“10 yo Arab mare, bay, 15h $800”
No picture. No video. No idea why I called the phone number, set up a date to see her or drive the hour to do so.
But I did.
I could say that I made a mistake. She was 150lbs underweight, belly bloated with worms, huge chunks of hair missing, hooves grown over shoes that hadn’t been taken off in over a year and a very shut down attitude towards the world.
In the early days I swore I made a mistake. I left the barn in tears more often than not. I tried my hardest to get her to do anything. Even just walk. But she wouldn’t. She’d stand perfectly still while I nudged, clicked, tapped with a crop, kicked, yelled. Not a hair would flinch on her body. And then right when I gave up trying, she’d bolt wildly around all crazy.
Not necessarily safe but not mean either. She just had no interest in pleasing me at all.
The best thing I did was move to WI away from the prying eyes and pieces of advice of only partly sane horse people. Once there she was housed in my backyard (we had a sweet set up of renting the second house on a boarding facility until we got evicted when the land owner gambled our monthly rent away and the property was foreclosed on) and I had all the time in the world to slowly work with her and show her that I wasn’t going to leave or ask her to do anything unfair.
It took until year three of our time together before she let me in. Then everything changed.
In the last eight years Gem has taken me from clueless, but loving horse owner who was mostly a passenger to a much more educated, independent horsewoman and an active, thinking rider. It hasn’t always been fun. It’s likely never going to be pretty. But it has been worth every second of effort I’ve put into her.
Part of me wishes I had blogged at the beginning but mostly I’m glad I didn’t. I’m sure everyone would have just told me to sell her back then and what a shame it would have been to lose out on all these experiences.
Gem went from not able to walk under saddle to bolting madly to having a trainer tell me she’d never be able to canter to becoming a 100 mile endurance horse cantering the first 30 plus miles nearly straight and is now jumping 2′ fences and schooling over starter sized cross country fences.
She isn’t easy but neither am I. I think we do okay together and even with all my complaining on here about her I have no interest in looking at the world through any other ears. Here is to many more years with my Gemmiecakes!