Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fast Forward

Having my own place meant I could keep more than one horse! For several years, between 2003 and 2012, Shiloh rested after each competition while I switched my attention to training other horses. Several were "off the track" Arabians that I got used to trail situations and then resold, providing a much-appreciated supplement to my income. 
In 2007, I was given a young Saddlebred Arabian cross bred by Dana Reeder and named for Frank Farmer, a well-known Virginia foxhunter and endurance rider who'd been part-owner of Frank's sire Brown R Sashaa.
"Brown R Frank" was wonderful to ride - the above photo shows us at the Broxton, SC ride on Easter Saturday 2010. However, Frank started having issues with his hocks and by 2011, the year 19-year-old Shiloh passed the 5,000 AERC mile mark, I regretfully accepted that he just wasn't cut out for one-day rides of 50 miles or more. I sadly returned Frank to Dana and he's now happily resettled in a non-endurance home.

In July 2012, with Shiloh deserving a full retirement and Siena, the 3-year old mare I'd purchased from another friend, not yet old enough to compete, my friend Barb Horstmeier convinced me to adopt a scrappy little mystery horse from a Pennsylvania rescue. We were given no information about this horse, not even a name, so I came up with "Gryphon," the mythological cross between an eagle and a lion. How prophetic this choice proved to be!

The January 2013 issue of AERC Extra leads with my article about how I rehabbed Gryphon, who became quite a challenge to work with as he gained weight & strength. He clearly had been abused and was very nervous and mistrustful in certain situations, but my experience working with different horses - plus ability to stay on board no matter what - paid off. In April, Barb found out Gryphon was part Saddlebred like Frank - his neck and back are longer than a pure Arab and he has a super comfortable stride, so I wasn't that surprised. As a strong bond of friendship grew between us, I recognized a puppy-dog personality like Frank's lay beneath the "gangsta" behavior. Adding magnesium pellets to his diet as a calming agent helped too! By June 2013, after eight 50 mile rides in nine months, I could finally post to Facebook that my scary, defiant little rescue horse had morphed into a confident, happy endurance horse.

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