Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hank, and the History of Horses, Part 5

Charlie's training progressed as hoped. Honestly, there's not much you can do with a two year old horse aside from leading it around. Riding doesn't happen this early in their life, so everything you do is from the ground. But these are the formative years, and the more you handle a horse and get it used to every little thing there is in this big scary world, the better your horse will be in the long run. So Sara and Charlie went on walks. Lots of walks. Walks thru the fields. Walks by the cows. Walks down the trail. Walks in the woods. He watched people riding horses. He watched team penning. He watched cars go by. He watched tractors and kids on bikes and four wheelers and loud motorcycles. And he'd do all of this in his calm, cool, and curious way of his. For sure not much of a "spooker". Sara got him used to all sorts of horse-eating objects, like tarps, hula-hoops, huge beach balls, big bags of empty aluminum cans. Always with the same "What's That?" result.

One of the first items of business with Charlie was to rid him of his "distractions". He started acting studdy not long after we brought him home, and one day of rearing on the lead line was enough to have us call the vet. Gelding is a simple procedure, but one I've never seen done to a horse. I was the "Blue Kote" guy during de-nutting at my buddy's dairy farm, and thankfully, gelding a horse is a lot less exciting. A simple sedative, me holding the rope on his leg, Sara holding his head, Marge on the camera, and the vet taking care of business. In a few weeks he was as good as new and all of those distracting thoughts were going away.

During this time of Charlie's upbringing, we boarded at a place about one mile from home. Very friendly place with a nice indoor, a huge outdoor, nice pastures, good hay and a Coke machine that housed fifty cent cans of Budweiser. It was my home away from home. While Sara and Charlie took their walks, I helped the barn owner rotate stock of the refrigerated product. He had a simple philosophy: with 40 horses to take care of there wasn't much time to go visit friends, so he installed a beer machine and friends would come visit him. It worked! Could have been the prices, but I'm not one to judge. Many may think that nothing got done during these long hours of beer drinkin' and shit shootin', but we accomplished plenty. A 400 square foot elevated viewing room was built looking over the indoor. Wood rail fencing went up along the road frontage. Eight small turnouts with shelters were built on the north end of the barn. Hay was baled, horses were fed.

It was a mutually satisfying experience. Sara got time to spend with Charlie. The barn owner got company and an extra hand. I got cheap beer.


Jen said...

50 Cent Beers??? WOW!! I would hang out there often too! Charlie still thinks he is a stud the way he flirts w/some of the mares! Real lady killer that one!! :0)

CTG Ponies said...

Sounds like a great place!