Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Shadow"ing the Past

Last night, I went to see Shadow go. He's April's standardbred that is also from SRF where Spyder's from. You read about her coming to watch my Danny lesson, and I thought I'd be great to see him go so I could remember where I was just a few years back. Dom, from this blog, who has also helped me in the past helps Shadow get going, and gives April direction as she did with me. Dom rode him for the first part of the hour, and April got on to ride after.

He hasn't been under saddle long (a month or two), and he's already further than I would have thought (and where I was at this point). He's got a great work ethic and doesn't get frustrated like Spyder would. He stands great to be tacked up, and doesn't have the nippy tendencies Spyder has since he's 15 (I think). When you get Shadow moving, he frames up nicely and can hold a trot for a decent amount of time. He's to the point where his transitions are coming along from a put together trot to a few steps of pace, then back to a trot. Spyder had zero coordination and balance, and for the longest time, he could not get the pace to trot transition. I would have to stop him and then ask him to trot again. GO SHADOW!

I think Shadow will be a much easier horse to bring along than the one I got! When you put leg on him, you can see him thinking. With Spyder, he would think, but it involved anger and the thought of bucking/kicking out. Shadow's such a pleasant horse, and I'm so happy I got to remember where I was just two years back (less the angry horse). We've come SO far, and April and Shadow are going to catch up quickly! I've been in the initial phases of looking for a decent horse trailer so we can potentially ride together on trails and get to some shows. Hopefully Shadow and Spyder get along as well as April and I do. It's great to have such a support system, and April saw the beginning of that when I posted a picture of her horse on Facebook, and other stb owners had great things to say!

Blurry Shadow and Dom getting on the bit
When I got home, I realized that I had driven out to Howell which is where one of my old horses was. When I was looking through my e-mail to give Dom a name of a person that I couldn't recall, I found where I had e-mailed the woman who had Jamboree in the past. It brought up great memories of how sweet she was, and I thought I'd try to follow up with the woman since it had been a while. Going back, I saw that she sent me a picture in 2008. In 2011, she followed up with me to let me know that she was retired because she had a bad knee and may have some issues going on because she had growths. I do remember her having one lump when I had her, but it didn't bother her.

If you didn't read about all of my past pets (at the top of the page, I have a link), Jamboree was the sweetest horse I had ever known. I had gotten her from a family friend for the price of them having fed her a month, and she was skin and bones. I can't believe they had been feeding her for that long because she was HORRIBLE looking when I got her. They purchased a horse from a local dealer, and Jamboree came with her for free (why not?). I worked at a camp teaching lessons, and one of the girls I worked with had actually had her skin and bones in the past (I'm thinking she unloaded her to this dealer, but I'm not positive). Her coggins were from Florida so I did some research and found the farm where she was. They had gotten her in similar condition, as well. POOR HORSE! They were nice enough to send me a photo of her jumping which gave me hope that my big TB would be back healthy and jumping once she got weight on her.

How horrible she looked the week I brought her home.
The only problem with her was that she wouldn't load. I had a horse trainer come out that was supposedly a "horse whisperer", and he worked with her a few hours before telling me there was nothing he could do to help me. This was after I would put food in the trailer and leave her to figure out how to eat (which was horrible because she hadn't eaten in the past and was TERRIFIED of the trailer for some reason - It sort of worked to get her used to being around it, but she hated going in it). My plans of the "perfect show horse" were shattered because we couldn't take her to shows or to my trainer for lessons. When I went to college, Jamboree needed to find a home because I had sold Shayne (you can read about him at that same link - I have a picture of the two of them there), and she was lonely. I wasn't getting home enough to ride, so I posted an ad and weeded through the good and bad replies.

She was filling out nicely
Dirty, but a much happier horse
The day this woman Susan came, I ran home from school and was thinking about Jamboree's trailering issue. I was hopeful that she wouldn't get in because then, I had more time to accept the fact that she was leaving. We worked with her for a bit, and putting a cloth over her eyes, we got her in the trailer in no time. I couldn't hold myself together. I worked SO hard to get her somewhere to work with a trainer so we could show, and it wasn't that hard for 3 of us to get her in for me to say goodbye forever. I had already given them her special feed, oil for extra fat, blanket, personalized halter, personalized bucket, etc. Since they had everything they needed, and I was sobbing, I just turned for the back door. They had asked me if I was OK, and I couldn't even talk to them. They left, and I couldn't watch the trailer go.

In 2008, I asked for information, and they had sent me a picture in which she looked TERRIBLE (not as bad as when I got her by far, but she needed weight). I couldn't help but ask them if they were feeding her like I suggested and reminded them that I gave them what they needed to keep feeding her per vet discussions. The woman didn't answer me because she was not happy with what I said to her. In 2011, I gained the courage to e-mail her again, and all she let me know was they still had her. I pried for more information, and they said they had gotten her vetted in which they found she had a bad knee and had to be a pasture mate (not sure what happened because she was vetted clear when I got her). They also mentioned that they thought the lump she had was melanoma, but it didn't seem to bother her.

Since I came across the e-mail address yesterday, I figured I would give it a shot and see how she's doing. I was surprised to get a response because they stopped responding to me again (I requested to go see her), but I got this back, "Jamboree passed away last year! We had to have the poor baby girl put down the cancer finally won the battle after a year and a half. She had a good life and a few months after she passed away, her boyfriend died. I think it was a broken heart he was never the same after she was gone. Hope all is well." And so I cried on the way to work today when I got this e-mail, and I cried writing this. She taught me so much, and I will never forget that amazing and strong horse. She never held what people did to her against them and loved with all she had.