Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Virginia Equines

I miss Lex like crazy, but I'll see her on Sunday. The Girl came up to Virginia and Vermont with me and then flew home to spend Christmas day with her family, but not before stopping to see the horses. Lex was thrilled because she got to hand graze. Reportedly, the hives have cleared up quite a bit and now she just has some scabby stuff on her neck.

In the meantime, I'm getting to spend some time with my old friends. The Girl took these pictures before she went back south. I love these horses.

The elder statesman.
Ink (Indigo Ink) has been in my life for 24 years. We acquired him when he and I were both nine years old, out of someone's back yard. He was barely broke, and for a quarter horse x who knows what, he was kind of hot. But he never did anything bad, and my mom brought him along with the help of our trainer. On days he behaved well, I was allowed to ride him, and then he was given to me for my tenth birthday. Mom actually kept riding him for awhile, and I got a pony named Pickles in the meantime. I'll have to scan in some pictures of Pickles - he was a cute little Welsh cob and I was rightfully obsessed with him. But Ink was always in my heart and there he shall remain.

He always has a look of kind intelligence, and I love his pointy ears.
He evented at the Novice and Training level with my mom and then with me. He also took one of my high school best friends through her C-1 in Pony Club and packed her around Beginner Novice and Novice for awhile after Mom and I got horses we could move up on. He didn't have the scope or the fitness ability for Prelim, but he definitely had the desire. He never said no to a jump in his whole career until he started going lame from navicular and every other form of unsoundness. He retired in his late teens, and Mom's had him on Cosequin for probably almost 20 years. I'm always aware that any given winter could be his last, but he looks great. He loves to snuggle and be groomed, and especially enjoys having his belly curried.

We've had Grayson forever, too. Mom bought him when she wanted a horse to move up on. He's an OTTB, but unfortunately he fulfills many of the negative stereotypes of OTTBs. He's hot, nervous, unpredictable, and aloof. Mom sent him to a wonderful professional in the area, and she did the best she could with him, but determined that he's afraid of jumping. I'm guessing he was introduced to it poorly before we got him, or that he had a bad crash that ruined his nerve. It's rare to find a thoroughbred who can't figure it out, but he just really hated it. He doesn't have the movement or carriage for dressage, and ultimately, Mom wanted to event. She wound up getting another thoroughbred named Tucker (again, I'll have to go searching for pictures - he died several years ago).
Doing the typical grey horse "look how gross I can get!" thing.

He looks sweeter here than he is.
 Grayson retired sound at a pretty young age, and thanks to my mom's inability to sell a horse, has lived in the pasture for the better part of a decade with nothing to do but be a horse. When he gets injured or something, he likes attention, but otherwise he's not that into people or being groomed or anything. We love him anyway. He's 22 years old now. He's had melanomas - he's a grey, this is what happens - which Mom has treated, but she's decided not to treat them anymore. They recur, and it's incredibly expensive to treat, and he's old. But he looks very healthy to me and is in good weight, so I have a feeling the old man will keep eating hay for many years to come.

"Wanna go play shuffleboard?"
 About six months ago, TJ attacked Grayson and ran him under a fence. It took the vet six hours to stitch him up, and then he had to stay on stall rest for two weeks. Ink voluntarily stayed in the barn with him, whickering at him and being adorable. When Grayson could go back out, he was afraid of all the other horses except Ink, so now they go out together in the Old Man Paddock.

 TJ (or Teddy, as my mom calls him, but I started calling him TJ and can't stop) is a relatively new member of the herd - we've only had him a little over a year. He's kind of a weird horse. He has a gorgeous head and neck and is otherwise a conformational train wreck.
World's greatest mane?

Supermodel of the world.

TJ is a Kentucky Mountain Horse, and he's also about 17hh, which is unusual. He's gaited - something new to me. His running walk is pretty comfortable, but his balance is terrible and he's like riding two people in a horse costume. He's not very sure-footed, and he's quite spooky, which isn't a great combination. His saving grace is his winning personality. He really is the world's sweetest horse. He's kind of useless as a sport horse and very nervous for a trail horse. TJ is also not the easiest horse to handle on the ground, given his size and nerves. I worked very hard on that when I had him in Florida, but if he isn't handled daily he just goes right back to his old ways. Since my mom works all the time, he's kind of become a pasture ornament, but at least he's adorable. 

Then, of course, there's the adorable Rocket, about whom y'all know pretty much everything already.
A lady on the move.
So that's the crew! My parents have their hands full. I'll take Rocket away in a couple of years when she's ready to start, but I'll replace her with a pony for my nephew. I'm also hoping to find my mom a nice non-gaited, non-spooky horse she can start riding again and take lessons on and stuff. I know she misses it, and she will definitely want to ride with my nephew and whoever else is riding the pony.