I am not going to beat around the bush. We’ve all seen/read/heard/been social media-ized to death about the latest sale of an extremely expensive horse to an extremely wealthy family. You know what I say? Kudos to them and I hope all their dreams come true. I mean it. (Seriously.) Was that my first reaction? Nope. My first reaction was to say ‘Great, maybe if I had an extremely expensive horse and the bank account to back it up, then maybe I could go to the Olympics too.’
Then, Cheryl (aka CRD) pipes up…While I can be blunt in my approach and in speaking my mind, which is normally not the right approach and gets me into a LOT of trouble, CRD approaches with reason and intelligence (of which I lack on most things horses.) Her response to my blunt rant: ‘It’s always been an expensive sport. You should be thankful that you can afford and compete that horse. That is much more than many people could even dream of.” Touché. She is truly a voice of reason. Gee, don’t I feel like a jerk now. Truth is, she couldn’t be more right.
About 2 years ago, my heart was broken as my big beautiful TB, Chester sustained what would be a career ending injury while we were schooling in the indoor one day. He spooked (at nothing as so often is the case, jumped to the left about 10 feet), and come up dead lame. Soft tissue damage to his front left hoof. I was utterly devastated and cried for days. I did everything I could to help him get better. 14 months after the injury, he was sound at the walk only. To this day, he continues to break my heart – even though he is doing much better and is happy and content.
Then, a friend, had a friend, who worked for a TB owner who breeds maybe 2 or 3 horses a year. If they are not cut out for the track, they are restarted and sent to loving homes. This friend of a friend who restarted Colby (whose name at the time was Sky), is our guest blogger Allison Wood.
So, along comes Colby. When I first met her, she was a 3 and a half year old OTTB chestnut filly. Restarted under saddle for a couple months, priced cheap. Really cheap. I wasn’t even considering another horse at the time, but after seeing her picture, (Colby’s, not Allison’s!!), I liked what I saw. I made the 2.5 hour drive to go see her. She was little. 15.3, whereas Chester is 17.1. But, she was pretty. Very pretty, and she knew it. I rode her, popped her over a couple teeny jumps and said I was interested and wanted to talk to my coach. 3 days later, we returned with the trailer and took her home. The only reason I was able to buy her was because of a small inheritance that my Aunt had left me when she had passed from cancer.
Colby came into my life by chance and at the completely wrong time. The last thing I wanted, was another horse to take care of when I already had a very expensive lawn ornament to look after and was attempting to nurse back to health. I’ll be honest. The intention was never for me to keep Colby for more than 6 or 8 months. We’d put some work into her and then sell her while I waited for Chester to fully recover and her sale would help me pay for the astronomical debt that Chester’s vet bills had left me with. (Which, I am STILL paying off to this day.) She was tiny, she was dainty, she was, well an OTTB Chestnut mare with a huge white blaze. Do you honestly think I wanted to deal with that? She was green – I was (am!!) green. She had never jumped an xc jump in her life, I hadn’t done anything above Pre-Training in 5 years. She was (is) a hot headed OTTB, with a bit of an attitude, I lack patience. We were not meant for each other. At all. My coach’s words at the time; “If she doesn’t work out as an event horse, you’ll be able to sell her no problem, her head is gorgeous.” That was 20 months ago.
At just over 5, Colby is now kissing 16.2 and remains a total spitfire (that was actually one of the show names under serious consideration!), who is a star in the making so long as I can keep up. I am extremely thankful to have a horse like Colby in my life and I wouldn’t change a single thing about her. She has helped me to believe in myself as a rider and I have become a better rider because of her – regardless of the fact I have fallen off her more times in the past 20 months than I have in the past 5 years. She makes me want to try harder – for her. She shows up for work every day and forces me to leave anything else but her at the door. If I don’t, she gladly shows me where to shove it. She is worth her weight in gold.
She didn’t cost me a million Euros, but in my mind, that is exactly what she is to me: My million Euro horse. (Plus some.)
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