. There was only one instance I was concerned, as we were walking along the grass (in the picture above on the left hand side) and there was new grass that had been laid down and I guess it was super mushy and Suzie sunk up to her knees in it! I made her power through it instead of turning around, as she felt quite unstable. But, we made it through okay and continued on like nothing happened. On the way home, we walked on the road (pictured above).

It was a lot of fun and she was so well behaved. Today however, I think I will be starting her on her arthritis meds again and next week her shoes will hopefully be pulled and her hooves will be trimmed for the winter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

All is Well, All is Quiet...

Things have been pretty quiet for the most part. I've been more or less a bad horse mom and haven't visited my dearest Suzie for two days and I feel completely awful! So, tomorrow I will be going to see her and spend some well deserved time with her - and that I look forward to immensely! I have been itching to head out for a trail ride and I think (weather permitting) we may just head out for that ride after all tomorrow.

Suz is all settled in at her "Winter Digs" and couldn't be happier. I think she is annoyed with the 3 year olds she is penned with, but is respectful to them and isn't a bully, which is good. I know she misses her old friends, but come Spring she will be reunited with them once again.

BF says tonight the snow is flying, so tomorrow may only be a hand-walk through the slippery snow or a careful jaunt down the back roads. Whatever the case, it'll be nice to see my little red-head!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Western Mare Gone English

So on Sunday afternoon I decided to haul out to the next town over and ride in their indoor, as they were having a "Jump Day" event. Basically, a bunch of gals got together and extended the invitation to anyone else wishing to ride, for a $5 drop in fee. I had been itching to go to the Fairgrounds since I got Suzie but with the amount I worked, the frequency of my riding and the anxiety I had not only about hauling, but "competing" I chickened out a lot.

So finally, I had the ability to haul. I had no excuses.

It was a pretty nice day; it started out quite cold and the grass had a thick layer of frost which took till almost noon for it to thaw! The BF and I hitched up the trailer at quarter to one (we were already behind as we were putting the roof on his shed) and seeing as the Fairgrounds are about 50min away, I was already freaking out. The event was scheduled for 2:00pm and with the amount of time we already had left, plus travel time.... it wasn't looking good.

I ALWAYS like time to get there, look around, stretch our legs and assess the horse before I put a foot in the stirrup - especially in a new place! On the way out there, BF and I reminisced about a horse show I had him haul me to... we were nearly two hours early and no one was even at the show grounds - not even the show committee. I have always been obsessed with being overly-early and perhaps it's just a way to cope with my anxiety, or it's just how I get "ready". Whatever the case, I wouldn't be able to prepare much for this particular event.

After some slight truck troubles, Suz hopped into the trailer willingly and we were well on our way. We puttered into the Fairgrounds at 1:58PM. Two minutes until the event started. I wasn't necessarily concerned with being scolded for being late - it was a fun event and there weren't any "rules" persay. However, I was concerned with how Suzie would react in a new environment. The arena was covered - would the flapping noises bother her? And when we arrived, all the horses were inside - would being alone while tacking up make her antsy?

I should really know my little mare better than that.... She loaded off the trailer calmly and quietly. She looked around for half a millisecond and then immediately looked at me like, "Okay, this is where we are. Cool." I giggled as I tied her to the trailer; she looked positively BORED out of her SKULL!

I quickly tacked up and literally hauled her off into the arena. Suz looked at the several other horses with minimal interest; even as a few geldings cooed at her and nickered away. So I hopped up and the rest was history.

She warmed up just fine; but her brakes really weren't there. I had to use much more rein pressure than what I normally would have to at home, but she was still quite well behaved.

When we did our jumping course, her face lit up and she exploded down the line, and that was when I realized she thought the little 18" cross rails were scurries. With the help of a friend who was there, we did a lot of circling before and after jumps, getting her relaxed and in a nice quiet lope to and from them. But, let me just say... my mare is NOT a jumper. LOL. She put in SO much effort over the tinest of jumps, stretching her neck out like they were oxer spreads. We had quite a few "oops" jumps, but we had fun and that is what counted the most.

