One year ago in this moment, I was cozied up under the covers, in bed, anticipating the day to come. The excitement, the newness, the feeling of euphoria! I couldn’t wait to ride tomorrow, to zip on my boots and finally get back in the saddle. Something changed in my overall demeanor, and the reason came with an all too familiar sweet, musty, nose-tingling, heart-warming smell…. You see, one year ago today (well, yesterday really- just after midnight over here) I was giddy like a young, awkward, horse-obsessed tweenie– I finally brought home my second-ever horse!
An off the track thoroughbred (OTTB- for those of you who don’t know the lingo) was a horse that I’d always wanted but didn’t have. Having learned to ride at a local Hunter/Jumper barn who also bred thoroughbreds for racing, I learned just how special an OTTB can be. The heart, the ambition, the goofiness, and the overly-stunning good looks! What’s not to love? And when it was finally time to buy a second-ever horse I knew an OTTB is what it would be!
Having looked at ads all summer, ridden horses, watched videos, asked others for critique, I couldn’t find what I was looking for! There were so many ads with so many quality horses. So much room for potential, but nothing really felt right. I had an image of the perfect horse in my mind. Gelding. No major vices. Must be sound. Quiet demeanor. War-horse type. No bigger than 16.2hh. Green okay. Bay. Star-stripe-snip combo, or big blaze. A few white socks for some extra flash. Alright, I get it, down to the color, I realize these requirements are asking for a lot!
I kept searching and searching, waiting and dreaming, hoping and looking. Alas! A 16hh-ish, off the track thoroughbred, minimally restarted, bay horse with two back socks and a big bit of white on his face, even better, his nose! The ad says he’s been lightly restarted and a perfect gentleman. I’m dying, in love- the kicker, though, is he was in Kentucky. I’m in Michigan. Too far, back to looking unfortunately. I really wanted to go see him but I followed suite to one of my favorite sayings, “Keep on keepin’ on.” So I kept on (keeping on means you can still pull up his ad and dream right?!).
Nothing. Nothing. Oh cute! Nothing. Flipping through ads over and over. So many cute horses, but nothing feels right until… a friend of mine tags me in that perfect horses ad! This wasn’t just any friend, but the friend who offered to help me retrain my new horse, the friend with the ride, the trailer. Okay, well if she’s willing to go to Kentucky and back, this just might work…
So needless to say we made the trip for the perfect horse I’d been dying for. The horse whose ad I had been secretly drooling over for months before! Having worked until midnight the night before, I had a nap under my belt when we left at 4 am. When we finally made it, we were greeted by a friendly, smiling young woman who gladly showed us around the barn. After a little lunging, riding, then lunging again, followed by some talking, we loaded him up and made the long haul back! I couldn’t have been more excited!!
So, here we are, one year later, and here I am, cozied under the covers reflecting the past year with the amazing partner I get to call my own. My heart still warms, my nose still tingles, and I still act like the giddy, horse-obsessed twenty-something gal who unloaded that amazing little gelding in Michigan with butterflies in her stomach! This year has proved to me that my instinct was right on the money, I really do have the perfect little second-ever horse.
Happy one year, Hamlet, Hammy, Bip, my perfect little bay horse, because everyone needs a little sweet with their sass!! (Hamlet pictured nearly one year ago with his new Baker halter deciding if he likes the Michigan snow or not!)