Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our First Parelli Session

Rhett really is amazing me at how well he's picking up the Parelli. We both really enjoy doing it together.
I can feel that this will really help with our bonding. He tries so hard and seems pleased when he does what you are asking. He responds to very light touch and seems to pick things up very easily. I'm really enjoying working with him on the ground...

Above I am preparing Rhett for our first ride. Unfortunately it was a short one! I got on, he rolled! I didn't even manage to get a picture sitting on him first. Saddle is fine, I'm a bit sore but none the worse for wear. I really think that I'm doing things backwards though, I have the rolling rodeo horse when I'm 40 and I had the sensible do anything with horse when I was 17! I'm getting too old for this stuff! In all seriousness, I've already pondered this situation for a long time as its dangerous to have a horse who rolls with someone on his back! I'm very confident that our next ride will be much more successful.
My friend Heather brought her daughter Rachel by to meet Rhett. As I have said before he LOVES children and I think this picture says it all!

Even though he rolled on me, I still think he's a keeper :-)

Parelli with Paul

I had a very pleasant suprise on Family Day when I got a phone call from our friends Paul & Tina in Collingwood. They offered to pop down that afternoon and show me some basic Parelli training so that I could work on it with Rhett. Parelli is a training method that is a very natural way of working with your horse. You spend time playing games and doing fun things together. We spent a couple hours in the arena and both Rhett and I learned soooo much!

Paul is showing Rhett some of the starting points of Parelli, things that we can work on and then advance to doing these things off lead or "at liberty". Rhett did quite well and seemed to really enjoy using his mind as well as his body. Thanks Paul for taking the time to teach an old dog (me) some new tricks!

Hanging out

I am now an official employee of Paden Farms! I work on Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays. I clean out the barn, water and hay the horses and I LOVE it! Best job I've ever had. I got lot's of good experience at TTC for this - shovelling shit! tee hee. Honestly though, its a great job. I get a workout, and a real sense of accomplishment when I'm done and the barn looks great! Besides I get to see Rhett even more. Kaeleb joins me if I'm not finished my chores when he's done school on Tues/Thurs. Fridays he's there the whole time. Right now its hard on him because the area of the barn where I work isn't heated although its not cold. He does get chilled cause he's not working! I have a cot which my wonderful friend Heather loaned me and a portable DVD player to keep him busy. Once the lounge is done he'll have a warm place to watch tv. The pic above is Kaeleb and Penny feeding Rhett and TJ! I'll make farmers out of my boys yet!
Daelin loves to come to the barn. He doesn't get to be there nearly as often as Kaeleb but he'll get his share this summer when he's off school! He really enjoys Rhett although he's still not used to being around such a large animal. Hopefully once I get Rhett going under saddle I'll be able to get the boys riding as well.

This picture of Daelin and Rhett is one of my favourites! Rhett really seems to have a true love of children, he just can't resist them. Daelin was hanging out at the jump because having Rhett at liberty was making him a little nervous. Rhett came right over and was nudging him, almost like he was trying to say it was ok we're buddies! or maybe they are telling secrets, who knows!!

Rhett in his new home

Rhett has adapted to life in his new home quite well. Who wouldn't? He's living in the lap of luxury :-) in another month all the renovations will be done on the barn. Right now we have the use of a beautiful, huge indoor arena (which I've never had!), there will be wash stalls! (perfect, I can keep my WHITE horse CLEAN!), laundry facilities! a heated tack room, lounge with TV (which will be handy for the kids when I'm working) heck, I should just move into the barn!
The first few times I took Rhett into the arena I just let him run at liberty to see what he did, what he liked etc. After checking a few things out he'd run over to the pony pens and flirt with the girls...

He truly is a handsome boy!

Picking up a new horse

We picked up Rhett on Sunday February 3, 2008. We were late leaving Penny's so by the time we got to Uxbridge it was dark. The interior lights weren't working in Penny's trailer so we loaded Rhett up in the dark. He loaded up fine. No problems. I tied him off and left him to his hay. Thankfully Penny had a camera in the trailer so that we could see what he was doing the whole way home. That really made it easier as I find it very stressful to trailer a horse! Other than some pulling when we first got started, he settled down and was quiet for the ride home.

He backed off the trailer easily and had a welcoming committee of Richard and the boys! We took Rhett into the barn to meet everyone. All the horses were in so it was a major check everyone out session! Above is a picture of Rhett getting to know one of his new neighbours.

The boys loved him right away. He seems to really love children as well. We couldn't really spend too much time with him since it was getting late. We still had to take him to his outside pen and introduce him to his new pasture mate TJ. I was praying that they'd get along since it was already almost 8:0opm. I would have to stay at the barn until they settled down and I knew he'd be ok for the night...

