Monday, December 5, 2022

My Kingdom for a Horse!

I'm excited to write about my latest adventure!

So a little background.  I have never owned a horse but I was raised around them.  When I was a toddler, my dad did some electrical work for his sister who had a farm and she gave him a Morgan colt as payment.  My oldest sister owned this horse until he crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 1995.  He was in his mid 20s.  Which meant I spent a LOT of time with him, since she often took me to the barn with her.  Sis1 and Nibbs taught me a lot.  She has always had at least one horse since. 

Growing up, sticks and fences were always imaginary horses, I filled notebooks with sketches.  I read every horse book I could find at the library. I had horse collectibles from all over the place. When I was in high school, I decided I was going to raise & train horses, marry a 90 year old millionaire and never have kids (you see how well that turned out!)  I even planned on going to a college in Ohio that had an equestrian program, I had been accepted there and everything!

Then I saw a Navy recruiter in the hallway at school and that changed the course of my life. 

Me just after graduation, with hair already cut for bootcamp, with the neighbor's horse.  


Many moons went by.  In February 2018, a friend told Sis1 about the Sheriff's department starting up a search & rescue team and she was interested.  She asked if I wanted to go with her to the informational meeting, for moral support.  I live in a neighboring county but thought it would be interesting.  My ears definitely perked up when the Lt in charge said they would even consider applicants from neighboring counties if they met all the criteria and passed the background check.  I figured I would apply, the worst they could do is tell me no!

Needless to say, that's how Sis1 and I joined the Lapeer County SAR team.  As we were filling out our applications, there was a page for the mounted team.  Sis1 at the time had 2 horses - she leaned over and asked which one I wanted to use!   She had just acquired Remington, so I figured she would want to use him, so I said I'd take Kisses. 
at our first event in the public.
Kisses is a 19 year old Arab/Saddlebred mare

Time went on and the mounted division never really developed much.  It started out with a lot of people, but as they realized how much non-horsey training was actually required to be on the SAR team, they dropped out.  Sis1 and I stuck around.  We had the horses, but no horse trailer.  That was a problem for us, since we couldn't really get anywhere for training.  Then one day, I got a message from our director telling me that I'd been nominated to be the mounted division team lead.  I thought that was hilarious, since out of the few of us left, I was the only one without my own horse!  I didn't seriously think about it until I talked with Sis1.  Things looked up for a while, since we did purchase a trailer but Kisses developed issues with her front legs.  She's feeling much better now but I personally will never ride her again.  I always felt like I was too big for her, even tho she's tall - she's dainty.   As she's getting older, her Arab is showing more. 

Sis1 currently has 3 horses.  Kisses - now a pasture puff, Ghost - a former race horse and Scout - a 4 year old Quarter horse she got from one of the guys on the SAR team.  Ghost is a bit too much horse for what she really wants.  She wants a quiet, mellow horse that she can just get on and enjoy the ride.  Scout fits that bill nicely.  Ghost is a nice horse, and very pretty, but he needs a lot of time & attention & basically something to do.   

One day she mentioned something in passing about me getting my own horse.  I didn't even catch what she'd said until later!  So we talked about it and of course I had a chat with the Spouse about it.  He thought it made sense!  She plans to find a nice new home for Ghost, then I will seriously start looking.  Sis1 recommended a rescue and I see the benefit since they all seem to spend a lot of time rehabbing the horses they acquire and make sure they're sound & healthy before going thru a lot of trouble to make sure they go to a good home.  In fact one I was looking at wanted descriptions/pictures of the barn, fence, outdoor shelter, the current horses, and asked a lot of questions including the vet & farrier!   I have no problem with any of that.

So I'm likely going to go the draft horse route. They're stout and usually very calm.  We haven't had much use for horses on the SAR team, there's really only been twice that they were called for.  But they come in handy for public events.  Ideally I'd like one that's half draft, but all of what I'm seeing are the real deal.    

Belgian horse image grabbed from Google

They're also very tall.  The height of a horse is measured in hands (or 4 inches) at the withers or that bump at the bottom of the mane. One I was looking at was 17 hands tall.  Basically its back was as tall as me and I'm sure really wide, too.   That may be a wee bit too big!  Although I'd love to ride on something that big once. 

Anyhoo.  That's my back story on the latest adventure I'm embarking upon.  It's not just a mid-life crisis to make the little girl I used to be happy.  It's for a legit reason - and one that I'm excited to begin!