Friday, July 2, 2010

Who'd a thunk?

Well, things have definitely changed in my world. Four weeks ago today I gave birth to a baby boy, Jake. Hubby and I still look at each other and say; “I can’t believe we’re parents!” Many of my friends say the same, they would have sooner believed I’d cut off my left leg. I was always the dog or horse girl, depending on which crowd I was hanging with at the moment, the horsaii or the serious dog people.

But here I am with a baby. I stand rocking little Jake in the upstairs dormer window right now and point out the window. “That pale dun pony is yours, and the big buckskin over there… he’s mine. We are going to have so much fun together as you grow.”

A few years back now I started doing endurance with a leased Gotland mare. I met the breed when I moved in next to Canada’s biggest Russ breeder. Some of the other Gotland owners had wanted to try Endurance for years and so I went along. I got hooked immediately. I worked really hard and used Willow for two seasons, until it really became an exercise in endurance for me. I had to endure her mare-ish behaviour just to try to complete a ride.

During this time, I received an excellent xmas present from hubby; he would pay for stud fee and all associated costs to breed a Gotland foal. I decided that I wanted a more usable horse and so I talked it over with the Gotland owner, and she agreed to breed to a stallion of another breed. I was hoping for more size and improve some conformational weaknesses. We found a beautiful Spanish Colonial Horse Stud (ranch-bred Spanish Mustang), Silvertip.

Luckily, things turned out well. She has all the good points of both parents. But I have learned my lesson; I will never breed again, hoping to get a certain outcome. It is too much of a crapshoot. I had hoped for a colt, maturing around 14h, darkish in colour. Instead I got a short (likely top out at 13.2h), pale (silver dunskin), FILLY! Not more mares!! Horrors!

But it turned out ok. I became pregnant. And right away hubby said “you’re gonna need a different horse, Narra is going to be the kid’s pony”

I said OK. Isn’t he amazing?

But the timetable for getting the new horse was sped up, as Willow went back home to the breeder and Narra was living alone. She became a real handful! And I couldn’t correct her properly as I was too cautious around the horses in my pregnant state. She took shameless advantage.

So I began looking for a new horse. My criteria list was long. I wanted a youngish gelding, 14.2h to 15.3h max, even tempered; kind, willing, calm. I wanted a very forward horse that I wouldn’t have to push all the time for Endurance and Competitive Trail. I wanted good clean legs and well kept, hard feet (I do endurance without shoes). He needed to have great conformation, in that I wanted him to hold up for years at my chosen sport. I wanted a lighter build horse, so he would cool easier and not tire as quickly. After meeting Rachel’s Walkers, I was looking for a Tennessee Walker. They had the temperament and as I saw could do the sport.

Then I got an email from a woman in Alberta. And I fell in love with my dream horse. He is a gelding. But he is just turned two (two years before I can ride and compete on him). And he is an Akhal Teke Sporthorse (crossed with Arab). He was a really great price. Heck, I could probably put a bit of training into him and sell him for MORE than he cost me (training included). Unheard of! But I won’t. I love him already.

He plays with the filly, and has gotten her straightened out already.

I like her again. And I just stand there to watch him move. He is exquisite. I like the cross with the Arab, makes him better looking. While I am one of the few who actually likes the look of a purebred Teke (the equine greyhound/ snake look), the Arab blood does make him more appealing to the average person. I cannot wait to begin riding him… in a year. Sigh. He still looks so immature. I have many dreams of our future riding career together. I want to get serious about the endurance. I want to make it on the Manitoba team for the Nationals one year. I want to compete in at least one low level dressage show with him, just for fun.

But right now, right now, I am dreaming other things. As I hold Jake, I see a beautiful spring morning. Bright green spring grass and flowers on the wild cranberry bushes along the trail. And me and young Jake, riding The Big Guy and Narra on the trail, just enjoying the spring air.

The future is looking great.

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