April 14, 2008 at 10:07 am 8 comments

So I get asked all of the time why I don’t own a brazillion OTTB’s, having access to so many cute faces on the regular, and the answer is two-fold.

First, I own 7 horses.  There, I said it.  I admitted it out loud, I own SEVEN HORSES.  *THUNK* (allie faints)

Second, the reason I don’t own 15 horses is that I try to keep a little bit of a distance from them.  I go and love on them, groom, feed carrots, you name it, but I keep my heart at bay.  It’s something i’ve nearly mastered after 7 years of doing this.  Note I said “nearly mastered”.  Yesterday I found myself saying “you CANNOT HAVE ANOTHER HORSE ALLIE! NO!, BAD DOG!” after having what had to be one of the most fun times I’ve ever had on a horse.

Kelly and I decided to take the horses to a local Hunter Pace put on by HCIBH, at the beautiful Pleasant Prospect Farm.  We loaded up Klondike and my horse Phinny, and headed off on a chilly morning.  The ponies loaded great and we pulled into the farm with approximately 80 other trailers.  There were a LOT of horses.  We got registered and headed back to get dressed.  We pulled ponies off the trailer and tied them up while we changed.  Phinny, ever ADD-riddled, paced in place.  Klondike stood just taking in the sights without moving a muscle.  SUCH a good boy.

My initial plan was to tack him up and just wander around the trailers in-hand to let him take everything in, as I was expecting him to be at least a little looky.  Well, he proved me wrong.  Stood like a gentleman to be tacked up, stood for me to get on, walked calmly past the kids galloping about and down into the crowd of cars/people/horses, so we went ahead on to the start line.  Here’s a video of Klondike being an ANGEL.

We started out trotting a little bit away from the crowd, and up the driveway past all the barns and trailers, and picked up a nice little canter along the treeline.  I’d never cantered klondike before except for a few little strides (and had only ridden him once before ever) and was shocked at how fantastic the stride felt.  Very rhythmic and steady–he never increased pace, eased into my contact and comfortably cantered until I sat and half-halted.  Back he came to a lovely trot and down to a walk, where we turned down our path into a trappy, muddy looking creek.  He marched through the muddy creek (it was boot-sucking mud, and scary looking!) as if he’d done it 100 times before.  I looked back to see Kelly and Phinny pop over it, as most horses tend to do in these scenerios (deep ravine, small creek, muddy landing).

We toodled up the path and cantered a bit more, and this time Klondike picked up this fantastic canter where we just felt like we were loping down a hunter line.  I sat in the tack and giggled, giving a little squeeze every now and again to remind him that I’d like to keep going.  On top of the hill Kelly and I were chatting about something insignificant when I realized we’re literally walking past the equivalent of a junkyard, and Klondike hasn’t even bothered to blink.  Ok, this horse is unreal, EVERY horse should be looking at this stuff!

THEN! Klondike, Phinny, Kelly and I conquered MT. DISASTROUS!  This was one of the steepest, trappiest, muddiest/rooty/scary hills i’ve been down in a long time.  It was well chewed up and had I been on a less steady mount, I’d have found another way down, it was SKEEERY!  Once Klondike realized that I wasn’t helping him out on making it down, he figure out how to kind of sit back on his butt and inch down slowly.  When we got to the bottom (it was a long hill!) I pat his neck and told him what a good man he was.  He arched up into my hand as if to say “I am so AWESOME, you betta recognize!11!!!”

Klondike eye-view

Once we were well warmed up and clocking along, we decided to take a little jump.  Other than the day prior, I don’t think Klondike has jumped solid obstacles in the open before.  Well, lets just say you would never be able to tell.  He bravely approached a log, lightly popped over and patted the ground on the other side.  He was round, he was rhythmic, he was fantastic.  I squealed in glee.

I got a bit braver and decided to jump a tire jump that we came upon.  I at least expected a little squirreling around, or at least a teeny wriggle in front of the jump.  But not only did he not wriggle, he never changed pace and only required me to sit balanced in the tack.  Bloop! over we went, effortless and adorable.

Klondike thought the river was fun too, and led the way through each time, and proudly marched anywhere we pointed.

This continued for the length of the ride, with Klondike leading over logs on the trail, and even going through a three stride little log combination with all the grace of a seasoned A/O horse.  Oh holy cats, i’m loving this horse more and more.  I actually felt him go “hrmm, this monkey on my back isn’t going to tell me what to do here, I better figure it out myself” and adjust his pace to jump perfectly, land lightly, and perfect three strides to the out.  SO MUCH FUN!