No, she is not an English horse and she'd never pin in a 2' Hunter class, but she was quiet, safe and had just enough fire in her that I had to keep riding.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Surprising Yourself

It seems like horses were put in their Earth to prove us wrong, to make us believe and finally, to light our hearts.

I had previously mentioned about mine and Suzie's trail riding woes and how I, admittedly, was becoming slightly fearful whilst trail riding. In the mornings prior to riding, I'd find myself nervous with anticipation and already assuming the worst. The ironic thing is, Suzie has never been downright dangerous on the trails in a long, long time. We've made progress in leaps and bounds and I couldn't be happier, and today was no exception.

I truly believe that each and every time you ride a horse, you are either training it or untraining it. It is the riders responsibility to not only ensure there is progress, but to know how to achieve that progress. And believe it or not, trail riding is just as important as schooling in the ring.

Today I was fluctuating back and forth between riding Suzie or hand walking her. Initially, I had intended to take her to an open field to lunge and ride, but it has been raining on and off all day and I didn't feel like having her slip and fall on the wet grass. So, I parked the truck at my BF's mothers house (two houses away) and walked to where Suzie is and ho and hummed. The BF had taken my car to work, which has my helmet and most of my riding gear in it...

But, I wanted to ride.

So, I threw Suzanne's halter and lead rope on and we trail rode in the rain and you know what? She was fabulous.

I love this little mare more than anything in the world.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quick Little Coosa Pt 03.

Suzie at the Ranch a few days before we loaded her up and
drove her over 10 hours to her new home.

The boyfriend, myself and two other friends loaded up and headed south for a interview at a University for myself, with a horse trailer in tow. We opted to spend a few days so the guys could go downhill biking and myself and my friend could go shopping, etc. We actually made it more of a mini-vacation than anything. I was no stranger to the University or the interview process, as I had attempted to get in for nearly two years already and this would be my last and final attempt. The course itself was incredibly competitive and there were always hundreds of applicants. 

 I was feeling somewhat rebellious anyhow, and when Suzie popped up and the ability to buy her came about, I jumped at the chance. I needed some positivity in my life, I think, and Suzie would be icing on the cake. And besides, if I did get accepted, I could easily trailer Suzie back to the Ranch to live while I went to school, so win/win, right?

We dropped the trailer off at the Ranch on our way to the University/vacation and it'd be five days until I signed the paperwork and loaded MY NEW HORSE(!!) into the trailer.

I'm most definetly NOT an early morning person!

She loaded up just fine and we headed off super early! We all took turns driving/sleeping and checking on Suzie during the drive. And it took a long while for me to really realize that this horse would be MINE. I never really had the ability to make choices for a horse before, considering I leased for several years. I bought bags of senior feed, grain, and other nutrional ammenities. I dropped nearly $400 in a tack store getting Western get-up and other things. It's funny because:

#1. I was trained classically English. I rode Western
from time to time, but never really "RODE" Western... and
here I was, buying a Western horse.

#2. I owned everything English... Again. Western horse.

#3. I LOVED Geldings... so why was I going
for a mare?!
I can't say for sure what made me fall in love with Suzie, but I think that it was just meant to be.... Just like my dog. We were supposed to adopt a purebred, non-shedding, female, small dog and ended up with (and not complaining!) a German Shepherd/Collie X, male, large dog that sheds! LOL. Sometimes life is just funny like that.


What is not to love with this handsome, gorgeous boy?!      

 And so, the little red mare travelled 10 hours across the Province to join me. To let me love her. To bring me back to life.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Realizing Old Age Doesn't Equal Fragile

At the beginning of owning Suzie, I always felt like I had to tip-toe around her, like she was this breakable and possibly crippled being. 

