Monday, December 28, 2020

How Hamilton Joined Our Herd


By special request here is the story of how Hamilton came to take a 17 hour long trailer ride to join our family. It’s a bit long winded and starts long before I got him. 

Eeyore came out of rehab over the summer in the best spot I’d ever had him. All the long boring walk and trot work had mellowed him out and I was super excited to ride this newer, less anxious version of him. Then we added the canter back in and he returned to his anticipatory “all I want to do is canter!” self though to a lesser extent for sure. 


Back in action and back to his difficult self 


Mix in my own issues dealing with complete loss of motivation, vacillating wildly between tears and anger, and a back that felt like my pelvis was breaking any time I tried to sit and I wasn’t riding very often or very well. Things came to a head when I took a lesson I barely dragged myself to and then promptly got lawn darted into the dirt. I laid there and cried, not something I’m prone to do and not something I’d ever done in the dozens of unplanned dismounts with Gemmie, and then got back to half heartedly finish the last lesson I took in 2020.

I knew on a logical level it wasn’t Eeyore’s fault. But I also knew that Eeyore was a much different horse when ridden frequently which was something I wasn’t capable of at the time and that in my current state I needed something inherently calmer, less opinionated and more smelling the roses in nature. 
Does better in consistent work. This was taken at the trailer before the lesson he threw me



Thus the seed was planted. 

About a month later a local friend texted me in excitement that she saw a lifelong dream of hers come true: she had gotten two OTTB mares - one for her 9 year old daughter and one for herself. I invited them over to use my arena and we all rode together. Her mare had been off the track for a few years with some re training but had sat in the seller’s pasture for a long time. The daughter’s mare was 4 and fresh off the track. 

Take a wild guess who’s horse was the absolutely worst behaved of the three?

Did you guess Eeyore? You’d be right. 

I worked him through it but it was no fun whatsoever and I spent the majority eyeing their well behaved mares with an envious eye. Were they foot perfect and highly trained? No. But they also weren’t throwing temper tantrums, flinging their head around or trying to bolt off to Neverland. A good brain and a solid work ethic goes a long long way and I was sitting on the losing horse that day. 

Still love him


Thus the seed was watered. 

Then another month went by and an acquaintance of mine asked if she could shadow me at my office. She is an amazing rider with advanced dreams and we spent the time between patients chatting. Turned out she was horse shopping. I was a bit surprised since her current horse was a seeming rock star and I knew had cost over 35k. How could a horse that well bred and that expensive not be perfect? 

Turns out that while he was bred with two Grand Prix jumpers as parents, he hated jumping. He’d do it and rocked at the lower levels but had no interest. He loved dressage so he was off to a dressage home. As we spoke she told me about her first horse who she had on trial for a month and was a saint. He lived with her and all was well. She then paid for him and a few months later he started rearing and was retired a few months later. 

I go into this detail because at the time I was very die hard “I bought the horse he must be perfect and work out”. Even when he wasn’t. Now here was someone much younger than me who I looked up to riding wise and she had two horses that failed to be what she needed/wanted. One lived with her for a month before purchase and the other cost more than my car and was purpose bred to the hilt. Turns out horses can just plain suck no matter what. 

Thus the seed was fertilized. 

A few weeks later I was suffering from severe anxiety that wouldn’t allow me to sleep. I went a week with no more than a couple hours a night and my skin was crawling. I stayed up late scrolling Facebook and saw an ad for a lovely, skinny chestnut OTTB who needed a home ASAP or off to the kill pen he’d go. 

Looking a lot better than when he showed up at dawn. I took this about 4-6 weeks after he landed with us. 

Now typically I’m no sucker for these ads and scroll right on by but something about his super kind eye caught my attention. He was described as a horse in no hurry to go anywhere, unflappable and kind. I messaged the seller, got his jockey name and more info and next thing I knew he was paid for and shipping arranged. 

He showed up way skinnier than I thought. Think emaciated and go even skinnier. But his eye was kind and nothing fazed him: not the dogs, the wild kiddo, the quad etc....

Hamilton has continued to remain that same guy too. He may be running a bit wild in the pasture but the moment you approach he stands still and walks calmly alongside you. He has been led everywhere all over the farm with never a hoof put wrong. He is the opposite of Eeyore who even in hand throws tantrums and will pop up if he doesn’t want to do something. 

He looks sharp in hunter green and fits in Eeyore’s bridle 

Hamilton is the exact thing I wanted. Needed I suppose. A clam horse with a willing attitude that goes along with the plan no matter what else is going down. We’ve played with him over poles in hand and Dusty has ridden him in the arena. He is an all around easy going guy who while not particularly enthusiastic about much beyond naps, is so much fun to be around because it is never work. It’s simple and easy and fun. 

All the things Eeyore is not and things that I need to continue in this insane hobby. 

Thus the seed has sprouted. 

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for the back story. I think he’s great and I’m glad you got him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is pretty awesome. Even if he just looks pretty in the pasture, his life is better than it would have been otherwise so its a win

      Delete
  2. Thank you for writing up the story! I really felt for the person looking for a competition horse. I used to have and show horses, but now have and show dogs instead. My last 2 dogs I carefully selected litters and did everything to stack the deck in my favor to get a performance dog. Neither one has been able to do the sports I want. I am happy to keep them as pets (all my dogs, even the performance dogs, are housepets first.) But I can only keep so many dogs! I am puppy shopping now and afraid I'll end up with another dog I can't do sports with. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For those who have a specific job it can be really frustrating and heartbreaking when the chosen horse can't perform to that level. Im not sure though which is worse: seeing horses get rehomed or being stuck miserable in the wrong spot. Your dogs are lucky to have you!

      Delete
  3. He is so cute! Great that he landed with you guys and I hope you have many years of riding ahead with him. Sometimes we need that sweet, considerate horse to balance out the other wild child ones that we also love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spoiler but I rode both boys this weekend and it was so different being on Hamilton. Its nice to allow my brain to shut off in certain ways when I'm with him versus Eeyore. I don't have to worry about being bit or stepped on or pawed or pushed in the back or any other suck terrible habits Eeyore has that try as I may I can't seem to fully get rid of. Hamilton is easy peasy in that regard but hard in others. It is a nice balance having them both.

      Delete