Thursday, January 17, 2013

The History of the Beginning

So for 2013, I decided that I'm going to try to keep a better record of my accomplishments with my horse, Spyder. He's a 5 year old standardbred gelding that will be 6 come June. He has kept me very busy since July of 2011 when I adopted him, and I couldn't be more proud of the work we've both come to notice!

First, I'm going to have to go backwards to start at the time that I got him a year and a half ago. Once I get up to that point, I plan on keeping up with our story of training as best as I can.

Where do I start?

I guess I'll start with buying my first house. This is when I decided that I needed to move on from my pony that I had at my parents. I'd be living an hour away from her, and I had been for some time so she was a backyard pet and very lonely. When I started my full time job just out of college, she got very bored and would escape to visit the neighbors horses. My parents would get frustrated with the calls that she would be next door just as I was with their calls at my new job. I knew it was time to move on, but it was hard having my pony all through college. I knew I had to let go so I found her a good home which was just around the corner from my parents where she would get the attention she deserves and the other horses she wanted to be with. It was a hard choice, but it was for the best.

We all know that once you are into horses, you can't get out of them, but I really did think that was the end. I sold most of my horse items and prepared myself for what would always be in the back of my mind... riding. I ended up finding a farm in the town where I moved with a training package that allowed me to pay for 6 lessons at a time at a reasonable cost. It was fun, but I wanted something more. I was the oldest of them in group lessons, was sick of riding lesson horses and ponies, and decided I would move back to the barn where I rode in college for lessons and a lease.

Ritz and I in college
I went back to leasing which was a start. Ritz was a cute little Welsh pony that I rode in college during my lessons with the equestrian club. I want to say it was a month, maybe two, and I just couldn't stop thinking about my own horse... BUT WHY? They are more expensive, more time consuming, lessons aren't included in the price, you have to add the vet, the farrier, and all of the extra tack that you "need" when you have your own. The thoughts didn't stop there.

I looked at a few horses to say the least, nothing was what I was perfectly happy with. I would take videos of my visits to send them over to my trainer, and there were none that stood out. There were two occassions where I was almost ready to move them to the barn for trials, but something would come up or I was lied to. Thank God for the internet! Now what? I looked at a palamino haflinger cross, a draft gelding, a quarter horse cross, a paint, a thoroughbred, and I still had no success. I wasn't even being picky! That's when I thought, hmmm... I used to know about a few rescues/adoption places, I'll look there.

One of my ventures brought me to where The Standardbred Retirement Foundation has a whole lot of horses available! The adoption coordinator was very friendly and super helpful in getting me more information on several horses I had asked about. I was excited because I had a standardbred pacer growing up, and I knew how willing of a breed they were. I knew I wanted something on the younger side, preferred a gelding, and wanted to jump. This didn't really narrow my search, but I knew there were a lot of evaluated horses to check out all in one place. I took off of work a half day to get up to the farm in Hamilton, NJ to see if there were any that would be a match. This is where I met Dom, she helped me find a few horses to try by asking me a bunch of questions.

One of those horses happened to be Spyder, Grayland Spider was his racing name. He was young, big, bay, and he was just started. Dom hadn't gotten on him much in her rotation of rides, but she knew he was capable of what I was looking for and fit the criteria. I looked at a few under saddle, and a few we didn't even get to the point of tacking up, but I knew I had to get on Spyder for a test ride. He was the last one that we pulled out of the field, and I was nervous because I wasn't too excited about any of the others. It was the hottest day of the year, and he was quiet as expected, and he tried everything in his power to do what was asked of him. He barely knew much, but he knew how to impress. He didn't think twice about being asked to trot, to canter, and to hop over a small crossrail that he had never seen or even had jumped anything before. He was too cute!

 One of Spyder's first rides - w/t/c

My day at SRF went well! I left there with a huge smile on my face, and I couldn't stop thinking about Spyder. I DID forget to mention that before I left that day, I filled out a "just in case" adoption contract being that I was already an approved adopter and he was young, sound, and desireable. He was mine from the second I saw him, and I went back to get him that weekend with my trainer. The videos below are ones from the day I saw him under saddle. He went to the farm where I kept my pony a few months while I was at college - Split Elm Equestrian.

 Spyder's first jump - he tries so hard!