Before you begin, you may want to grab a cuppa cha (tea) and put your tootsies up, this one is a little long 🙂
All set?.. okay, groovy.. here we go.. (insert wavy flashback scene and music here) *SMILE*
One day a few years ago, I learned of a horse that was headed to the kill pen in two days if no one took her. Of course, my heart broke but, all I could do was pray. My husband was a copier technician and well.. needless to say, copier techs are not rich by any stretch of the imagination.
We had limited income and were already taking care of some expenses for Lady Pony like vet, farrier, teeth etc. So it was that left us with little to spare. While driving to the barn that day, I started telling my husband about this horse that the barn owner told me about and asked him to pray that she ends up in a good situation. He listened and then said, “Lets get her”. I literally stopped breathing for a second, then said, “Oh no! I did not tell you about this so that we could buy her I am simply asking you to pray.” He replied, “Well honey, we’ve been talking about rescuing horses for a long time now. I think it’s time to stop talking and start doing.”
I sat there stunned for a minute. I found myself making arguments against saving this animal because of limited income etc.. My husband, however, went right on ignoring me and my reasoning. Instead, he made pleas on behalf of this mare that he had never met and to top it all off, he’s not the horse person! I am!
So it was, that upon getting to the barn, I asked the barn owner, if she could contact this broker and get more information. She had already had some dealings with him and thought that he was pretty honest. (A rarity in the horse world). She called and spoke to him at length with the broker’s wife in the background cautioning that this horse had, this and that issue, hates being tied, saddled, rears, it’s not for a beginner, a real “B” word etc.. but they’ll take $450.00 for her if we want to come & see her.
The barn owner thought that the wife may be exaggerating as the broker assured her that this horse was indeed not for a beginner but, was not as bad as the wife made her out to be.
We decided that we would at least go and see her. We made arrangements with the barn owner to drive out there with her truck and horse trailer hitched up just in case we decided that we would be coming back with her.
So after withdrawing $450.00 from our account, we discovered that we were left with .10 cents to manage for another week! I was getting more and more uncertain of the wisdom of this potential transaction. I forged ahead trusting God and my husband’s leading and went out to see this horse that I heard so much conflicting information about.
During the trip, I stared out the window and prayed that God would guide our decision making and give us wisdom.
We arrived at the broker’s place and there she was, a sorrel and white paint. She looked like nothing special but she did have striking markings. She was tied to a post, standing quietly.
Hmm I thought. Yes, the wife was exaggerating. The broker quickly saddled her up but made an offhand comment that she had not been ridden in about six days so “it ought to be a rodeo”. I thought, OK not building my confidence here Mr. horse broker but, I appreciated the honesty none the less.
He mounted her and she stepped off quietly at a walk. He put her through her paces and she only popped up a little at the end of a canter when he pulled her up to a stop. I thought, perhaps it was a teeth or bit issue which could be easily remedied.
As I watched him ride, it appeared that she was green broke and she was confused at some of what he was asking her to do. He rode her in a straight line up and down a pathway. She turned mechanically and with some hesitation, for which I again mentally blamed the bit or her teeth. He stepped off of her and before I could really discuss anything, ask for more time to think about it etc.. the barn owner was handing over my $450.00 and agreeing to the sale!
< Now on this piece, my husband and I remember this event a little differently > Apparently, my husband recalls verbally agreeing to buy her but, in my recollection, I was still hashing it over in my mind.
In any event..
Well.. okay.. I thought, I guess we just bought a horse. She followed me right onto the trailer without hesitation, at which the broker seemed a little upset and made some muttered comments that he and his brother in law spent 3 hours getting her onto a trailer etc..
She stood still and was calm for the entire ride. I could not help but think about the look of mixed emotions in her eyes. The dullness with just a shadow of fear and a hint of hope of being saved. I knew then that she must have been given a calming agent and I silently waited for the storm to happen.
I did not need to wait long, a day or two after being calm and sedate, she literally broke through the concrete stall and tore down all of the boards that made up the the front wall and in the process, nearly ran over the barn owner’s husband who was in the middle of feeding.
I received a frantic call from a fellow boarder and the barn owner’s daughter. They told me what happened and that I needed to come get my horse. They said, after busting through the stall, she ran out of the barn and was now running around and they are not going to go near that crazy animal!
