Friday, June 13, 2008

What the HELL have I done?

Anyone with half a brain and a modicum of sense would, at this point, be asking, "What?! You bought a horse without ever having actually lain eyes on it, much less ridden it? Are you CRAZY?" Well, there WAS a photo but yeah, pretty much. I talked to my husband and wonderful man that he is, he said I should go for it. Little did either of us know. Crazy? Impulsive? NAIVE?? Even I can't believe I did it, and I've been living with the consequences of my own actions for 56 years.

As is sometimes the case when adopting a child, we were not prepared for the arrival of this very large bundle of joy. Fortunately, the guy who owned him offered to keep him until I was in a position to take possession. What followed was weeks and weeks of hard work, and lots and lots of money to finish securing the perimeter of the property and collecting the various supplies and equipment. About 75% of the land was fenced with pipe and cable. As a temporary solution, we had a gate made and cross fenced just in back of the house with T-posts and hot fence, which effectively gave us 2.5 enclosed acres. We didn't have the money or the time to cross fence around the house, meaning the animal could literally walk up to the front and side doors if he so chose. The existing fence configuration was not readily conducive to doing so either, and we decided to play
it by ear, hoping we didn't have a destructive one on our hands (BTW, we lucked out).

Meanwhile, every chance I got, I'd go to Jerry's to see Cappuccino. He is a bay roan Appaloosa gelding, at the time 9-10 years old. His name was changed to Poco even before I brought him home (and before I ever heard of the legendary Poco Bueno bloodline). I mean, who names a horse descended from Native American war ponies Cappuccino, I ask you? I can see why they chose that name, and if you look at his butt blanket, you can too. It looks like swirly coffee or melted rocky road ice cream. That's his winter coat, but in the summer, he is the color of a good cup of coffee.

Little is known of Poco's history prior to Jerry. He was bought from a guy who had him in a pasture with a couple other horses and rarely, if ever, rode him. Back then, he was called Rusty. He has several large, nasty, crude firebrands which have not helped at all in tracing his origins. On his left shoulder is a HUGE stacked "R" over an "S" over a rocker. The one on his left hip is not so easily distinguishable. It appears to be a brand over a brand. Could be "41," but so crude, it kind of looks like a backwards "P," or may have once been an "F" that someone filled in later. Jerry's other horse, an ancient Quarter Horse imaginatively named Brown, had recently died, and Poco was left with a goat as a pasture buddy. Jerry's job left him without adequate time to devote to a horse. I paid $1,000 for Poco and all his tack and supplies. In the 2008 horse market, I could have gotten the same deal for probably half that, or even less.

About two weeks after I handed Jerry the money and two weeks before we thought we'd be ready to bring Poco home, it suddenly hit me: What the HELL have I done? I knew as much about horsekeeping as I do about rocket science. I hadn't been on a horse in close to 8 years and even at that, I never got beyond the seasoned novice stage. I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' babies, Ms. Scarlett! Although we live smack in the middle of prime North Texas horse country, I don't know any of these people. What to do, where to turn? Ahhh, the internet!

I Googled something like "online horse forum" and got a bunch of hits, many of them Yahoo groups, so I decided to take that avenue. There were a LOT of them, some very specific, so I found several I thought might be a good fit and posted a long, impassioned plea for help. What came back from two of them totally knocked the wind out of me. According to them, I should have boarded the horse out for six months so I didn't kill him and he didn't kill me. One guy posted a diatribe about how (in much more concise and simple terms) horses aren't pets and should only be owned by professionals. According to him, amateurs had no business owning horses. I was devastated! The notable exception, the shining beacon of light and hope came from a group called "The Happy Appy." I was welcomed, I was encouraged, and most importantly, I was promised help.

Next time: What are the odds?

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