Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hank, and the History of Horses, Part 4

With the crazy OTTB sold, the search for a new horse began. Sara searched high and low, scanning for-sale ads in local papers and on-line. We knew two things for sure - we wanted a stock type, and we wanted a level-headed gelding. Oh, and a young one, as Sara wanted to try her hand at training one herself.

I don't recall looking at too many horses this time around. I remember a horse named Walt, a handsome dark bay with awesome ground manners and a sweet face. He also would rear straight up when asked to canter. He was an Appendix QH, which means he was 1/2 QH and half Thoroughbred. That clearly was a sign.

We later found an ad in the local paper for a two year old Paint, so we took a spin out to see him. We just had horrible ice storms, so the owner had all of her animals stalled in the barn. It was an old dairy barn converted to stalls, and there was every kind of animal in there.

An Ark amidst a sea of ice.

Sox was the horse for sale, and his big brown eyes peered at us from his stall, looking as pathetic as you could imagine. He was a filthy little thing - long toes, dry, dull, matted coat, dried manure crusted everywhere. But he was adorable, in a pathetic "I feel sorry for you and want to take you away from this bad place" kinda way. Mainly chestnut, with a big blaze, four high whites and a white belly. It took some brushing to get the old dried manure off to see that all four legs were white. Because of the ice, we couldn't take him outside, so Sara walked him up and down the aisle a few times. He walked past the chickens and ducks and the beefers and the other horses just fine, never putting up a fuss. He was barely halter broke, but calm and gentle. We left there after scratching a lot of ears and petting a lot of heads. Was he our diamond in the rough? Hard to say.

That night Sara called the seller and made an offer. She low-balled a little and the seller was firm with her asking price. "No deal", Sara said (she's stubborn like that). I tried to convince her to just pay the asking price. Buy that little mangy red horse. Nope. Did I mention she's stubborn?

Then a strange thing happened - Levi was for sale again. We found out he was owned by a lady that was greener than grass, and she was deathly afraid of him. So we load up the car and drive halfway across the state to see him. He was just as adorable as ever, if even more than the first time we saw him. He was out of shape and a little buddy sour (as his new owner was afraid to take him from the pasture), but he came around with a little encouragement. Sara rode him a bit and I gave him lotsa lovins. So now what do we do? As it turned out, Levi's price had doubled since the last time we saw him 18 months prior. But he was still at a fair price. And maybe we found him this second time for a reason. And he was what we were looking for....

We make an offer on Levi, just a few hundred less than the asking price. You woulda swore that lady got slapped across the face by a dead carp. She couldn't go that low, no way, not gonna happen, he's worth way more than that, blah blah blah... Geesh. So we tell her thanks, think it over, here's our number, and climb back in the car to drive home.

Three or four weeks later Sox's owner called us. She agreed to Sara's price. Yippee! We asked to come back out and see him again to refresh our memory. The ice had all gone and he was out on pasture with a number of other horses. The owner was busy with something, and she told us to just go out into the pasture and see him. He was happy to have company and came up to us right away. Another handsome horse came over to see why Sox was getting all the attention. I pet him some and gave him some scratchins. Just then the owner comes back and says, "I see you met Sonny, Sox's sire."

Sire? You mean Stallion?!?

I'm kinda freaking out because my limited knowledge about stallions was that you don't mess with them, and you never ever go in their pasture. They'll mess you up. They're territorial and mean as heck and they kick and bite just for fun. Here's this big guy poking at my hand for lovins or treats, and I'm eyeballing the gate to see if I can clear it before this horse mauls me. The owner must have sensed my terror or she heard me squeak, because she just laughed and said, "You don't have to worry about Sonny, he's a big baby." And he was. She said he passes his calm disposition to all his youngins. Good thing, because we could use a change from spirited thoroughbreds.

Sara asked if she could walk Sox around, so we got a halter and lead rope and started to lead him past the house. He caught his reflection in the big bay window and just stopped and stared at himself. Many horses, especially young ones will startle at this. The way he just stood there and looked at himself in that cool curious way of his was a defining moment for Sara.

We bought that little mangy red horse. We named him Charlie
(c'mon, Sox? Nah).

Sara found her diamond.


Jen said...

Of COURSE you know I am loving this story! I never heard the whole story on how you found Charlie. (and glad you changed the Sox name!)

Kevan said...

Loving these stories Hank

Sherri said...

OOPS, once agian I was signed under my alter ego Kevan......

I'm sure he's loving the stories as well Hank!!

foxtrotter said...

You need to write a book. The way you describe everything is like I'm right there with you. Thanks for writing this blog.

CTG Ponies said...

Aww, such a good story!