Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Gamble That Paid Off

Back when I was a wee lass of 10ish, my little friend Heather C was taking horseback riding lessons so I beggedbeggedbegged my parents to take lessons. At this point, I had taken up and abandoned ballet, swimming, tae kwon do, and others I'm probably forgetting.  But my parents gamely said yes and I began taking lessons with Heather's instructor, Sue.

Little did they know that I would finally find my passion.

When I beggedbeggedbegged my parents for a horse of my own, one of my dad's coworkers offered him two free horses.  (My horse friends will know that there is no such thing as a free horse.)

Remind me to do a post at some point about Horses Past, but for now we'll skip forward.

At some point, my brother decided he wanted to ride. So OF COURSE we had to get another horse (duh). Sue spearheaded the search...I only remember looking at two horses, Dunny and Tanner. I loved Dunny and really wanted him, but he failed the pre-purchase vet exam. And then we went to see Tanner...I remember meeting him, and feeling "Meh."

I don't remember the conversation around the decision to purchase him, but in 2000, (Spoiled Brat Syndrome warning) my parents shelled out $4,000 for a 3 year old palomino quarterhorse, Mr Skips Golden Boy.

At my lofty age of 25, I look back on this and am shocked. I know that the horse economy was a lot stronger back then and Tanner is a colored purebred, so that price isn't super crazy. But combine that with his young, unproven age and my young, unproven age....all I can say is that I'm obviously really grateful my parents and Sue made the decision and whoever/whatever aligned the stars to make it happen clearly knew best, but holy crap.

I am so thankful for my parents for being the financial (and emotional) backers for my addiction. They didn't give up on Tanner when at the tender age of 6 he was diagnosed with ringbone* in his hind leg.

They didn't give up when I went to college 8 hours away, leaving Tanner behind at Sue's. They gamely drove him down to me in Missouri and paid for his board and vet care (even when he got a nasty cut that required a cast up to his hip). They continued to pay for his care when I moved to Delaware. Through all of this they supported my desire to keep him, both ideologically and financially.

On the surface, I got to keep a really great horse.

But oh how much more I have gotten from it. Sappy post alert!

I have met incredible, amazing, loving people that have had a huge impact on my growth and development as a person and rider.
- Sue, who was my second mother through middle and high school
- Dr. Anne, the vet who let me shadow her for an entire semester in high school
- Heather S, who became my best friend in high school after discovering we both had horses (oh man, remember the Mailbox Bandits??)
- Janine and Emily, the barn owners who looked after and worried about Tanner like he was one of their own
- Casey, who was just looking for a part-time horse lease and is now shackled with my friendship
- Audrey, who through no fault of her own now has an Auntie Kelsey and a yeyo horse who loves her

And that list is still growing as I meet new horse people through search and rescue, trail riding, and even online (*waves to Amanda*). And it's not limited to meeting new people...while I was looking through pictures of Tanner, I found so many of friends riding Tanner that it's now going to be its own page on the blog.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Tanner got me through middle school.

He was my inspiration for dreaming about having my own farm, and realizing that dream together has meant a lot (duh).

And he's my inspiration for my future. I was determined to be a vet when I was in middle and high school, even picking out my college because it had a pre-vet program and a horse farm (I didn't even apply to any other schools). But I chickened out before I even started, panicking about having to make the decision so early (senior of high school, according to vet school websites). Since then, I've told myself (and others) that I didn't do it because I didn't like science very much.

The time has come, my friends, to gird up and do it. I have a few pre-requisites to take, but in a year or two (probably two) I hope to start vet school. Somewhere. Wherever they'll take me. I'm taking a genetics course right now and have a disgusting amount of chemistry to take, but I'm started on my way.

Basically my entire life has revolved around a dopey yellow gelding.

SO..............long story short, THANK YOU to my parents for taking a crazy chance on an expensive 3 year old quarterhorse and a spoiled 11 year old kid.

I probably owe you a firstborn child or something. This blog post shout-out is pretty much the same thing, right?

Photo montage!

Yup, I brought Tanner into school for a project.

2001...the first Adventures of Tanner's Ears??
Our very first camping trip!