In hindsight, what I had done was created a mare with her own ideals and behavioral arguments at my every request. No, she wasn't a monster, she was just merely taking advantage of every and all "escape" I gave her. Admittedly, I had babied her and turned her into a spoiled red mare.

And really, though, who could say no to that face?
It took me a long while (and an insistent friend) to realize the error of my ways. No, my mare wasn't dangerous or physcotic, but she would do things just for the heck of making it difficult for me. So when I started treating her like a horse, she became responsive to my requests.

With Suzie being a twenty year old, I often struggled with schooling her adequately or even making her really WORK for me. But when she started flipping me the bird, I found myself getting a bit more up in her face, demanding a bit more of her instead of letting HER call the shots. We found a happy medium, and she is now not only a resilient little girl, but a happy worker.

She is my heart, soul and my captivation.

It's funny how horses teach us so many things, and reminding us that we don't have it altogether and that sometimes we mess up. I am both happy and thankful for my little opinionated mare in bringing me "back to Earth" and keeping up my horsemanship. I have always been a softie for animals, but there is a great divide between being kind to your hard-working horse and spoiling a naughty horse. I have learned the difference with great success.

Picking Your Battles

I have found with my mare that not everything has been perfect; most specifically, trail riding.

We have had our ups and downs with her behavioural issues on the trail with me; which is hilarious providing the fact that she was number one trail horse from where I got her. Suzie knew I was a bit of a pushover and used that to her advantage and thus, we had trail problems.

She'd stop and refuse to go. Back up as fast as she could and no amount of face pulling, kicking or smacking I could do would make her move forward in the least. Suzie would pigroot and spin around towards home, try jogging off towards home and even reared on me. She became more resilient and bold with me, even pulling the same stunts in the arena until I had decided I had had enough.

We worked on the problem and I found myself getting frustrated because we weren't getting better. And I wish I had seen that /I/ was the core of our problems before it got to the point where I was starting to get a bit fearful over trail riding.

The simplest thing caused a turmoil of misbehavior - I expected perfection each and every time.

How was Suzie supposed to enjoy trail riding with me nit-picking each and every thing she was doing? "No, stop here. Stop HERE. Stand.... stand... Walk five paces... Stop. Stop. Back up. Walk for six paces, back up. Walk. Trot a few steps. Stop. Back up." How was THAT fun for her?


I let go.

I stopped nit picking. And yes, it did take more than just letting go. I started lunging her in the lower field, away from her stablemates. I lunged her prior to trail riding to drain excess energy if needed. I worked up to walk, jogging and loping in the lower field out of eyesight of the other horses. I trailered her to a local arena and had her work by herself there. I took several "mini" trail rides up and down the driveway, etc. I worked hard to get the results I wanted to, but in the end, letting go assisted tenfold.

Sometimes instead of expecting a horse to be perfect right away, you work on small things and then build on them. Rome wasn't built in a day and our trail riding woes won't be gone overnight.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Quick Little Coosa Pt 02.

Being a back-up barrel horse kept Suzie busy, and to be honest, I think she really enjoyed it. She trailered like a dream, always warmed up like a seasoned pro and took to each gymkhana game like it was a piece of cake. She wasn't the flashiest or the fastest, but, as they say, she "got shit done". She was a lot of fun to watch, and would be fired up for the games and then come out of the arena as cool as a cucumber.

Emmy always joked that she was going to "force" Suzie on me, and I always joked back that it wouldn't take much forcing for me to take her. During my stay at the Ranch, I lost a huge part of who I am when my lease horse back home passed away in November. I felt so lost, so confused and like a piece of me died inside. I grieved for a very long time afterwards, unwilling to reach out to any horse activities or be a part of anything remotely equestrian related. When I came home, I was depressed, resistive and angry.

