Happiness is owning a chestnut mare.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Meeting My Tots

Ok, time for post #2 aka the story of me and my Tots!

As soon as I sold Pete I told myself that I was not going to buy another horse until it was EXACTLY what I wanted. I liked all my other horses, but I always got them because someone else chose them for me. My next horse was going to be MY choice, no one else. I have always owned thoroughbreds and felt that they are the most beautiful breed. I love how delicate, yet powerful and regal they are. I love that they are quick, smart, brave and put their hearts into everything they do. I would take a thoroughbred over an imported warmblood any day of the week!

I also studied conformation extensively over the years that I was horseless. I knew that I wanted a horse right off the track, so conformational ability was going to have to play a large part in my decision. There would be no show record that would prove that horse would excel in the hunter world.

The most important thing that I was looking for other than an overall athletic appearance was a nice, big, strong set of hindquarters. I have always loved horses with big, powerful butts haha. I also wanted a horse that was even with a strong back and an uphill build, decent shoulder/pastern slope, clean legs and of course a pretty head and neck.

Also due to my build (5'7" and all torso) I knew I wanted something in the 16hh range to off-set my torso, and a narrow body to off-set my stub legs.

If that isn't enough (I told you I was going to be picky!) I was determined to find a horse with an in your pocket, loving personality that wanted to form a bond with his/her human. I love some sass in a horse, an inquisitive nature and wears their personality all over their face. After all, a lazy horse with no personality is no fun! (though amazing for a lesson program). So anyway...in your pocket, loving, bond forming, sass, loads of personality...I obviously needed a mare!

In addition, for whatever reason I had it in my head that I wanted a flashy chestnut (refer to first show horse, and last love of my life horse). I know, I know, I played with fire before when I decided that I "needed" a flea bitten grey. I told myself that I did not need a chestnut mare, and that conformation and personality were 100% more important, but we all know that when I searched the ads, I always opened up the chestnut mares first!

The horse that fulfills my list- aka Taters <3

I spent 3 years half-heartedly searching the internet after I sold Pete. It was one of those things where I wanted a horse of my own, but unless it was perfect I wasn't going to spend the money. Plus, I was still in school and teaching preschool, and then AIS,  so it would have been a stretch. I went to look at a few (no, not all chestnut mares...they were all mares though) and I even PPE'd two ($$$$$$!!!!!!) but in my heart I knew that they were not my horses so I didn't take the plunge. Then when I was leasing Scarlett I had gone from half-heartedly searching to quarter-heartedly searching because I loved her and was happy with my situation (and not having to pay for vet bills!)

Well, the fall of 2010 came and there was a post on my facebook wall of a link to the FLF proboards (who did it?! It was either Joanne, Sarah or Alyssa, that I know for certain!) Anyway, it was a link for a trainer listing for a GORGEOUS chestnut mare, Small Potatoes. I loved her instantly, but there were a lot of horses I loved instantly upon looking at their pictures, so I needed to know more. I called Jackie (her owner) and we ended up talking on the phone for a long time! She sent me a link to her video, and I was totally smitten. She told me that while she was the owner, she did not live in NY and her boyfriend was actually Small Potatoes trainer and the one who would show her to me. She gave me his phone number.

Meanwhile there was a FLF thread on the COTH forum with a girl who was talking about how she liked Small Potatoes and was going to go out to see her. I was very upset and nervous...I knew I wanted to go and look at the horse, but I am not the type to fight with someone or get into a bidding war. She had mentioned she was going out to see her that week, so I waited on calling her trainer. It is true, I tempted fate.

Then, it happened. My Scarlett was ripped away from me! Ok, that sounds a bit dramatic, but it WAS a dramatic time! I had recently broken up with my alcoholic stupid boyfriend, now my horse was gone. I felt like I had nothing...well nothing except that girl talking about how much she wanted MY horse all over the COTH forum. haha. A few days after she was gone I got a message on facebook- That girl isn't taking Small Potatoes, you should call! (thanks Joanne). I was super excited and called her trainer. He told me that he not only had Small Potatoes, but he also had a rather large bay mare named Secret Moment for sale. I knew I wanted the chestnut, but I figured, why not go out and see both? What if the chestnut wasn't all I made her out to be in my head? He told me that the bay mare was lame, but should be back in action in a few weeks. I told him to call me when they were both sound and I would come out to see them both. HE NEVER CALLED! (tisk, tisk Bill! haha)

As I mentioned before, I am not the assertive type. He didn't call. I was sad, but I wasn't going to stalk him and beg to come out and see his horses (especially in December!) I just kind of figured that it was God's way of saying that she wasn't my horse, it wasn't the right time, and I needed to forget about her...but I just couldn't do it (and neither could my friends...I think they knew she was perfect for me before I even knew...)

Well, almost a year goes by. I spent my summer riding Arthur (who I LOVE) and teaching summer camp. I am not going to say I was constantly thinking of that chestnut mare, but I would be lying if I said that I didn't wonder what happened to her every once in awhile.

What she was doing while I was teaching...

Then it happened. In July I got a message on COTH from Jackie. She told me that they had decided to keep Small Potatoes and race her for another year, but now they were seriously ready to sell her and was I interested. WAS I INTERESTED?! I almost peed myself when I read the message, but I had to remain calm and be a mature adult. There was no way that I could get a horse in July. I was way to busy with summer camp, and I had free access to an amazing horse everyday. I also barely had any income. I was working as a teacher assistant so that meant no summer teacher pay. I was living off of summer camp money!

 I emailed her back that I would get back to her at the end of the summer and if Small Potatoes was still available I would come out and look at her. That email seriously made my heart pound. When I hit send I was kicking myself, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. I spent the next month watching the youtube video of her over and over and spent a lot of time praying about it.

By the beginning of August I had a real-live teaching job interview! I kept in the back of my mind that getting a real teaching job would be my way of owning a horse again. I had a good feeling about it, so I emailed Jackie and said that I was ready to come out and look at the mare. My friend Lisa and I headed out to Bill's farm after I got called for my superintendents interview. Taters was beautiful....and full of burdocks...but how could you not LOVE this face?

She was quite feisty (which I personally enjoy- see horse requirements list). She was pretty distracted, but still very friendly. Now what I am about to say is very cheesy and lame. But it has to be said. When this horse cantered by me the sound of her hoofbeats made my heart leap for joy and I KNEW she was mine. Three days later I got the call that I had gotten the teaching job! It was fate! The stars aligned! The timing was right! My horse was finally mine!

My next blog will be about our progress so far!

Picking her up from the home farm! SHE'S MINE!

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