He was so good, I thought it would be a fine display of bad horsemanship to loop my reins and videotape the experience.

The only excitement of the entire day came when we were in a rather open field, and several groups of horses came busting out of the woods and galloping in all directions.  That got us a few sideways canter steps, but once we were headed forward again we had completely fine Klondike who really was not bothered at all by the horses crossing his path.  While all of this was going on, I decided to jump a post-and-rail in our way to keep his brain engaged (this is KEY with OTTB’s, if there is something scary going on, give them something else to concentrate on) and kept on with my canter.  The groups of hooligans disappeared from sight and we both loped along a beautiful meadow past a field of cattle.  Without blinking, Klondike eased into my hand and we picked up the pace just the tiniest bit.  I checked the brakes and saw that they were working just fine still and turned around to check on Kelly.  When I looked back I saw the hooligans show up again, and they were now directly behind us and closing fast.  Etiquette states that you let the group ahead of you know you’d like to pass, and wait for them to move off the trail so the faster group can continue on. As demonstrated here by two lovely girls poking along a little faster than we were, you can see we’ve pulled off to the side to let them pass:

Well, some folks never got the memo about etiquette in horse riding, and those people need to be beaten about the head with a bag of oranges.  So class, if you saw two people cantering along just as happy as can be, and you were in a group of 4, behind another group of 3, what would be the appropriate response if you were dead-on galloping?  I can tell you what the appropriate response is not, and that is to not warn the slower group you were approaching, not pick one side to pass on, and instead split your field between two horses.  Can you tell this irks me a bit?  This is how you can get someone killed folks, it’s not fun, it’s not funny, and it’s not safe.  We were in a giant field, there was plenty of room to pass, and when I’m sitting on a very green horse turning around and screaming to please not blast past us, much less split the field around me (that means horses went around both sides of me at warp speed), that means you!

Luckily I’ve had experience with jerks before, and knew that the appropriate response was to go a bit faster on Klondike, so it kind of fools them into thinking they arent getting left behind.  Well, I was very cautious because the typical response of a horse in this situation is to lose their proverbial marbles.  Klondikes response was more “GAME ON!” and he took a feel and galloped on a bit.  I let him gallop (no sense in fighting since it was good footing and it would tire him a bit) for about 20 seconds then asked him to come back a bit to a nice canter clip, and aimed him for the last post-and-rail jump on the course.  He took that in stride and came back to a lovely trot and walk when i asked.


Back at the trailer we tied up again and got undressed.  Klondike looked tired, but happy.  I’m in Love.  I want him.  I’m going to end up the crazy horse lady, with lots of lovely ponies and no family or friends.  Someone better buy this horse before I do, spread the word!

I call this, Big horse, Giant Halter.

Klondike the adorable

(On a gross money related note, Klondike is proving his worth daily, and his constant price increase is showing that! He’s still a bargain at $3000!)


Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Public Appearance #1 How You Fall in Love

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. carrotplease  |  April 14, 2008 at 10:51 am

    $3000 has to be a mistake, surely you mean $3,000,000?

  • 2. jessica  |  April 14, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Um, really $3k?? Hear that folks’!! A horse who handles it all and manages to keep his brain when being passed on both sides by riders who need to be taken off their horses and given a good thrashing. I would really love to sit these people on green horses and fly past them. One big pet peeve on mine is riding without following the rules because I am always the one who gets hurt as a result of people being stupid. That is why having a horse with a great brain has become one of my requirements over the years.

    Klondike is a star!

  • 3. Suzy May  |  April 14, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Please send Klondike to me immediately, without delay to Smay, Hilliard, Ohio. Thank you.

  • 4. Lisa DeHart  |  April 14, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Oh.Dear.Lord. Those little happy orange ears are good for the soul. Just think, in about two months Woods and I will be able to join you on these outings! WHEEEEEEE!

  • 5. Jen  |  April 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    If i was on the other side of the country with you, my trailer and I would already be at your farm. I simply CAN NOT believe what a good horse this is!

  • 6. Jane  |  April 15, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Klondike has the makings of a good Old Lady ride.

    Ol’ Lady Jane

  • 7. dilli  |  April 15, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Good Boiiiiiiiii! indeed!

    He’s a keeper for sure.

  • 8. Killian  |  April 15, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    What a man! You would love my August. He’s a senior Klondike. Love them!


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