Happiness is owning a chestnut mare.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The first post!

After flooding my facebook page with many horse updates, I realized that not all of my friends are interested in seeing horsey updates. In fact, most of them are probably as annoyed with my horsey updates as I am with seeing their baby bump grow everyday. So, I decided to do the decent thing and move my horse updates to a blog.

Since this is my first post, and I am not starting from day 1 of my Taters ownership, I have a lot to talk about! I think that my first post is going to be about me...so that I can give everyone a little glimpse into who I am and what made me think that getting a thoroughbred right off the track would be a good idea. Then, my next post can be about how I came to meet my Tots, THEN I can start talking about our progress! Thank GOD I am on spring break and have plenty of time to sit at my computer!

Alright.... It's all about ME damnit (well, for the rest of the post at least...)

Well, as you can see on the sidebar my name is Kim and I am 29 years old. It is actually quite funny how I got into horseback riding. It was my grandmother's idea, not mine. I have always been an animal lover since the day I was born. I was always that kid begging my parents for every animal I saw, but my parents  were not the type to let me have all of them. I did not have that childhood desire to sit on a horse, but they were animals, so therefore I loved them. Anywho, when my grandmother suggested that I go to horseback riding summer camp when I was 10, I liked the idea because of the animal aspect, but I was also nervous so I agreed to go...under the condition that I could stop at anytime if I didn't like it. HA!!!!!

Obviously, my parents and grandparents had no idea what they were getting themselves into. The summer camp was a three week long day camp, which ended with a horse show on the final day. The horse that I rode not only most of those three weeks, but also spent the next four years riding and showing was a very cute chestnut thoroughbred mare named Vikki (Against All Odds).

Obviously this horse looks nothing like Taters (ha!) I have to find some more pictures of her and put them side to side. Over the years I also had a few other loves that need to be mentioned, and have their pictures posted, just for old times sake:

This is Bullet and I (note that I am rocking a Forrestel Farm Camp shirt)

Of course no horse blog about my past could be complete without this lovely fellow!
Doobie aka Fat Man

Last but not least, the most flatulent of the bunch, Betsey 
(yes I stole this pic from a fb friend)

I spend every free moment at the barn...cleaning, helping younger students, cleaning, feeding...cleaning oh! and scrubbing buckets. ha. After an unfortunate turn of events, I moved on and ended up spending the next few years before college floating around barns, not really finding my place. One thing I did know is that all I wanted was to be around horses ALL THE TIME. So I made the financially irresponsible decision to take out a ton of student loans...and go to horse school! (DUMB but an amazing 2 years!) That is where I met a cute little arab/qh cross who was to be my project horse. He was an ex-reiner, crotchity and old as dirt, and the closest I had ever been to having my own horse. Anyone from college could tell you- I LOVED LADDIE! How could you not?


When I was finishing up school my parents realized that horses were here to stay. I had discovered in my Theories of Instruction classes that I loved teaching. I also took every therapeutic riding class possible, as well as completed a therapeutic riding internship. My professor told me that I am meant to teach children, and I agreed. I decided to go to school for Special Education. When I graduated from Caz, my grandparents and parents got together and helped me purchase my first horse...a cheap, moody, 15 year old thoroughbred mare! My vet (who I trust 100%) told me not to buy her...but I did!
Meet Ally:

Ally and I got along, and I loved her to death, but she had some mental and physical issues that she could not get passed (which is why she was so cheap!). I did enjoy meeting children who had ridden her prior to my ownership and hearing the stories of how she broke their bones. She became a pasture pet after back problems (hers, not mine) kept me from riding her with any regularity. When I realized that Ally and I were not going to make it to the Olympics (darn!) , I started looking for a second horse. I decided that I needed a flea bitten grey gelding. Yes, it's true. I wanted a horse based on color (never a good idea). I was sitting around with my BO at the time and said how I had always wanted a flea bitten grey gelding...and who would have known! She knew of one...a 12 yr old recently gelded (aka 3 months before) OTTB who was just getting restarted after a life of racing and breeding. WHAT A GOOD IDEA! hahahaha...anyway, I bought Pepper...

Pepper didn't last too long. He was fine, I could w/t/c without getting run away with most of the time, and I even started him jumping. My barn only had PVC jumps, so as soon as I tried to jump verticles he would bust through them. Long story short- I took him to a trainer with real jumps. She didn't like him and I was indifferent. She talked me into selling him and buying...

Pete aka Petey-poo aka Crazy-Eyed Pete!

Pete and I lasted for a few years. He was a good boy. I moved him to an amazing barn with an amazing trainer. Things could have been great if I wasn't in school full time and working full time to afford my very expensive board and my very expensive amazing barn. We did get some stuff accomplished, but when I wanted to start showing 3', he couldn't. Fortunately my trainer found him an AMAZING home with the Nazereth College IHSA team, where he is still happy today :)

After I donated Pete to the college I took some time off from horses. I was doing my Masters degree and working 60 hours a week at a hotel. After about a year I started cleaning stalls for a friend in exchange for riding her horses. It was there that I met a new friend who had a connection to one of the summer camps that I had attended as a child (note the t-shirt I mentioned above!) I decided to lease a horse for the winter. He was a cute boy, I have no complaints, but it was the wrong time for me personally so I had to send him back early. I did however, start teaching lessons at the barn where I had kept Pete and was able to start taking lessons again!

Lopez - he looks super nice here!

Lesson on Happy! Hilarious!

After I was taking lessons regularly and had my life together, I decided it was time to lease a horse again. The day that I went and asked my trainer about leasing a horse, was the same day that Sandy called and asked Chrissie if she wanted to lease Scarlett. She did, and I did and I fell in love...with a chestnut mare (see the pattern yet)? 

As much as I loved this mare, I knew she was never going to be mine. She was 16 and had hock problems. Whenever we tried to jump anything over 2'9" she could make it over 2 or 3, then she would start knocking them down. She just couldn't do it anymore. She was for sale, and I was thinking about it, but her owner wanted way too much money and the cost of keeping her comfortable with injections was out of my price range. It was during my time that I was leasing Scarlett that I found my Tater Tots (but that is a story for my next blog...)

So the day before my 28th birthday (which happens to be the 1st of the month) I got a phone call from my boss. Scarlett's owner had decided she was taking her back. The next day. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. I decided I would never lease a horse again because I never wanted anyone to be able to pull a horse out from under me with no warning ever again. I started thinking about Small Potatoes and how bad I wanted her....but her owner had never gotten back to me.

I kept going to work (obviously) but I didn't ride for the rest of the winter. I just couldn't. The only time I sat on a horse was when one of the lesson horses was being sassy and I needed to school them a little for my students. When the sassy lesson pony Molly came back from a few months off I rode her a little, then I was lucky enough to spend my summer riding my trainers horse, Arthur. After my summer with Artie I was longing for my own horse again!

Sassy Molly Pony!

And that brings us to my Tater Tots! And her story is where I will pic up with my next post! Wow that was long..but I am pushing 30 after all...so there is a lot to cover!

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