Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Without The "Ta"

After we sold Jin the search began for a new horse. Sara wanted another young Western Pleasure prospect that she could finish. Again, the internet was searched and calls were made. A couple of appointments were scheduled, but were cancelled at the last minute by the sellers. It seemed that anything that caught Sara's eye had a big fat price tag attached to it or was too far away or it had some concerns that would cause us to look elsewhere.

But one little horse kept coming to the top of the list. For the life of me I don't know why Sara was drawn to him. The sales presentation was horrible. We were sent two teeny little pics and a poor quality grainy video that was taken on a cellphone. These are the actual pics, and no, they don't enlarge if you click on them:
I'd find Sara at the computer studying that low quality video over and over. I'd just shake my head. Sara would email the seller a list of questions and the reply would come back with maybe half of them answered. I thought it was a waste of time. Sara thought she saw something there, some untapped potential in that blurry 30 second video.

I could tell that Sara had the itch to get a new horse, and soon. I told her to take her time, the right one would come along. She told me that she thought she found the right one in those tiny pics.

"You sure?" I asked.

His home was in central Illinois, about a seven hour's drive from here. We tried to schedule a time to go see him, but the thought of making two trips didn't sound too trip in the car to look at him, and a trip back with the truck and trailer if we liked him. We discussed just making one trip with the rig, and if we didn't like him we'd just be out a bunch of gas money. But the thought of dragging a 30' trailer through Milwaukee & Chicago didn't appeal to me too much. After much discussion we decided to take a crazy chance and buy this guy, sight unseen, and have the seller's deliver him. Sure sounded crazy. In fact, it still does.

We made the offer to the sellers, and they accepted, delivery included. They readily accepted. Maybe too readily.....

So, we bought this sight unseen (in the flesh) horse from someone we've never met from a land far away. Stupid? Maybe. Crazy? For sure. I just hoped he had that untapped potential that Sara saw.

He arrived June 12th on a cold and windy day. The poor boy was all shed out from his warm winter hair, and it was 40 degrees and nasty. My first impressions were not good. He was short. His feet were long and his shoes were falling off and no two hooves were trimmed at the same angle. And he was thin. Ribs showing like a xylophone.

Did I tell ya it was a crazy idea to buy a horse sight unseen?

But he was quiet and cute and sound and he moved nice. Sara still had hope.

Mega's Doctor Time is his real name. But they called him Mater. That's right, like the hillbilly tow truck in the Pixar film. Mater, like tamater without the ta. Yeah.... But we kept the name. It fits him.

We got his shoes pulled, trimmed his feet up right, got him some good groceries and attended to anything else he needed. Sara worked on his training, and it needed a lot of work to bring him to where she wanted him. It was frustrating for her at times. She kept expecting him to perform as well is Jin did, but she had to realize that he was far from being where Jin was in his education. Take a few steps back and remember how to teach the basics. With Mater being the same age as Jin, it was hard for her to grasp that he just didn't have the training that she was accustomed to. But they worked hard and Mater had the talent and brains to learn it all.

About a month after we got him, Sara thought it was time to try an open show to see how far they had come along in his training. They loaded up the trailer and headed out with the plan to show in a few open walk/trot classes. I wished them well and saw them off. When they came home that evening I asked how they did, and Sara had a weird look on her face and her hands behind her back. I asked if everything was ok. That's when she showed me the pair of etched wine glasses and blue ribbons that they earned that day! Turns out lil' Mater Mater Sweet Poo-tater took 1st out of 20 in open walk/trot and 1st out of 27 in open walk/trot horsemanship.

His training and showing continued over the summer, and he kept proving that he had all the potential to be a champ.

In the six short months we've had him, he's shown us that he is everything and more than what Sara saw in that blurry video. A big heart, tons of give, and a calm disposition.

We sure lucked out with this sight-unseen lil' pony.

Mater, like tamater without the ta
Mater Mater Sweet Poo-tater


Anonymous said...

Aww. Thats great how far he's come! Congratulations to Sara and Mater, and best of luck in their future pursuits! Great pictures, by the way.

Aunt Krissy said...

That's a nice story. I'm glad that Mater turned out all good in the end. Sara must have a good "eye" to see all that is the small pics.

Danni said...

ohmygosh, I loved this post - it completely captured me. I love underdog stories like this. Keep up the good work Mater!!! ♥

finski said...

Loved this story Hank... I loved the Jin story also. More stories please!!

Annie said...

Mater's a beautiful horse! Sara is very must be very proud of her!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story - sometimes things really do work out!

Statch said...

I love the way you took a chance on him and it paid off!

jc said...

Loved reading this - what a lucky boy to have found you too!