Horse ownership is relatively new to me. As much as it was all I ever dreamed about, I wasn’t a kid that had a pony growing up. I took once a week lessons, then bartered grooming/feeding/mucking for lessons in college. I rode sale horses, lesson horses and boarders horses. Sometimes I got lucky and ended with a really nice horse to play with (until it got sold or until the owner lost interest in boys) and sometimes I didnt… I rode a little bit in graduate school, but then took a break to focus on my dissertation and starting my career. I started riding again after I moved to KY and bought my first horse shortly after. He was a 4yo TB that I hoped to bring along to be my adult hunter. But alas, fate had different plans and I found myself horseless and heartbroken less than two years later.
Now, almost 6 years since then, I have two really nice horses, Marcus and Frankie.
Marcus (“Moscato” TJC: Eureka Graffiti)
The wound that my first horse left was still fresh, and I found myself at a horse show standing with my former trainer when another trainer came up and bluntly said “You know anyone who needs a horse?”. I walked away and my trainer came to me and said “you need to go sit on that horse tomorrow”. So I did and took him home a week later. Looking back, I wasn’t really ready for a new horse but the thought of being without one broke my heart even more. I got him home, and thought CRAP. Marcus was obnoxious to say the least-he bites, he eats tack, he walks away when you but his bridle on.He is by far one of the most annoying horses I have ever met-he can untie himself in a heartbeat and nothing hanging on or near a stall is safe. Plus he really likes KY Horse Park hot dogs and wont hesitate to eat your granola bar when you aren’t looking.
Then there was the fact that my saddle didn’t come close to fitting, oh and the first time I jumped a line he bolted with me after. But at the same time, he was honest, he was broke on the flat and he was cute as a button.
We’ve come a long way since then. There often was more tears than smiles, and he’s dumped me more times than I care to admit. He’s got a wicked spook a spin and often disagreements over distances end in a hail mary spot and a bolt. But over the last 5.5 years, he took me from broken hearted and afraid to jump a 2′ oxer to the pre-adult hunters then the adult hunters, KHJA medal finals and now the event world. He still bites me and eats my tack, but a whisper of “Marcus, I am really nervous please take care of me” in the start box and that’s all he needs.
The switch to eventing was the best thing I think could have done for him. I am still learning, and I wont lie, I am still nervous out on course. But with more experience and time, things get less scary. Last year starter was a challenge, BN was scary and N was NOPE! But this year, starter is small, BN is ok and N doesnt look too bad sometimes. I have never felt my horse happier than I have on XC. At 17, I worry that our time is running out, but I hope someday he will help me meet my goal of finishing a N3D.
Me and Marcus in our former life as hunters (TB show at the KHP, 2013)
Adult hunters, 2014
Starter at the KHP, 2015
Our first BN at Midsouth Pony Club at the KHP June 2016
(some things never die, like a hunter duck)
Frankie (TBD, TJC: F’Lar)
When we bought our little farm this winter, I started trying to figure out how to find Marcus a friend. I had really mixed feelings about owning another horse, but that’s a topic for another post. My biggest one right now is fear after my first horse. But I hope my luck is better this time around.
I looked at several, then my friend sent me a text about a friend who had a 4 yo for sale. Unfortunately, I got it a few hours before I had to fly to Australia for work so I tabled him until I got back. A few weeks of back and forth and I went and tried him (again on the way to the airport!). He was sweet but green and my trainer wasn’t 100% convinced. I looked at others but nothing really caught my eye. I called my trainer and expressed my frustration in the whole situation and we decided to try him again. He improve so much in those two weeks, my trainer looked at me and said “vet him this weekend”. So I did, and we signed the bill of sale on my birthday.
Since I only got him two days ago I don’t have much on Frankie. He seems sweet and kind and smart. I dropped him at my trainers for a month of boot camp and her first text to me was “Good boy today! Worked on ground manners, those were lacking.” (he is definitely Marcus’s little brother) and then “I think hes going to be fun”. I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.