Monday, February 25, 2008

Our Horses

I love this little girl so much. I cannot explain to anyone how much this horse means to me. She is my pride and joy. She is an ex-racehorse, banned from the Fingerlakes track as she refused to race. She was the fastest in all the breezes and the track people thought she should have been a perfect racehorse. But on race day, she went over twice in the starting gate with the jockey (I am sure, he beat her for that one!). Then she would lag behind 50 horse lengths. I cleaned stalls to get her.

I wanted a horse my whole life. Then when we grew up, Mickey, my brother, has always had one. But I lived where I couldn't have one. So I never really was around them too much. Then when Larry and I got together, he had grown up with horses, and worked around them now and then. When we moved out here, he started training and caring for horses at a local farm, where they raised Thoroughbreds for racing. He took me to work with him and I fell in love with the horses there.

But Georgie, especially, won my heart. She would pace in circles in her stall. The stall gate was covered so she couldn't look out. She was not friendly at all. Very high strung. I just took a liking to her. She had been their darling. She was the perfect racehorse, even the people at the track thought so. She would be the fastest in the breezes, no other horse could catch her! But, she did not want to be a racehorse. So she would show them how fast she could go, but the day of the races, a few times, she went over in the starting gate. Then when she actually did race, she'd lag, way back. The jockey could beat her with his crop, she didn't care. One thing, I have learned about her, is that she likes to be your partner - not your slave. And she is very smart. She doesn't "give" to anyone easily.

At the barn where Georgie Girl lived, she and all the other racehorses were only allowed to be outside for about 15 minutes every day in a covered arena, while their stalls were being cleaned. They would race around and play. All of them got to be in there with another horse. Only Dark Shadow, who my husband ended up buying, was made to be alone in the arena. She could not stand it and would whinny at the top of her lungs and race full tilt around that arena like a crazy horse. She was never worked with or even had feet trimmed. Everyone was afraid of her. At that time, she was only 3 years old. When I first went there, I thought she was the stallion. She acted like one.

Larry did make friends with her. And he did get on her and she went over twice with him. He doesn't get thrown off a horse normally, he usually goes down with them. If they rear up with someone on them, many times they will lose their balance and it'll cause them to go over sideways. He did manage to talk his boss into letting her go out in the pasture with the "wild horses" (as we called them). They were not wild (my Tawny was one of them), but horses that were not used for racing so they could go out on the 50 acres that was fenced on their hill.

The first week Dark Shadow went out there, Sally, the lead mare (and my Tawny's sister) just ran her down for the whole week. Dark Shadow went into that little herd of 10 horses like gangbusters! She wanted to run, and Sally did not let up on her. By the end of the week, Dark Shadow was friends with Sally and pretty tamed down. That's how it is for a new horse joining a herd. They have rules!

When the owner offered to sell me Georgie I could not believe it. Then one day he came to me and told me since she is now my horse, I can let her out with the wild horses that are out all day, if I wanted. He warned me that she might get burdocks on her if she did though. Larry and I looked at each other for half a second then ran to her stall to get her! She walked along with Larry like she was a little girl going somewhere......or she thought he was making a mistake and she didn't want him to know!

Larry led her out to the group of other horses waiting to go out for the day in the pasture. They all smelled her, as they might live on the same farm, even in the same barn.....but they did not know her as the racehorses are kept separate. So she just walked along with them in the group and they seem to have accepted her. I was a little worried about her as she was the newest member of the herd......and in the horse herd that means she was on the bottom. And she was not used to being with others in a group like that.

So a few days later, I saw Sally, the boss mare and she seemed to be pushing my Georgie! I did not like that but there was nothing I could do if I wanted her out in the pasture with the others. She had to learn to take care of herself. But I worried about her after that.

Then about a week later, the wild horses gathered in the paddock in front of the trail to the pasture and did not go straight up it. Usually when that would happen, I would take a hold of Sally's halter and lead her and the rest would follow, as she was their leader. I took a hold of her, and led her......nobody followed! ???? I looked at the rest of them and didn't know what to think. Georgie looked at me, then walked straight up past me.....and the rest just fell into place behind her................ My worrying had been for Georgie Girl had taken over the herd! She was now their leader!

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