Our crazy college days
Tanner & Heather's horse Tanya
At Sue's

*Ringbone is a calcification of bone around a joint, that usually occurs in old, arthritic horses and causes debilitating pain. Thank the centaur gods that Tanner's ringbone fused painlessly around his joint, causing no soundness issues up to this point.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Out of the Fog, Another Poem by Yours Truly

Driving home on a Friday

Relieved that the week is over.

Auto-pilot engaged

While cutting through rain and dark.

Turn onto my road

Food on my mind

When out of the fog

Comes a shadowy figure.

My headlights just barely illuminate

One, two, three, four creatures

Floating towards me.


The horses are loose.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Burning with Hatred, a Poem by Kelsey

I hate winter.

I hate that Casey slipped on icy stairs last Friday and broke her back. (She will be okay, it will just take time to recover.)

I hate that today I got my goddamn truck stuck in the ditch at the bottom of the driveway.

I hate that it is the second time I have done this.

I hate that one of my neighbors drove by without stopping to see if I needed help.

I hate that another neighbor was plowing with his tractor and could clearly see my predicament, but did nothing.

I hate that this time, I can't shovel my way out of it.

I hate that I still have to make multiple trips with hot water to unfreeze the faucet to get water to the horses.

I hate that it's too cold to enjoy riding.

I hate how my skin burns after I come back inside from the cold.

I hate how cranky winter makes me.

I hate winter.

Addendum: I LOVE my ex-neighbor who just pulled my truck out. I wish he still lived in the house next to me!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Weird Habits of the Blonde Bomber Dogs

Dogs take after their owners, right? So I guess it's no surprise that my dogs are quirky. (That's the polite word for weird, right?)

For example: 

Every morning before work I shut the dogs in a section of the basement. Minutes after I leave, they bust out and roam the house, but don't do any damage. The two times I have decided that I'll just save everyone some time and leave them out, they have chewed something to pieces. So they know that if they're not supposed to be out free in the house, they have to be on their best behavior so as not to attract Owner's rage and be permanently stuck in the Dungeon. Which means we have to put on a performance every morning that I'm locking them away.

Hobbes also knows that horses and donkeys belong inside the fencing unless a human is holding them. If a horse or Hattie is outside the pasture or in the barn without a human present, he will barkbarkbark til I tell him it's okay or the offending animal goes back to where they belong.

When Finch gets excited or super-happy, she runs really fast circles with the BEST expression of glee on her face. Usually she trips at least once per circuit on these laps but she never lets that hold her back.

 Hobbes farts every time he sits down. Loudly.

Finch really wants to get in on the play action between Skitters and Julie's cat Willow, but doesn't understand that pouncing on them and boxing them down with her paw is actually painful, not playful.

Hobbes is terrified of all cats. When Julie's mellow cat Fox rubs up against him he gets an expression of panic in his eyes.

 Finch howls like a monkey when she sees something strange outside (strangers, coyotes, other dogs). This is actually helpful because Hobbes will bark at anything, so I know it's a Real Thing if Finch starts singing.

Both like to pick out the soft bits of their dog food and will only eat the rest when I refuse to refill their bowl til it's empty.

Finch likes to stand at the base of my exercise bike so that every time my foot goes around it hits her. I guess it's a form of petting?

Hobbes won't go up into the hay loft ever since he got "stuck" up there and when he tried to get out he tumbled down the stairs. (By "stuck" I mean that he could not figure out how to get back down the staircase he walked up on, and panicked when Casey tried to pick him up to bring him down. I have stairs in the house that he regularly goes up and down, so....not sure why these were so complex.)

Finch loves to just sit and STARE INTO YOUR SOUL.

Hobbes likes to lay down right behind you while you're cooking and when you accidentally step on him, yelps and gives you a look of utter sadness.

Finch unnecessarily proves her dominance over the entirely subservient Hobbes by standing stiffly over his head while he's laying down. She also tries to do this to human feet but is so obvious about it that she gets deflected every time.


And now you know way more about my dogs than you ever wanted to!

In other news, congratulations to friends Allison and Chester on the impending arrival of a second baby!  Check out Allison's ADORABLE blog here. I miss her.

And happy birthday to Marm!