Here on the 40 acre farm we have 5 horses, 3 dogs, 3 cats and one husband who puts up with the animals, and sometimes me. No trees, lots of rocks, and I have to haul water because we haven’t had a well drilled yet. We are located in the middle of Washington state, usually referred to as nowhere USA.
Rocky is a Shire cross gelding.
A big guy. He is black and 20+ yrs old. He is a little arthritic. He loves attention, and comes to me as soon as I go outside. He follows me around like a faithful dog. (A dog that if he fell on my would flatten me instantly.) He loves belly scratches. He is the sweetest horse, but all but one of the cast members here are all sweethearts. He would love to live inside with me, but I need to keep reminding him that he is not a mini.
I got him about 2 years ago from my old neighbor. Rocky had lived in the pasture across the street from me for several years before he became mine. Before we knew his name, we referred to him as the horse that loves me. I went over and gave him scratches and treats everyday. Along with his other pasture mates, including Fred, who we will talk about later in this story.
Every day he would be at the fence line by my mailbox waiting. I joked with his owner that when we finally sold the house and moved, the horse was going with me. The last year I lived there I finally asked if I could ride him, even though I had other horses. One of mine was 26 and blind.
The owner agreed, and I started riding him. He was amazing, but not able for real long rides, due to his size an age he was developing arthritis. But he still liked to go.
When we sold the house, I was very sad. I would miss the big guy. But the owner surprised me and asked if I was still taking him when I moved! The owner said that he loved Rocky too much to watch him age and eventually have to be put down. I was ecstatic!
Fred is an Appaloosa gelding.
That’s not the name he came with. I used to call all the horses I trained who were unpredictable, erratic or dangerous Fred after a Morgan horse that used to be boarded at my place when my kids were little. He was a girls 4H horse, and seemed like a sweet guy. One day that Fred flipped out and tried to attack my then 8 yr old daughter out in the pasture. If it was not for my daughters little mare, the 2 mules and my big gelding Whoops, she might have been seriously injured or killed!
So anyway, this Fred was named Arizona. He is a big guy, about 16hh, Appaloosa with a blanket. Kind of a seal brown color, not bay, not chestnut. I think he is in his early teens? Since I was messing around with Rocky, and Fred was in the pasture with him. I got to know him. He was pushy. He would randomly spook at something and just about run me over. He had poor manners, and no sense of space. He just isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree. So since at the time I did not know his name, I started calling him Fred.
Of course after I started riding Rocky, I asked if I could ride Fred. Now Fred belonged to the neighbors daughter. (The neighbor I forgot to mention is a bit older than me, has trained many, many horses, owns a popular horse camp, and used to do logging with horses. He even raised, trained and used Rocky doing logging. A very experienced horseman.)
The daughter was a grown woman who went out on the road with her husband driving long haul. She did not get to spend much time at all with Fred. So the daughter agreed to me riding Fred as he had not been ridden much in quite awhile.
Well, Fred bucks. Fred rears. Fred lunges forward, to the side, or whatever randomly when he doesn’t want to cooperate. And since he hadn’t been ridden in awhile, he didn’t want to cooperate with anything I asked him the first couple of rides. Fred was living up to his nickname. Finally I got him to stop being a jerk, mostly.
So the neighbor, the Dad with all the horse experience, decided to ride Fred one day after I had ridden him about a dozen rides. I had not complained about Fred being a jerk. And the neighbor had seen me ride him down the road bareback. So thought Fred was fine. Well, their ride went anything but fine. Fred went over backward with the neighbor and the neighbor got hurt! The daughter came home not too many days after Dad got hurt and decided that she and her husband were going to take Fred to her friends place. Her friend was going to work with him. He wouldn’t get into the trailer for them. I wasn’t there, and don’t know what all happened, but Fred was hurt, and I believe they were as well.
The neighbor told me that if I wanted Fred that I needed to take him. If I didn’t they were going to put him down as he is dangerous. I took him. He went in the trailer for me. I don’t let anyone else ride him though. He still randomly bucks. He is buddy sour. He spooks at nothing on a regular basis. I had him vet checked, he is not in pain, nothing wrong with him, just unpredictable. I somehow like to ride him, maybe because of the challenge. He hasn’t bucked me off yet. But he is also the one I never get on without my helmet!
Seamus is next.
He is a little Appaloosa few spot gelding That I was going to train up to be my husbands horse. (My husband likes Fred, but I won’t let him ride him.) He is a rez horse. (They still call them that, even though they no longer call it the reservation) From the Collville tribes. He has the ear notch from the tribe as well.
He is pretty much all white, with just a couple spots. His mane and tail are white, but his spots are kind of a red dun color. I brought him home and started training him. He is the smartest horse on the property. The second smartest horse I have ever worked with in my long life. He is only 14.2hh. But he is all brains and heart. He is a lover. He also thinks he is all that. He runs Fred off, and Fred is much bigger. Cracks me up. He pulls some stuff. He bucks occasionally too, but he is just playing and it isn’t serious.
Calliope I have had since the day she was born.
I owned her mother and father. She is 8 yrs old and a smoke black with white feet. About 15hh and built very well. Nice floaty trot. She has a scar on her back fetlock now, but is not lame at all.
Calliope is a trickster and a character. If you are trying to fill the water trough and set the hose down, she will grab it to spray you, the other horses, the dog, whomever. She likes to get ahold of random things like a grocery bag, an empty grain bag, a coat, anything, and chase the other horses. Especially Fred, with whatever she gets ahold of, flapping it merrily. Fred ran into the side of the round pen one time. He wasn’t hurt, and unfortunately I didn’t get it on video.
Calliope is willing and loving, but now has an issue with her feet. I leased her out for a time. She came back unwilling to have her feet touched, and terrified of letting anyone touch them, let alone pick them up! We are working on it. I have to do her feet myself, when it is quiet and no one else is around. I am arthritic, and not very strong anymore. This sucks.
Finally, we have Cleo.
I don’t know shit about her. My friend gave my number to a young woman who had an unbroke, never haltered, (that anyone knows of) Appaloosa mare. The Woman is moving away to the East somewhere. She had been boarding this horse, and couldn’t just leave it there. Neither, it seems, could she take it with her. So my friend decided that I was the only one to save this mare. I was told the mare was five or six years old blue roan Appaloosa. The woman had never been able to touch the horse and hadn’t done any work with it, though she had it over a year. No one could get it into a trailer to get it off the property. Enter my stupid ass.
So I drove 2 1/2 hours out to this place with my husband, it was a shit hole. I cannot believe anyone would actually PAY to have a horse there. The pens were small and they were on a steep Bank. The pens have never been cleaned, and the only reason that they weren’t waist deep with shit, is because the steepness of the hill. Not a water trough to be seen either! Don’t know how the horses got water.
There was no way to get the truck and trailer down to where this mare was, so we ended up running her up through a couple other pens, to the upper barn. We got the truck and trailer down to the upper barn, and ran her through into a part of the barn, right by the trailer. I then used Seamus to push her into the trailer. Because of the steepness of the hill, and the mud and lack of any kind of maintenance on this farm we had to have them use their tractor to help pull us up out of this shit hole. There was no way in hell I was leaving that horse there. So we have an untouchable horse. I am working with her but she’s only been here a week. She has several rope burn scars around her neck, so she’s been roped at sometime. She is terrified of ropes. I don’t blame her. I’m starting her with at liberty work in the round pen. So we will see what happens.
New horse, The horse with bad feet, Felix. He has his own story