Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Equine on My Mind

Well, it's done.

A few weeks ago I took a cold harsh look at myself and my horse situation (I had not ridden my horse in a sorry year) and decided things had to change. Details are blogged about HERE

The transition is now complete. Both of my horses went to The Kankakee State Park Riding Stables where they will be given the jobs they deserve. Thank you Bob and Casey for seeing the potential in both my steeds.  Gus was delivered by us 10 days ago and the Nora was picked up here Sunday night by her new owner.

VERY SPECIAL thanks to Bob who worked with Nora for no less than 3 hours to get her convinced she could ride in a small trailer.  Nora may have been "free" but Bob paid for her dearly in time and a several removed skin layers from his hands as she ever so gently yanked that lead rope through them over and over. .

Even in the midst of a very sweaty evening as Bob brought her forward, backed her up, circled her, stood her on her head (her choice really) , he never lost his temper and he commented several times about Nora's beauty. I will miss her but I believe she is going to a good home.

Beautiful Stubborn Nora

So in between Gus's and Nora's leaving, a new gal came to the ranch. Not the Rocky Mountain Horse I was looking for but still a gaited horse as I needed. Please give a warm welcome to Ennis !

Hello Ennis, So Long, Bone-Jarring
Quarterhorse Gaits.
Purchased from Mary S., Ennis is a Missouri Fox Trotter, another of the Gaited type horses I knew I had to have in order for me and my ridiculous back to ride comfortably. Her registered name is Bo's Rockaway Baby Doll and her barn name was "Josie" but I wanted a new name for her, in the name of change you know.
I tried out several until I landed on Ennis, the name of a village in County Clare, Ireland not too far from the village of Doolin, the namesake of our miniature Donkey. Poor Doolin, he is so confused. Horses coming and going at all hours of the day and night. I caught him rifling through all his bill of sale papers last night desperately looking for that clause he thinks he saw about being able to stay  here for life. Being the ass he is I don't mind watching him sweat a little. Now back to the new girl...
Ennis is different.
This picture makes her look slimmer than she is.
Remind me to get on all fours for my next photo
She is well trained.
In the past, being younger and less bright I always bought horses not quite finished. Horses with "potential" The potential to kick, the potential to run, the potential to fall asleep while you rode them, all kinds of potential. Some of those horses worked out fine, my old Johnny that we owned for 13 years until we put him down at age 28 was one of them. Nora and I went the farthest as far as training together, even attending a professional clinic with Chris Cox two years ago.
But still she needed lots more work and due to our very intense farm growth, that just didn't happen.
Enter Ennis who comes from a home where the owner herself is well trained. It was evident in the first five minutes of my visit that Mary had put in hours and hours of work with this fine creature. An amazing woman, she pretty much interviewed me when I first looked at her horse. And she wanted us to trail ride together to make sure her horse and I were a good match. I was thrilled when she agreed to sell her to me! So different from buying a horse from a horse trader who kicks the animals tires a few times and seems in a rush to get your money before the horse bites your arm off.
Now home for almost two weeks, Ennis and I are are bonding. I have given myself permission to be with her often instead of feeling guilty when I spent time with the equines as I did in the past. Every day is new fun stuff. Ground games mixed with wet blanket rides. She is beginning to test me a little which means I am asking her to do more each ride and as she learns I may be soft but not a pushover, her respect grows as does mine.
I am still finding all her bells and whistles and she is loaded with them. She walks alongside me at my speed, slowing as I do, speeding up as I do. She backs with a look and a step (mine). She is free of all tail swishing or side stepping as I saddle her.   She picks up all four feet without a fuss or the need to have 911 pre-dialed on your cell phone. She lowers he head for bridling, she lounges around me like a butterfly instead of using the centrifugal force as a takeoff spot for a launch across the pasture.
Ennis nickers when I come outside.
I am horse happy again. Her downfall?  Well, she's tall. Very tall. Mounting and dismounting is a challenge. But I'll save that for another post. In the meantime if anyone has an extra cheery picker sitting around unused, send it my way. OK?


  1. She's a beauty. Hope her shock absorbers are in order.

  2. As I know nothing about horses at all, can you explain why a gaited horse is different to ride?

    Ennis does look beautiful, and I'm glad you found a good home for your previous two. At least you know they will be well cared for.

  3. Donna...this is a bittersweet post and I know you are sorry to lose your two steeds, but they will be happy where they are. And congrats on your new lovely. Some of us can only look from afar and sigh ::: :)

  4. I've never ridden a Missouri Fox Trotter, but I love my Tennessee Walking Horses. We recently got a cute pony for our grandkids, and when I watch her trot I exclaim "Look at that extended trot!" and think how lovely it must be to ride--for a kid, not me! I'm done trotting, too!

    I've been forbidden to ride for the past 9 months because of being on blood thinners (coming off now, hooray!) I'm sorry to say my older TWH mare has gotten so fat that she doesn't gait, much less canter. She "troddles." That's a combination between trot & waddle! I'll give it a week to get my blood back to normal, then I'm going to get on her and make her gait again! Nothing like it!

    I know you'll love your Fox Trotter! Please keep us up to date with how you two are getting on.

  5. My dear wife came off at speed about two weeks ago, and is still suffering. Horses are not flavour of the month chez Cro!

    Ennis looks 'lively'.

  6. Oh she's a beauty. Good, that You found a new home for Your previous horses. I had my horse for 24 years before she died. I still miss her.

  7. Is it for fun too Donna or is it cos you have a ranch and use her to round up cattle etc?

  8. What a beauty! Ennis is a perfect name for such a lovely horse.

    p.s. I love my new soap order!

  9. This started out (or so I thought) to be a sad post. Not so! Sounds like everything worked out for the best and I hope Nora adjusts quickly. Ennis sounds like the perfect horse for you.

  10. MBJ, her undercarrige is perfect. Whish I could say the same.

    Rusty. A gaited horse has a much smoother stride so when she trots I don't scream.

    Zan. If you really wanted a horse....I beleive you'll find a way...Now, I owe you a phone call. Lest connect tomorrow eh? (Saturday)

    Zephyr...Nine months. To long. Yes, I'll keep you up to date. I am totally obessed with Ennis

    Cro. I do hope Mrs C is healing allright. Horse are flight creatures for sure. Especially the females. No surprise

    Lorna. I have Ennis because she is cheaper than therapy, well some days she is. I do plan to do some cattle work with her but she is not trained for that yet.

    Susan. :Ennis" is a lovely village in County Clare, in the west of Ireland. A favorite place of mine

    Leigh. So far so good. I finally got smart enough to buy a horse that was better trained than I was