You'd almost think that he and TJ knew each other! There was no displaying, no arguing, nothing! They sniffed each other a few times and then decided to share a bale of hay!

I really couldn't believe how smoothly things had gone! I find moving horses very stressful and really didn't think it would go off without a hitch! I went home and actually got some sleep! Unlike the nights leading up to all of this!

The Innocent Google Search....

What started as an innocent Google search on "Ontario Horse Breeders" turned into me finding my next horse. The culmination of events and signs following that search were incredible! I ended up on a website that helps people advertise/sell their horses. Looking at a picture of a Black & White horse with a child on its back, the description said it was a Quarter Horse Mare for $1000. The colour was right (I'd always wanted a B&W coloured horse), the price was right but I wasn't really looking for a mare. Thought I'd go check out the bio anyways. I couldn't access the information and when I finally did I found out that it was a listing for a completely different site and horse! A gelding (which is what I preferred), Tennessee Walker (I've always dreamed of having a gaited horse), 3 year old (now that part kinda worried me) for $2850. He sounded perfect but the price was a bit high for us. I showed him to Richard in passing and I'm not even sure how it came about but next thing I knew I was making an appointment to go see him. It got cancelled a few times due to bad weather but finally I found myself driving (ok, Maureen did the driving) to Uxbridge!

When I first saw him he was in a large box stall, with his butt facing out :) He turned around, buried his face in my chest and started nibbling on my riding helmet. He seemed very sweet. He was even nudging Kaeleb as if to say "hey little buddy, look at me! I'm up here!"

When Janet took him out of his stall she warned me that he really hadn't been handled much since he came to her in September. She was also putting tack on him he'd never worn before and she was going to use a sidepull bridle (that does not have a bit) for the first time - all of this on a 3 year old horse!

He stood quietly for tacking and was led outside to be ridden. It was bitter, bitter cold with extremely high winds but he was such a trouper! I decided not to attempt to ride him since I wouldn't be able to do much with him anyways. I liked him and I wanted to make an offer (big suprise)

Leading up to this first viewing I asked Blugh for some kind of a sign that this was the right horse. Looking back to Sailor he was as close as I was going to get! (Sailor was a Saddlebred, same colour as Rhett who I really fell in love with many years ago. I had always said I'd love to have a horse like him one day!). Rhett (who was Bullet when I met him) was the right colour, but I needed more that just that! Then it hit me. This horse was in Uxbridge...I pulled out Blugh's registration papers and realized that he was registered in Uxbridge! Then I also realized that it was the 7th anniversary of his death (to make a long story short, Blugh died on the day that my first son was born. The number 7 kept coming up all through his birth right down to our room number in the hospital so it was incredible that it was coming up again now!). The other thing that really hit me was just before I went to see this horse, Penny offered me a job in her barn in exchange for board! (Penny looked after Blugh for me!) I just knew in my heart that this was my next horse...

Money was a bit of an issue. We hadn't anticipated on buying a horse until Spring and here it was only January! I called and made an offer which was pretty much flatly refused. I knew it was too low but I'm just terrible at this kind of thing. I literally felt sick when I went to bed that night. Between being chilled from being at the farm and the stress of making offers I was done for. I was starting to think this horse was going to slip through my fingers....

I made a suggestion to Richard that he go see the horse since he was going to be working in Uxbridge that week. Richard did drop by the farm, met Rhett and talked to the people who were looking after him. I was sitting in the living room with Maureen when he called. He told me that he had seen the horse, did I really want THIS horse??? When I said yes, he said, call them and offer the next price they stated. We did and the offer was accepted!

For Starters...

I want to start this blog by honouring a very special horse who played a very important role in my life. He was with me through good times and bad and as I watched him grow older I realized that life was so precious and that you should never take advantage of what you have, every day is a gift. There is a song that plays on the radio called "One More Day" and everytime I hear it I think of Blugh. What I wouldn't give to just have one more day. One more opportunity to tell him how much I loved him and how much I miss him. One more walk to the best clover patch to let him graze while I sit and just watch him. One more nuzzle, one more hug, just one more minute to feel him close to me....

It wasn't until Blugh was gone that I realized it wasn't just having a horse that was so special...it was having Blugh. Because he was so special and because we had such a fantastic bond it made sharing my life with him such an incredible experience. Even now, seven years after he went home I still miss him with all my heart and soul. I know he's here in spirit all the time and I will always love him. He was my first horse, my dream come true...but it does go much deeper than that. We've been together before and I know we'll be together again...