Happy New Year! I hope you had great holidays so far and are looking towards another awesome year and journey with horses. I have much to look forward to as Ohana farm continues to unfold. I am busy visualizing the year ahead and celebrating what came to fruition in 2014.
Many of you were very intrigued by the last blog about Brio and her person and wanted to read the next installment right away! So without further delay here it is:
Brio’s owner writes:
“At the end of my first blog, I wrote that I was committed to Brio. I often wondered — as did my friends — why I was committed to a horse who had deliberately hurt me – more than once. Initially, I was committed to her in the way that a mother is committed to an unborn or soon-to-be adopted child. She was a hope, an ideal that I carried within for years before I actually met her in the flesh.
A pasture injury had necessitated that I retire my first horse just as we were hitting our stride in our third career together: dressage. A Morab not much taller than a large pony, Santana had been at the center of my life as together we graduated from cross rails to preliminary Eventing then walk-trot to first level dressage. Unable to part with my best friend, I formulated a plan: she would come live with me at the tiny farm my husband and I set up, and I would purchase another horse after I felt confident I could assume that financial responsibility. I continued riding Santana after she came back sound, but stopped lessons and focused on working extra hours to save money. More than a couple of years of delayed gratification and self-sacrifice for Santana’s well-being convinced me that the universe had tipped the scales in my favor as I began my search for my next Perfect Partner: a sound, athletic mare who would be respectful of Santana’s status as alpha mare, be sane enough to be able to be ridden in my back field and trailer to my friend’s indoor for winter riding. We would learn dressage together and progress through the levels.
My search lasted nearly two years, during which time I inquired about approximately eighty horses, sat on a few dozen and drove all over New York and New England. My total inability to locate a sound young thoroughbred or Warmblood cross put an end to my initial plan to return to Eventing, so I turned my sights to dressage prospects. Unable to afford a trained Warmblood, I decided to purchase a filly, thinking that my experience training and marketing a couple of green-broke prospects from a local auction would qualify me for handling a baby.
My first glimpse of Brio was on a sales video of another horse I was interested in moving at liberty in her pasture. She drew my attention because she was small and was trying to avoid confrontation with the larger, flashier, more dominant mare featured on the video. This behavior made me think she would let Santana continue to be the boss she had always been. A subsequent video showcasing Brio presented her standing calmly in the barn aisle for the first time as her tail was being brushed. When my trainer and I met her at the breeding farm, our initial reaction was surprise at how short her front cannon bones were. This had not been apparent in the videos, but made sense given her jumper bloodlines. She had excellent bone, a powerful hind end and perfect legs and feet – “built for soundness,” my trainer said. She lacked the suspension and reach of the other prospects – hot geldings who were out of my price range anyway — but she had three correct gaits, and my trainer pointed out that hers was the best canter. She was also the only horse that wasn’t panicking because of the snow falling off the roof. The breeders assured us she was the darling of the barn, the “angel baby.” I met her pregnant dam, who came waddling over to amicably drop her head and lick my hand – a trademark Brio gesture – and readily agreed to trot for us on the longe. We liked what we saw, and my trainer’s words of advice were “she’s not the flashiest mover, but she’s correct, you won’t have any soundness problems with her, and temperament is so important to you. She’s the only horse here that’s appropriate for you.”
At the pre-purchase exam, her demeanor was so calm that the vet tech asked if they really needed to tranquilize her for the radiographs. They did, as a matter of course, and when the vet called to tell me that everything looked perfect and said “You’re getting a
nice horse,” I considered myself blessed. The day that my husband and I brought her home to live with us was one of the milestones of my life. I had worked countless extra hours and driven endless miles to find the horse that would be Santana’s successor as my lifelong partner. The ideal I had carried within for so long was now a reality…”
It is time for our annual exercise of reflecting on the last 12 months and how far you have come and looking towards the next 12 months and where you want to go. Let me know in your comments about your 2014 year and waht you see for 2015.