I was very fortunate as a child to have a passion for a sport that also happened to be a family business. My mother’s sister had been a horse trainer and riding instructor for most of her life by the time I was born so I was given an opportunity to be a little girl riding ponies since I could hold myself upright.
When I was twelve she convinced my parents to bite the bullet and get me a horse of my own. Looking back we went about this in a less than conventional way. Triton was a tall black thoroughbred, who at the time was barely green-broke (no brakes or steering installed) roughly 300lbs underweight and didn’t have much trust in humans. I loved him right away and my parents let me keep him. It was a lot of work and some hard days but within a couple of years this backyard ragamuffin of a horse was a prize winning Jumper on the A circuit showing at 3’6”.
It didn’t matter where he came from, how much he cost or how
little he, and I, knew when we met. He was a good horse who liked to be ridden, go on trail rides, spend the day at the beach getting covered in sand and be the center of attention at shows.
He eventually retired and almost 20 years after I first bought him, I had an opportunity to have him come live with me. But he needed a friend and I began searching for a pasture companion for him. Nothing special just a good horse in good health that would be kind to my old man. I ended up hitting the jackpot.
I was messaged on Facebook by a couple who lived near me. They had recently adopted a horse form a local rescue to be a friend to their retired gelding. But their gelding passed away much sooner than anticipated. Now this rescue of theirs, named Rooney, had no place in their current herd and was being picked on by his pasture mate. The couple were very kind, had a beautiful home and horse property and had taken such good care of their animals. Now all they wanted was Rooney to have a good home.
They asked me lots of questions, met my horse, toured our pasture and property and together we decided to give it a go. Both horses were able to move to my home the same day. Now when introducing one horse to another, you can never be too cautious. You just never know how they will react. But to everyone’s great relief the two boys got along great from the word go. It seemed just fine with them that they were moving in together. The first night Triton was a little nervous of this new place but Rooney just settled in and kept him calm. It was such a comfort to see them together.
Mr. Rooney is a beautiful, fully trained, honest, affectionate horse who has been more than I could’ve wished for. Not bad for a horse who was a total mystery when he was found wondering in a creek bed in Lakeside severely underweight.
Of course their story came to its inevitable end. Triton was much older than Rooney and eventually his time came. He developed a neurological disorder that made it hard for him to walk, get around or get up when he laid down. We were forced to move him out of the pasture for his own safety. And Rooney stood next to his round pen on the other side of the fence every day and night. When Triton was put down and taken away Rooney was confused and loud and trying to get to him. Rooney is better now, he loves people, and walks and treats, but now its time for a new friend. You can be sure I am looking for another great horse and whether he comes from someone’s backyard, a rescue, or a creek bed, they will be a gift. The best horses I have ever met have come from less than ideal circumstances. They have whole
lives and stories behind them and if there is one thing I have learned in all these years with countless horses and equestrian sport experiences it’s that so many of them still have great lives to live and many more stories to make.
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