|this horse, to be exact.|
I thought for sure I'd need a long break after I put Bobby down, but there's nothing quite like still having to go to the barn every day to take care of other people's horses to make you get antsy in a hurry to have something of your very own again. I wanted something, but I also would randomly wake up in the middle of the night with this nauseous clenched feeling in my gut like I had a horse and something was very, very wrong with it. So that wasn't great.
But I kept casually clicking through the Finger Lakes Finest listings since I live thirty minutes from the track and Instant Gratification is my middle name.
There were a couple that I really liked the weekend before last, but they sold on the spot to people walking around with the volunteers. I figured if I wanted first pick of something nice--and I didn't have to call people on the phone to set up a time to come out (win!)--that would be the best way for me to go, too.
I messaged them to let them know I wanted to walk around with them when they went back out this past Saturday, told the volunteer my budget, and met up with them and another girl who was also shopping first thing that morning. I figured even if there was nothing I liked this time around, there were worse ways to spend a morning!
So what was I looking for? My specifics were basically no mares; no greys; no small, piggy eyes; no bulging psycho eyes; something that had raced more than once or twice; something still in training, not something that got thrown on the walker for half an hour while still being fed a steady diet of rocket fuel and that was his life; and he had to be sound. Age didn't bother me. My main goal above all those other things though was he had to have a brain.
The volunteers showed us a war horse first who was well put together without a blemish on him who seemed like a really sweet guy. He didn't excite me though, so we moved on to two more--a cute chestnut that was at the end of rehabbing a suspensory (pass), and a really pretty big bay who hadn't been in training all year (pass) and had shit feet (pass) and a big knee (pass).
We wandered over to another barn to see if the trainer still had a horse they thought I might like available. He was gone, but the trainer said she had a cute grey they could list and a couple mares. I was like, pass. Again.
And then they led The Snoot out.
|"hullo, frenz. you has candies?"|
The other girl who I was shopping with also didn't want a grey, but the second he came out we all let out a collective, "Awwwwwww." They told us his name was Opie, he had a great brain, that he was five years old, had just raced two weeks ago, and did they mention his great brain?
I quickly snapped a couple pics to send to Riding Bestie who was shopping with me via text, then remembered to get pictures of his feet to send to Farrier for her approval. Opie stood quietly in the road, snuggling his groom and accepting peppermints from all of us while I went over every inch of him.
We headed across to the trainer's other barn to look at the mares, one of whom the other shopper instantly fell in love with. Meanwhile Farrier had given her stamp of approval so it was basically on me to decide if he was the one. Both me and the other shopper were both trying to play it cool, so we followed the volunteers to the next barn. We lasted about two minutes while the first horse got his listing information taken before we split and went back to the previous trainer's barn to make things official with our picks.
I ran home to grab my truck, ran to the barn to grab my trailer, got distracted showing pictures of his cuteness to barnmates, and then ran back over to the track to pick him up. He'd never been in a two horse before, but he put both front feet on the ramp before stopping to assess. Deb's husband was leading him, and Deb came out of the barn behind us and said, "Oh, you've never seen one of those before. Oh, well. Opie, get on there!" and he scrambled right in.
He rode over quietly and let out one neigh when I stopped the truck in the parking lot. He was a little anxious about being in the trailer, and he backed out one step, got his hind feet on the ramp, and jumped backwards to get out. Once he was out he stood still on a slack lead, but he's going to need some trailering practice to get used to his new chariot.
|he's super excited too, i promise.|
I let him graze while he got ogled by my barn mates, and then got to creeping. Probably should have made more of a point to do that before I bought him (for next to nothing I should say. Like, tack on a zero and he'd probably bring that with six months of retraining), but we couldn't figure out how to spell his JC name.
He's actually four, not five, though he has an early January birthday. He's a NY-bred by Maybry's Boy (which was obvious once I saw that as they look exactly alike) out of an Eltish mare. He raced 31 times, 12 times this year alone, and was actually entered to race today. He only won twice, and the groom told us, "He won for us once last year. He looked like they were chasing him, and he's never run that fast again."
He's on the smaller side, maybe 15.3hh, but he's a little butt high yet so I think he might grow a touch more. Spoiler alert: he doesn't feel that small when I'm on him.
He's been here since Saturday afternoon and has already settled right in. He was the only horse in the barn when he got here so he had to hang out by himself while we drove the gator up and down the aisle shoveling gravel into stalls and throwing mats around. He didn't make a peep, just kept an eye on us and accepting peppermints whenever they were offered.
|they gave me his nice leather track halter, but i wanted him to have a t/o halter|
to abuse. the only breakaway left in his size was blue, but i think it suits him.
I feel like I could just keep writing for hours gushing over him, but I'll save that for part two--his first trail walk, his first ride, and his first turnout with his new friends.
Is it obvious I'm super excited to own a horse again? To own this horse? Because I feel like maybe I'm being too subtle about it...