My husband and I got in the car and drove to the barn. There she was, grazing on the little patches of grass in the front yard. As we pulled up in the car and approached the gate, she calmly walked right up to us and nickered softly. She allowed us to catch her easily.
Wow.. ok.. I did not expect that at all. I expected a game of catch me if you can at the very least. We decided to let her graze a bit while we went to look at the damage to the stall. We cleaned up the mess, spilled buckets, hay, dirty bedding and spent that evening rebuilding it.
Again, she was easy to catch and she allowed us to put her halter on. We put her in the newly rebuilt stall without any problems. We gave her some feed, hay and fresh water. Stayed for a little bit to make sure she was not going to try and break out again. When we were satisfied that all was well, we left.
A few days later, the barn owner told me that she needed a gate over her stall door. She came down in the morning to feed and found my horse half in and half out of the stall. She had apparently reared up in her stall and got her front legs caught over the stall door.
I ordered the gate and installed it as soon as it came. A few days later, she broke the stall down again.
I started working with her and lunging her in the corral. Doing basic ground work to see what she knew. She knew very little of what I was asking her to do. When she got tired of working, she broke from lunging and charged inward at me with ears back and teeth bared.
That only earned her more work. So as I made her work harder, she then tried a new trick, to corner me in the corral and kick my head in. I ducked and rolled under the fence. I thought that’s it! I quit! This horse is insane! She is going back on a stinking trailer! I labeled her an outlaw horse and wrote her off and gave thanks that I was not emotionally attached to her yet.
When my husband came to pick me up from the barn that day, I told him what happened and of my decision to get rid of the crazy animal. As it turned out the broker’s wife was not exaggerating.
My husband calmly said to me, “I have never known you to give up on anything”
There went my anger, my frustration and my determination to rid myself of this “orangutan” as she was now dubbed by everyone at the barn and even by the barn up the road!
I studied, consulted, studied some more.
I even dug around and made many phone calls trying to learn more about her history. I came to learn very little other than the fact that she was mainly used as a broodmare and that the man that owned her previously used to abuse her with a broom handle. A vet confirmed this when a rectal exam revealed deep fissures and scar tissues. The vet had to sedate her to even to get close enough to examine her properly. I called the vet out because, I noticed she had some blood in her manure and seemed to have a hard time with bowel movements. My heart went out to her in a new and fresh way.
I had my challenge set before me, I was going to be victorious!
I decided I was going to try some new approaches with her. I prayed and then saddled her up for a ride. She reared and bucked, twisted & bulled. I stayed on (Thank God) – and thus earned the nickname “Krazy Glue Butt” or “Liquid Nails Butt” … 🙂
Anyway, Pogo was peeved! Right or wrong, I started to feel a sense of amusement come over me not anger or fear. I calmly told her that if she bucked me off, she’d earned it. She turned her head to look at me and with a look of resignation, walked calmly off.
EUREKA! we achieved a break through that day. I continued to work steadily with her and teaching her ground manners, lunging and working off of hand and leg commands. Worked on despooking her and other fear and trust issues.
Even after all of that, she still had some issues. So much so that the barn owner’s daughter asked to take her out riding into the park bareback. She was an experienced rider so I agreed. She told me later on, after the ride, that she was feeling down and decided, as she put it, “it seemed like a good day to die”.
It turned out that Pogo was very well behaved and did not do anything wrong! So the training was indeed sticking with her and she was learning to trust more & more! I was so very glad that she was coming around.
Now my beginner husband is riding her after she had not been ridden in about 10 months due to a sciatic nerve issue I have been suffering with for some time now.
So needless to say, I am very happy that I allowed my husband to lead and did not quit! She is now an important part of our family and ministry.
It just goes to show you, to truly trust in the Lord’s leading and don’t quit so easily! I am fully aware of the fact that if my husband had listened to me and allowed me to give up on this beautiful creature, she would have been shipped to slaughter and destroyed.
Thank you for reading! All the best and God Bless!
Patti (Yeshuazgirl) and proud horse momma of Pogo 🙂
By the way, the barn owner named her Pogo because, she used to rear up and down like she was on a pogo stick. Now we just call her Pretty Girl Po’ 🙂