Friday, August 20, 2010

Part two

The ranch where I got Pinecone from is a 4,000 acre ranch in Western North Dakota. It is a place for Thoroughbreds to go after they are no longer wanted/usable by their owners and trainers. It is owned by the track vet at a track in Minnesota. The horses are allowed to spend a year out on pasture before they are available to be adopted out. But if the horse doesn’t find a home in that time he/she is allowed to stay as long as needed. Many of the horses come to the ranch with injuries. Some were too slow to race, or too scared. Some were never raced and some were seasoned pros who were just getting to old to keep racing.

Some of the horses on the ranch that weren't available for adoption yet or were personal riding horses of the owner.

It was the end of March when we made the voyage out to the ranch. I went with my boyfriend(now fiancé) and a friend from my barn who was looking for a horse too. We met the owner and he took us out to the pen with horses available for adoption. There were 40+ horses and one cow. The cow had been hiding when all the others were shipped out the last fall. It was amazing seeing all of those TBs together in one pen. They were all ages, sizes and colors but mostly dark bays. There were a handful of greys and one chestnut. The chestnut stood out like a sore thumb and he was tiny compared to all the other giant tbs.

I set out into the herd with my heart set on finding a young grey mare. I was intercepted by the chestnut gelding. He was very friendly and wouldn’t let me leave without petting him. I started walking and he started following me. I stopped he stopped. My fiancĂ© told me that I needed to take him home with me since he obviously was in love with me. I laughed and said “too bad we didn’t bring a 3 horse trailer so you could take him home!” He would have too! The grey mares were all munching on a round bale. They weren’t exactly what I had in mind. Plus they had bad attitudes towards me lol!

My little chestnut buddy! (picture my fiance took with his blackberry...he wanted this little guy)

My next “dream horse” I had in mind was a BIG solid bay mare. (I’m really not sure why I wanted a mare so bad). I had found one but she disappeared into the herd. I ended up finding another that seemed very sweet so I put a halter on her and led her up to the gate. I look over to see my friend and the owner trying to round up the horse that she wanted. She was a HUGE bay filly with a half-moon white marking on her face. That horse was full of life and raring to go! The opposite of the mare I had on my lead line haha. The owner asked me what my plans for my horse was and told me that she was sound but her knees were going to be funny looking (I am forgetting all of the technical things that he told me…) I decided that she wasn’t the horse for me. Good news for that mare though, she was adopted that very same day by a young girl and her mother!

So I took one more look at the herd of scruffy beasts, I saw a sad, sad sight. It was the chestnut gelding. He was all alone in a corner and had his head down looking defeated. My heart melted and I went up and put a halter on him and brought him to the gate. I asked what his story was. The owner told me that his name was Pine Bend and he had come to the track from Arizona. He was retired due to a suspensory ligament injury and that he was in such bad shape after his last race he couldn’t make it off the track by himself. The horse ambulance had to come and take him off. When he stepped off the trailer at the Ranch he was in very bad shape but was now sound and shouldn’t have any problems in the future. For some reason “Piney” had been there for 2 years. No one wanted to adopt him. The owner was completely puzzled as to why since he said that He was the sweetest most personable horse he’d ever fostered. I asked the owner if he’d be sound for dressage and maybe some jumping and he said “of course!” I had my new horse!!

My new horse!

Horses from the ranch come with some rules though 1) horses are never to be raced again 2) If the horse doesn’t work out for you, bring him back and we can find you another that suits you better. Just please don’t bring him to auction 3) the horses are either trained to race or not trained at all. So please don’t unload them from the trailer tonight and put a saddle on him and expect to ride. It’s going to take some work. 4) He (the owner) will be come and do his teeth and a check up on the horse for free in the next year. (he is one of the handful of vetarnarians in the united states who specializes in equine dentistry and has a custome mobile equine dental office made out of a horse trailer)

My friends mare getting her tattoo checked to find out who she was.

We brought the horses up to the trailer and just to be sure we had a safe loading experience he tranquilized both horses for us. A nice little cocktail to make the first leg of the trip easier.

Are we there yet?

Sleepy pony!

Quit taking pictures of me!
We said our good byes and I’m sure I said thank you one million times. And headed home. It was a long trip and we encountered ever type of weather imaginable. We got home about 10:30 pm and unloaded the new monsters. Pinecone hopped out easily, the mare…was a bit more of a handful. We lead them in through the arena and let them stretch their legs. The barn owner oohed and awed over them and we gave Pinecone his first treat…which was promptly spit out. He didn’t realize how awesome treats were yet.

We put him in his new stall and he kept his eyes glued to me. if I got to far from him he would call out to me and everyone would laugh.he’s a lover that’s for sure.

Since this is becoming a novel I'll save the rest of the story about the begining of our lives together in part 3.

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