Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hank, and the History Of Horses, Part 2

Where was I? Oh yeah, Montana. That was in June of 2000. I've never been so affected by a vacation like that before, and I hope there are none that can best it. That place, the people and the horses and the mountains, had a profound impact on me. A life changing impact, as I was to find out.

Later that year Sara made the announcement that we were going to purchase a horse. I knew it was just a matter of time, but was hoping that time would be farther in the future. I put up a fuss, but not too much. I knew the decision had been made and I can't change her mind when it's made up.

So horse shopping begins. Classifieds are studied, as well as the ever helpful internet. We looked at few and narrowed down the choices to a super calm coming 4 year old 14.3hh flashy bay Paint gelding named Levi and a 12 year old shiny copper colored 16hh OTTB mare named Man She Ran. My mind was made up. Levi needed a home. He was sweet, loveable, not too intimidating in size, and just darned easy to look at. So we bought the Thoroughbred.

For those of you unfamiliar with the letters OTTB, they stand for Off Track Thoroughbred. Yep, we bought us an ex racehorse. Seems like a good choice for a first horse for a guy with a few lessons under his belt and a wife coming off of a 10 year horse hiatus, right?

I can look back at those 18 months of owning a Thoroughbred and say that I learned many valuable lessons, and I probably did. The most obvious one that comes to mind is to never ever own an OT anything. Especially a Thoroughbred. Especially a mare. And she was not just a mare, she was a hormonally unbalanced mare with some serious issues. She was a squealer and a snorter and a stomper. If she didn't like something, she'd make sure you knew it. The stomping was particularly fun when it came time to clean her feet (which I had become very proficient at by that time). Most times you were warned with a squeal or a hot blast of air out of her inflamed nostrils, but sometimes she'd just yank that hoof out of your hand and give a good stomp or two. She had incredible accuracy, and could rake the skin off the side of your shin in less time than it takes to say ouch.

We sold her to the daughter of the fella that owned her when she was raced. Not counting the expenses of boarding, the vet bills, the chiro bills, and the $5000 remodel required to the stable owner's barn, we actually made a few bucks on the deal.

I still think about Levi.

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