Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

June 9, 2014

New horse unpredictable, but you take the good with the bad

— — I grew up riding horses but I had to put my horse down last August. After begging and pleading with my non-horse loving husband for about eight months, I have finally purchased a new horse.

Her show name is “Walkin’ the Talk,” also know as Ariat. We have become the best of friends. She comes running when she sees me pull in the driveway and wants to have her nose in everything that I do.

This is the first horse that I have bought and after searching for months, I thought I had picked the perfect one. She is calm and quiet, knows all her manners and has really won my husband over with her inquisitive attitude.

The first day we  brought her home she adjusted well. I showed her around her new home and she seemed to settle in quite nicely. After riding her for a couple weeks, I took her to an equine event day that Tractor Supply was hosting to get her out and do some pony rides. Although nowhere near pony size, she stood quietly as children got on and off of her. I walked them around the ring for a ride. Ariat was volunteered for different demonstrations and waited patiently as people poked and prodded her to learn more about horses.

By the end of the day, she was hot and tired. As the last child climbed up for a quick ride, we got half way around the ring when Ariat decided she had enough and laid down with the little girl on her back. The child was fine and stayed calm as I got her off. We thought Ariat was colicing so we quickly removed her saddle and hosed her off. She was fine and stuck her head into a pile of green grass. We still are not sure why she decided to do that but I’m sure she just had gotten hot and itchy and wanted to take a roll.

After a long day of pony rides, I walked her around and decided to take her inside Tractor Supply. To no surprise she walked right in, shopped around and checked out all the customers.

I couldn’t get over the fact that she had done so well with only knowing me and a new place for a few weeks. I continued to ride her, preparing her for an upcoming show on May 24, I was so excited to take her. Even Telegraph Lifestyle Editor Jamie Null came out to take a ride around on her. Of course, Ariat was perfect.

When May 23 arrived, we loaded her on the trailer and headed to the New River Valley Horse Show in Dublin, Va. At the show, I tacked Ariat up to ride that evening and let her see everything. I guess I over estimated this so-called wonderful horse because as soon as I got on her, she went nuts. She would not do to a thing I asked her. She bucked, reared, spun, danced around like an idiot and also threw someone off who decided they could make her do what she should. She wasn’t having it and after about two hours of messing with her —  it was late at night—  we were all exhausted and it was time for her to settle down. I thought to myself, “Tomorrow is a new day; she was probably just nervous and excited and tomorrow will be so much better.”

The morning of the show arrived and I prepared myself for the worst. It wasn’t the worst but wasn’t the best. We placed top three in every class we entered at the show. By the end of the day, she had settled down and was doing what was asked of her. Overall I was pleased with her, I was less worried about winning and more worried about her getting out there and doing a good job.

There are so many different scenarios that could have caused her to act the way she did and it could have been a combination of all of them. I guess I will never know. I rode her at home a couple of days after the show and she was her perfect self.

What I do know is when we go to show again on June 14, I will have a much better plan in place then just showing up and expecting her to be a superstar.

Horses and other animals in general can be so unpredictable but you learn to take the good with the bad, and it isn’t always about who wins the most blue ribbons. It’s about taking what you learned and applying it the next time.

Anne Elgin is a reporter at the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at aelgin@bdtonline.com. Follow her @BDTElgin.

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