Monday, January 3, 2011
A beautiful old horse
And could she really run and jump when she had a mind to.
I called her Niki - which was the name she'd been given by her previous owner. She came into my life more or less by accident, but a happy accident for sure.
I had moved from an equestrian centre where I had lived for a couple of years, getting a reduced rent for the little bungalow in which I lived with three dogs and six cats, in exchange for doing the night feeding for 80 horses. I took Dixie, my first horse - a big black part Canadian mare with me to my new home. I also brought a border along - the horse that was part of a younger woman's family. We both realized very quickly that we needed a third horse or a pony so that when one of us wanted to ride the horse left behind didn't kick up a fuss or run the fences.
Across the road from me, there was an auction barn. Lots of things were auctioned off there, mostly animals, and every week there was a horse auction. So the young woman and I went one evening to see about buying a companion horse for our two. Walking up the line of horses I saw this beautiful mare. As I watched she turned to the horse next to her and and nipped him.
"We don't want that one," said my friend. "We don't want a biter."
We couldn't decide and went up and down the line searching for the right animal. Then the auction began. After a while, in which we didn't see any horse we wanted to bid on, a beautiful copper coloured mare danced into the ring. The auction started and I decided I wanted this horse - there was something about her that caught my heart. I raised my hand. Another bid came from a man in the crowd. Meat packer? I wondered.
The auctioneer (who by the way had become my friend) saw me raise my hand again. He stopped the auction and spoke to me directly. "Do you want this horse?" he called to me. I nodded my head.
"Well make a bid," he responded. I did and he slammed his hammer down "Sold!" he yelled. And so I became the owner of - you guessed it - the mare that bit.
She never did, bite me or the other horses. She became a relaxed and happy girl, second in command to Dixie, but happy enough to be with us and have few demands made on her. I rode her once a day for a long time, riding Dixie in the morning and Niki at night. I received her papers and realized she was a registered Arab and so I re-registered her in my name and then her breeder found me - but that's another story for another day.
Oh - it wasn't a meat packer who had been bidding against me, it was a breeder who wanted to use her as a brood mare... at 18, that would have been tough for her. I kept her with me until she was about 26 or 7 when her painful feet finally made it imperative that she leave this world. I miss her still. You'll be reading more about her in my book to be published later this spring I hope.