It took a while before I branched out and found another lease horse. I ended up with a naughty Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse gelding and most rides ended in being thankful I didn't end up eating dirt. Geronimo was a beauty, and he was a lot of fun for me to learn on and grow with. Him and I went "far" and I learnt a lot with him; he was touchy, hot and a bit unpredictable but I grew to embrace his antics and his crazy shenanigans.

Geronimo "Before"

I rode him for two years and during that time, we battled lameness issues and a very upsetting and scary choke that caused him to be out of work for nearly 6 months. We became an unstoppable pair and I don't think he was ever trailered so much in his life! But, in February of 2013 I took a pretty nasty fall which landed me in the ER and unable to walk for two days and the doctors yet again cornered me and told me that I had better smartened up with the horses I chose to ride. You see, I have several complications in my personal health and adding a hot, unpredictable horse to the mix just isn't the answer. Despite that, I continued to ride him and enjoy him.

During that time, however, I was approached by Emmy, yet again "threatening" to drop Suzie off on my doorstep after I had commented on several photos of her. This time, Emmy was serious, and so was I.

I had been aching for a horse of my own for a while, and Geronimo's owner was not too keen to part with him despite mine and his relationship and transformation. I accepted that and as Emmy began to divulge more information, I found myself getting more and more excited at the possibility.

I began to hunt high and low for a boarding facility - they are minimal at best here - and ensuring I had adequate funds to keep her. It all checked out, and I set the date. Ironically enough, I was heading down past where Suzie was to go for an interview to a potential school for Vet Tech. Not really practical to bring a horse back with me, but gosh, did it ever work out in the end!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Quick Little Coosa Pt. 1

I met Suzie back in 2010 when I volunteered to be a stable hand at an Equine Rescue run and managed by a friend I had met a few years prior. Emmy-Lou, who is the founder of the Rescue and the owner of over a head of 30 young and old horses is the reason I have my mare with me now.

Living over 900km away; about 10.5 hours, it was a long trek to "volunteer", but I was young, brave and seeking a little excitement in my life. I was welcomed with open arms to the Rescue and rode several young and old horses, all rescues of some misfortune or misjudgement of their past lives. Suzie, I learned, was no exception.

At the time, Emmy was Suzie's primary rider, but I soon graced the saddle and fell immediately head over heels in love with her responsiveness, softness and the lick of fire in her eyes. Being a primarily English rider for all of my eight year Equestrian career, I found Suzie to be a humorous mare who put up with my "English" mistakes and carried through with the greatest of ease. She was a barrel horse replacement for Emmy, since her usual competition mare was injured. We traveled to many Gymkhanas and I watched Suzie attack each and every "game" with an open mind and a spark in her eye.

I still remember one of the times I was schooling the lope in the arena, Emmy called out to me, "Alright, that'll be good for her." I went to go sit deep, and take up the slack in my reins and before I could breathe, Suzie planted her little booty and abruptly stopped. I nearly flew over her head. 

It didn't take long for Emmy to realize I was completely in love with the little red mare, that I looked forward to every ride on her. As my relationship with Suzie unfolded a bit more - I primarily rode an OTTB and Off the track Standardbred during my stay and didn't have much time for Suzie since she was Emmy's competition horse for the year - I was given the information of Suzie's tricky, and kind of slippery past.

It started out in Saskatchewan, where she was born and raised. She was then sold to a woman in British Columbia (near Emmy) and the woman used her for drill teaming and gymkhanas. As the story goes, Suzie became increasingly arena sour and resistant to performing the drills. Subsequently, Suzie was 'gifted' to the Rescue and the woman purchased a much quieter horse. I never really divulged into much of Suz's past, such as how long this woman owned her or how long she was drill teamed. I don't want to guess into things or make predicaments, but in a way, I'm glad Suzie ended up where she did.

Emmy had her hands full with Suzie, and the remedy to her sourness was simple; trail riding and a lot of wet saddle blankets. With time, Emmy transformed this previous arena-nightmare into a lead trail horse and a gymkhana "back up" horse.